The UH Board of Regents welcomes three new members: Alapaki Nahale-a (Hawai‘i County), Kelli K.K. Acopan (Student Regent), and Robert Frank Westerman (Kaua‘i County).
Alapaki Nahale-a is the new regent representing Hawai‘i County on the University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents. He will fill outgoing Regent Doug Shinsato’s seat and will serve through June 30, 2023.
The board also welcomed new members Robert Frank Westerman (Kaua‘i County) and Kelli K.K. Acopan (Student Regent).
“The new regents bring with them a wide range of experience and the board will benefit greatly from their expertise,” says Lee Putnam, chair of the BOR. “We look forward to their contributions over the upcoming year.”
Acopan replaces Regent Brandon Higa and Westerman fills a vacant seat. Their appointments are subject to confirmation by the Senate during the 2019 regular session of the State Legislature.
Hawai‘i County, will serve through June 30, 2023
Alapaki Nahale-a is Kamehameha Schools’ senior director of community engagement and resources for Hawai‘i Island. He works to connect programs, services, lands and resources with communities Kamehameha Schools interacts with and supports.
Born and raised in Hilo, Nahale-a is a 1986 graduate of Kamehameha Schools and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania.
Nahale-a spent more than 25 years serving the community in a variety of roles including as director and chairman of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and the East Hawai‘i commissioner. He also worked extensively for charter schools as president and executive director of the Hawai‘i Charter School Network, director of Laupāhoehoe Community Public Charter School and director of Ka ‘Umeke Ka‘eo Hawaiian Immersion Public Charter School.
He served on a variety of community boards and commissions including chairperson of the County of Hawai‘i Cultural Resources Commission, member of the County Charter Commission, board member of the Boys and Girls club of the Big Island and board member of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation.
President Obama appointed Nahale-a to serve on the Presidential Scholars Commission where he helped to set commission policy and select top high school scholars from around the country.
Kelli K.K. Acopan
Student Regent, will serve through June 30, 2020
Kelli Acopan is currently pursuing a masters degree in history at UH Mānoa, focusing on gendered social history in the U.S. She graduated cum laude with a bachelor of arts in history from UH Mānoa and earned her associate of arts degree at Windward Community College.
Acopan served two years as president of the Associated Students of the University of Hawai‘i at Windward CC. She served on campus and systemwide committees, actively submitting legislative testimony, and collaborating with community organizations such as the Ko‘olaupoko Hawaiian Civic Club and the Kāne‘ohe Neighborhood Board to ensure that the student voice was heard on policy from both the UH System and the surrounding community. She also served as UH Student Caucus vice chair.
Acopan supports student success through academic tutoring and outreach for K–12 students as both a Hawai‘i Department of Education substitute teacher and program assistant with the Upward Bound program at Windward CC, and serves as a graduate assistant with the history department at UH Mānoa.
Acopan is a member of the Alpha Lambda Theta Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society at Windward CC and UH Mānoa, the Alpha Beta Epsilon Chapter of the Phi Alpha Theta National History Honor Society and the 130th Chapter of the Golden Key International Honor Society.
Acopan is a wife and mother of three.
Robert Frank Westerman
Kauaʻi County, will serve through June 30, 2022
Robert Frank Westerman is the retired chief administrator of the Kaua‘i Fire Department. He ensured that the fire department and ocean safety bureau employees were highly skilled, well trained, professionally educated, adequately equipped and motivated to provide the best service possible when saving lives and property on Kaua‘i.
His belief in lifelong education was one of the pillars of his administration. He was the first Kaua‘i fire chief to encourage and allow attendance at the National Fire Academy and he also brought back the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians certification through Kaua‘i Community College.
Westerman earned his MBA from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa and a BSBA from the University of Phoenix.
He is a Vietnam Veteran retired from the United States Air Force after 20 years of service. His commendations and medals include the Air Force Commendation Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, two Humanitarian Service Medals, Good Conduct Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal and Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm.
Westerman also serves as a board member of the Kaua‘i United Way and the West Kaua‘i Business and Professional Association and is a Life Member of the American Legion, Westside Post 51.
He is married to Ann Marie Wooton and they have three children and nine grandchildren.