Aloha kākou! ‘O Kaitlin Kamalei ai‘ole KK ko‘u inoa. He Hawai‘i au. He Kanaka Maoli au. ‘O ko kākou mau keiki, ko kākou mau ‘ohana, a me ko kākou mau moʻomeheu ku‘u kuleana. Makemake au e mālama i ko kākou mau ‘ohana, pēlā, aloha lākou i ko kākou moʻomeheu, a pēlā ulu hāʻehuola lākou. ‘O ko kākou mau moʻomeheu ka ola. ‘O ko kākou mau ‘ōlelo ka ola. E pono kākou e mauli a ola i loko ko kākou mau 'ano kānaka 'oiwi. E pono kākou e ola a ulu pono. A hoʻomaka ia me ko kākou mau 'ohana a me ko kākou mau keiki!
Kaitlin Kamalei, or KK, has a strong passion for early childhood education rooted in cultural and language reclamation and preservation work. She believes that culture is life and culture is also prevention. Hummingbird gave so much to her ‘ohana and her. She is excited about breathing that life back into our Indigenous community by building responsive Home Visiting programming.
Before coming to Hummingbird, KK wore many hats in the public education world and even won the 2020 Learning for Justice Award for Excellence in Teaching. During the day, she was a K-3 Teacher and then an Elementary Ethnic Studies Curriculum Specialist for Seattle Public Schools. Then after she “clocked out” of her classroom job, she went on to help build more racially-just systems and programming through her work as a Racial & Social Justice Organizer for Seattle Education Association, Founding Director of Colorful Pages, and PNW Regional Director for NEA Asian Pacific Islander Caucus.
With the birth of her son, KK’s whole life was turned upside down in the most beautiful and difficult way possible. Since the birth of her son, she realized that her kuleana (responsibility) is to support our Indigenous community members in strengthening our ‘ohana (families), revitalizing our cultures and languages, and working with the youngest keiki (kids). Additionally, it was through her own postpartum experience that she saw the incredible importance of Home Visiting and language/cultural reclamation work as a way of healing. KK hopes to bring this experience as a makuahine (mother) and Native Hawaiian/Kanaka Maoli into her work as Hummingbird’s Pilimakua Home Visiting Program Manager.
Along with her strong sense of motherhood and racial justice, KK also brings her love of ‘ohana and community to Hummingbird. You can usually find her sewing things for her friends, holding weekly ‘ohana dinners, or doing outdoor playdates with her son and their Native Family Learning Lodge community. During downtime, KK also loves swimming and watching anime with her amazingly-supportive husband (Hunter X Hunter and Sailor Moon are her absolute faves).