After leading the Hāna-Lahainaluna-Lānaʻi-Molokaʻi Complex Area for 13 years, Lindsay Ball will retire on June 30. He has been mentoring his successor, Dr. Rebecca Winkie, principal of Princess Nahiʻenaʻena Elementary, to lead the "Canoe Complex."
CAS Ball began teaching in 1979 at schools in Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska before moving to Hawaii in 1991. His Hawaii career started at Maui High, where he was a business teacher and wrestling coach for six years. From 1997 to 2000, he served as the vice principal at Maui High, Lahainaluna High, King Kamehameha III Elementary and Kihei Elementary schools. In 2001, he was named principal of King Kamehameha III and was appointed as CAS in August 2008 to oversee 11 schools on Maui, Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i.
Dr. Winkie will be serving as deputy complex area superintendent, effective April 1, until she fully transitions into the complex area superintendent role on July 1.
"Over the past 13 years, CAS Ball’s clear guidance and steadfast leadership has been a source of inspiration and confidence for those of us in the Canoe Complex. His consistent message has always been to make decisions based on what is best for students,” Dr. Winkie said. “CAS Ball taught us to act with passion and purpose, and by his example, we have learned to appreciate the importance of community and connection."
An 18-year HIDOE veteran, Dr. Winkie currently serves as the principal at Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena Elementary – the only elementary school in West Maui to offer a Hawaiian Language Immersion Program for all students. Prior to her four years there, Dr. Winkie served as vice principal at King Kamehameha III Elementary and also taught at Kalama Intermediate and Lāna‘i High and Elementary.
"I am thankful for having had the opportunity to work with such a fearless leader who sees potential in others and helps them to grow. I look forward to the challenge of continuing and building upon the excellent work of CAS Ball and his leadership team,” Dr. Winkie said.
We asked CAS Ball about his experiences in education and his future plans — and where to grab good eats in his complex area.
Q: Looking back on your career, what was your biggest challenge?
CAS Lindsay Ball: The first thing that comes to mind is teaching kindergarten P.E. as a second-year teacher, my colleagues just dropped off their classes to me and walked away. The kindergarteners didn't know how to line up, make a circle, or follow basic instructions yet. Those first two weeks, I was exhausted. However, before too long the teachers were complaining that their kids were too wound up when I took them back to class after P.E. It was a pivotal moment in my career where I learned how to manage expectations, from students to adults.
Q: What advice do you have for the next CAS?
L.B.: You can't make everyone happy, you won't get everything you want, and don't stray from your values. Being a leader is not about the title but rather how you make others feel by listening to them, having their back, and giving them tools they need to be successful. You are only as good as your team and it's crucial to cultivate an atmosphere where you can lean on each other through challenges and celebrations.
Q: How did you maintain a presence across a district that spans three islands with hard-to-access rural areas?
L.B.: One of the priorities I focused on was building relationships within the Canoe Complex and instilling a sense of place with administrators so they can understand their students. Before the pandemic, I tried to maintain a regular schedule visiting all of the Canoe Complex schools at least monthly. I strongly believe in being a visible leader, not just being present when things go wrong.
Q: For those who might not be aware, why is your area referred to as the CANOE complex?
L.B.: We are fortunate that the Canoe Complex is connected by water, not separated by it. Our four unique complexes are geographically set apart. While travel is dictated by someone else’s schedule — ferry, flight, or returning a rental car on time — we have embraced these unique challenges and found innovative solutions to stay connected. It's these systems that have helped us maintain a strong connection throughout the pandemic.
Q: What are your plans for your retirement and your free time?
L.B.: I'm looking forward to dedicating time to my hobbies and health, including surfing and riding my motorcycle throughout the island. I owe my career in education on Maui to wrestling and coaching. I've always had a passion for both, so I'll possibly explore returning to both in some fashion.
Q: What is the one must-have eats in your complex area?
L.B.: If you ever visit Molokaʻi, you cannot go wrong with the Molokaʻi burger and the fries from Molokaʻi Burger in Kaunakakai. In Hāna, all of the food trucks are excellent, I love the fresh fish. And on Lānaʻi, the fried chicken from Lānaʻi City Service gas station is fried to perfection.
Q: What is your favorite TV show and musical artist?
L.B.: I don't watch too much TV, but I do enjoy listening to music to unwind. A few of my favorite artists include Steely Dan, Boz Scaggs, Dukes of September, Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Q: Biggest change in education since you started teaching in 1979?
L.B.: Access to information via technology like cell phones has shifted the way we learn and teach. Information is at everyone’s fingertips and educators have had to reevaluate their role in preparing our students for life after their K-12 journey. Another change is having investigators on staff, which speaks to the additional challenges our educators face beyond the classroom. Over the years, our schools have been tasked, whether officially or unofficially, with trying to solve society's greatest problems like poverty, mental health support and breaking down socioeconomic barriers.