Esther Kanehailua joined the commission on July 1, 2021. Esther Kanehailua was appointed as an ACS WASC Commissioner representing the Hawaii State Department of Education. She is currently in her second year as Complex Area Superintendent for the Hilo-Waiākea Complex on Hawaiʻi Island. The complex area comprises 13 schools. Prior to her current appointment, Esther served as Deputy Complex Area Superintendent for both the Hilo-Waiākea and Kaʻu-Keaʻau-Pahoa Complex.
Ms. Kanehailua began her education career three decades ago as a teacher at Hilo High School. Throughout her education career she has served as Vice Principal for Hilo High, Hilo Intermediate and Waiākea High School and Principal at Haʻaheo Elementary and Hilo Intermediate. Ms. Kanehailua has a bachelor's degree from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and a masters degree in education administration from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. She feels privileged to have been a product of the complex of schools she currently serves.