I would like all of you to stop for just a minute to think about an answer for the question: “What young Hawaiian has had their name appear in the Seattle area media the most over the past few years?” Don’t know? Let me give you some hints. Here’s hint number one: it’s a kane (male)! Hint number two: his surname does not immediately make you think he might be Hawaiian! Hint number three: at first glance, you might not even realize he is Hawaiian! Hint number four: he is the new President of the Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association/Northwest Region (which covers Washington State and Alaska.)
Meet Peter Daniels, the articulate young Hawaiian who has been the media spokesperson for the past year for any number of controversial situations that have occurred within the Seattle School District. Peter Daniels served in similar media spokesperson positions for the Renton and Lake Washington School Districts prior to being hired by the Seattle School District so he has been in the Seattle Metropolitan area spotlight for several years now. Peter’s official title is Director of Public Affairs for the Seattle School District which Peter defines as being responsible for communications, media relations, customer service and community development. The kinds of issues Peter has had to deal with range from the less complex (should beverage vending machines be on school grounds) to front page stories (alleged student athlete recruiting or lead found in Seattle school water systems) to the emotional (inappropriate teacher-student relationships) to the very complex (effectiveness of the teaching curriculum in preparing students for the WASL or the projected closure of some schools because of budget constrains.) Peter says that the major challenges of his position are that he has to be very “quick on his feet” mentally and that he has to be able to respond intelligently and objectively to the questions from the media and the general public. He has to be the ultimate diplomat, able to calm the emotions that usually accompany concerns about Seattle School District issues! Peter is a good looking, quiet, soft spoken gentleman who is always composed and portrays a maturity far beyond his chronological age!
Hawaiians are more renowned for being emotional warriors than astute diplomat so who is this Peter Daniels? Peter was born and grew up in the Kailua area. His parents, Walter and Marilei Daniels trace their Hawaiian lineage to the Maka`ahoa, Ioela and Ka`ahanui families. Peter’s paternal great grandfather was renowned beach boy Chick Daniels and his maternal grandfather was Hawaii Calls Radio Show musician Sonny Nicholas. Sonny Nicholas was also the Director of the Hawaii Pavilion at the 1962 Seattle ’s World’s Fair. Peter is a 1985 graduate of the Kamehameha Schools and also graduated from Boston College (with a degree in Speech Communication.) Peter entered the field of educational communications when offered a job at the Kamehameha Schools after graduating from Boston College. A few years later, Peter went back to college and earned an MA in Journalism from Indiana University. Subsequently, Peter went to work for the Maui School District until he left Maui in 1998 to become the Communications Director for the Renton School District.
Beyond being a man of words, Peter is also a man of song! As he was in his days at Kamehameha, Peter is the designated Choir Director whenever the Kamehameha Alumni group gathers to sing! He is a marvel to watch as, through his facial expressions, soft/coaxing voice and weaving hands, he cajoles/coerces/encourages his singers to create the harmony of voices and purity of sound that Hawaiians have always been famous for. Peter is truly an outstanding choir leader!
Peter Daniels embraces and practices the best virtues of the Hawaiian culture (Aloha/compassion and caring, `oia`i`o/honesty; maopopo/understanding; ho`oponopono/making things right; laulima/cooperation; alaka`i/leadership;) in both his professional and personal lifestyles! So the next time you openthe newspaper or turn on the television and you see or read about Peter Daniels commenting on Seattle School District issues, you can proudly say “Hey, I know him….he’s one of us”! Mahalo Peter Daniels! You have been outstanding in what you do and you represent our Hawaiian culture so well as the “Hawaiian” face and the “Hawaiian” voice that the non-Hawaiian Seattle community sees and hears most! Keep up the good work! You da man…
Until next time, be kind to each other…..me ke Aloha pumehana……Danny