Born in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii, Yuna’s parents were both educators—mom, a Japanese-born middle school principal of 25 years and dad, a sixth generation Hawaiian who taught science at the University of Hawaii for 33 years. Her destiny seemed fixed from the time she was able to walk. Yuna was born to lead and bred to teach.
When did you know you wanted to dedicate your life to education?
I had a feel for the cadence of education by the time I was ten. My mom and dad have always been committed to the development of teachers and students. So, even at a young age, I would listen to them discuss everything from how teachers manage a classroom to how a school communicates with parents—all between wave breaks. “School on the water and then to school on the land,” they would say.