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Teacher and school principal Gladys Kamakakuokalani Ainoa Brandt

Island History

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Posted: Sunday, June 16, 2013 12:30 am

Gladys Kamakakuokalani Ainoa Brandt (1906-2003) was born in Honolulu to parents David and Esther Ainoa.

Her father had been a member of the counter-revolution of 1895, led by Prince Kuhio, Robert Wilcox and others on Oahu, which failed to overthrow the government of the Republic of Hawaii.  

Its defeat ended hopes of restoring the monarchy and returning Queen Liliuokalani to the throne she had lost in 1893.

At age four, Brandt’s parents hanai’d her to Ida May Pope, principal of Kamehameha School for Girls, and she lived at Ms. Pope’s home until Pope’s death in 1914.

Brandt graduated from McKinley High School in Honolulu and earned a teaching certificate from the Territorial Normal and Training School in Honolulu in preparation for her first teaching assignment at Keanae School on Maui in 1927.

She also taught on Oahu before moving to Kauai in 1937 to teach at Eleele School.

In 1943, she became principal of Kalaheo School after receiving her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Hawaii.  

Ms. Brandt later served as a longtime principal of Kapaa High School, where she was noted for being strict, but fair.

In 1962, she was named District Superintendent of Schools for Kauai.  

Brandt left Kauai in 1963 to become principal of Kamehameha School for Girls. In 1969, she was promoted director of Kamehameha Schools high school division.

As a regent of the University of Hawaii during the 1980s, Brandt successfully lobbied the legislature to fund construction of the university’s Center for Hawaiian Studies, which is named Kamakakuokalani after her.

In 1997, she co-authored the “Broken Trust” essays that criticized Kamehameha Schools trustees for financial mismanagement. As a result, offending trustees were expelled and reforms were implemented.

Ms. Brandt married Isaac Brandt in 1927. They had two children.

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