Maui Business

First Hawaiian Bank President Nominated to Board of Education

February 9, 2011, 12:59 PM HST
* Updated February 9, 1:29 PM
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Gov. Neil Abercrombie. File photo by Wendy Osher.

By Sonia Isotov

Governor Neil Abercrombie this morning made his first appointment to the Board of Education (BOE) announcing that Don Horner will fill the vacant O‘ahu-at-Large seat.

“Don Horner has the skills and experience to oversee an organization as complex and large as Hawaii’s public schools system,” Governor Abercrombie said. “We are looking for people to serve on the Board of Education who are committed to Hawaii’s students and who can help bring fundamental change. Mr. Horner and future BOE appointees will work together with Superintendent Kathy Matayoshi and the Department of Education to bring about a New Day in public education in Hawai‘i.”

Horner, who has been recognized for his vast community service, is the board chairman and chief executive officer of First Hawaiian Bank.  In 2009, he chaired the State Legislature’s Reinventing Government Task Force that examined various government agencies, including the Department of Education (DOE).  He was vice chairman of the DOE’s Interagency Working Group that implemented Act 51’s legislation and served on the Superintendent’s Advisory Council.

“I am honored and humbled by the Governor’s confidence, support, and our shared commitment to education,” Horner said. “Governor Abercrombie and I have high expectations for our schools. My priority will be to provide strategic support and a clear vision for our dedicated DOE employees, our students, and their parents.”


Horner serves on the board of trustees of ‘Iolani School, and is a trustee-emeritus of Mid-Pacific Institute.  He has served on the Advisory Council for both the University of Hawai‘i at Mânoa’s Shidler College of Business and the School of Nursing.  Horner has also taught courses in finance at UH.


He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Southern California.

Horner fills the vacancy left by Lei Ahu Isa, Ph.D., an Oahu at-large member, who resigned on January 25, 2011. According to state law, the Governor appoints a replacement when there is a vacancy on the BOE. Horner’s appointment is effective immediately. 

In November 2010, Hawai‘i voters approved a Constitutional Amendment that gives the Governor the authority to appoint members of the BOE. Governor Abercrombie is encouraged that the State Legislature has been moving expeditiously to establish the appointment process for BOE members. When that legislative process is complete, Governor Abercrombie intends to name Horner among his first appointments.

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