Alaka‘i O Kauai is in good hands.
Well, the charter school in its first year always has been, but the recent naming of Fred Birkett as its director leaves no doubt the fine folks behind this school are committed to attracting and keep the best.
Leave no doubt, Fred Birkett is one of the best.
His role is critical to Alaka‘i’s success. He is responsible for managing and implementing programs and activities that support the mission of Alaka’i O Kaua’i as part of the iLEAD Schools Network. He will work to establish strong relationships with Alaka’i O Kaua’i families and the community.
We are confident he will do these things well.
Birkett, who has been running charter schools more than 20 years, has been serving as interim director at the charter school and its 140 students grades K-5 for the past several months. We’re glad to see the board decided to keep him on. They made a great decision. If you’ve met Fred Birkett, you know what a quality leader and innovator he is. If you haven’t met him, you need to. He will get things done and he will get them done well. He is high-energy, disciplined, creative. He is tough, yet fair. He’s one of those people who doesn’t seem to tire. He displays a quiet confidence in himself, his staff, his students. That confidence is based not only on hope, but on past success. He knows what it takes to excel.
His achievements are too many to list, but we will tell you he was an officer in the Air Force, has a Harvard University graduate degree, in an inventor and an author. Birkett grew up in New York and overcame obstacles through hard work that would have derailed most of us.
His career is a testament to his drive and determination. He is one of those people who listens, learns and acts.
What struck us about Fred Birett, in an interview earlier this year at Alaka‘i, were some of the things he said.
Here are five of our favorite quotes from him:
• “I’m what’s known as a servant leader. I serve people so they better serve others. I serve my teachers so they can better serve children. If we are all serving people here together, we’re going to have a heckuva good time.”
• “I believe that charter schools are really great because it allows us the autonomy to make the changes on the ground level.”
• We have a lot of great factors here that are going to lead to us being successful. It’s going to take time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. So it’s going to take us a minute, so to speak, to get our foundation strong, to make sure the curriculum we’re using is researched based, well-informed curriculum, one that works for their children.
• “I really like to spend my time in the classroom, engaged in the learning process, watching what the teacher is doing, listening to what the students are doing, and see where I can support the teachers in the classroom.”
• “I love solving problems. This is why I love schools, because there’s always problems in schools. I love helping teachers.”
Alakai‘i O School has the potential to be an excellent school. It can become one of Hawaii’s top charter schools. Under the leadership of Fred Birkett, we have no doubt it will.