Alaka`i O Kaua`i Governing Board Members

  • President: DrB Blackwell
  • Vice-President: Elizabeth Indy Reeves
  • Treasurer: Rick Eckert
  • Secretary: Nicola Sherrill
  • Director: Mark Olson, Ph.D.
  • Director: Jesse Mahorney


DrB Blackwell (DrB)


DrB Blackwell has been an educator for 50 years starting her career at University of Maryland Baltimore County. DrB has been a classroom teacher, an elementary school principal, an arts specialist, and was founder of an Arts Magnet School. With 25 years in the DOE system, she returned to where she began, teaching at the university level. Until recently, DrB was a full-time faculty member at University of Hawaii, Manoa (UHM) and served as Elementary Coordinator for Teacher Education on Kauai. Before accepting her position at the University of Hawaii in 2003, DrB was a tenured professor in Psychological Foundations of Learning for California State University, Monterey Bay in California. DrB has been an international speaker at research and professional development conferences and is an enthusiastic speaker for service organizations. In 2006, she founded “Growing Our Own Teachers on Kauai” (GOOT-OK), a non-profit organization assisting future teachers. DrB continues to serve on the GOOT-OK Board of Directors. Today, DrB continues to teach online for UHM, teaching Multicultural Education. She was instrumental in the development of Alaka`i O Kaua`i Public Charter School, approved on August 11, 2016 and is serving as Chair of the Governing Board.

Contact information:

(808) 651-7733 - text only please.


Elizabeth Indy Reeves


Elizabeth “Indy” Reeves Mompreneur, Indy started her business, Gopal’s Creperie, with her husband in 2010 on a shoestring budget and has grown it in size and popularity with dedication to quality. Her dedication to quality applies also to her commitment to Alaka’i O Kaua’i. Wanting a better education alternative for her 2 sons that is not only affordable, but free, was her initial motivation to join the school’s governing board. But knowing the lasting impact it will have for future generations of Kaua’i is what keeps her committed. She is proud to serve her island home in this way. Her list of accomplishments include a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from James Madison University, graduate of East-West College of the Healing Arts, practicing 10 years as Licensed Massage Therapist, world travel, student and initiate of bhakti yoga.


Rick Eckert


Rick has been a financial professional and administrator of natural gas and electric utilities for 38 years, located now in almost every latitude of the northern hemisphere. These utilities comprise capital structures of small IOU, large IOU, family owned, startup venture and for the past 28 years, rural electric cooperative. Rick has also served as a gubernatorial appointee to the Alaska Energy Policy Task Force. Currently, as Financial Planning and Strategy Manager for Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, Rick is working with its innovative team in transforming Kauai’s power portfolio to 70% renewable fuel by 2030 and very likely much sooner. A healthy community is important to Rick and he feels a responsibility for helping to ensure it. He has volunteered his time as a member of the South Peninsula Hospital Board of Directors and the City of Homer Planning and Zoning Commission in Homer, Alaska as well as the Board of Trustees for the Elks National Home in Bedford, Virginia. Rick believes that our children are our future and is very excited about Alakai O Kauai Charter School.


Nicola Sherrill


Nicola Sherrill came to Kaua`i from NYC in 2011 to position her growing family in a holistic/natural environment and is constantly grateful to call the Garden Island home. Nicola landed her first sales position at age 16 at an after-school job and has been a licensed Real Estate Agent in New York and Hawai`i, working in General Real Estate Sales and Property Management. Nicola has expertise in contracts, negotiations and communications. Nicola finds joy in her work through connecting with people from all cultures and walks of life. Nicola graduated from The French Culinary Institute of New York City in 2004 and has cooked in various locations including Greenwich Village, New Orleans and New Zealand. Growing up in Northern California and making her way east, Nicola has visited 48 of the 50 states and enjoys international travel as well as adventure sports such as skydiving and scuba diving. Nicola is goal orientated, values personal growth and plans to pursue flying commercial helicopters on Kauai in the future. Nicola is passionate about serving on the Board of Alaka'i O Kaua'i because Alaka`i will provide a framework where children learn to lead through exploration and Project Based Learning; allow the facilitator and learner to identify, cultivate, and nurture the individual child’s true calling; and provide an environment for each child to develop their full potential. Nicola is committed to serving Alaka'i O Kaua'i for the benefit of the children of Kauai and has been contributing since 2013.


Mark Olson, Ph.D.


Mark has an M.A. in Education and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience, specializing in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuropsychology and Neuroanatomy from the University of Illinois where he studied learning, memory, vision, and attention. He is the owner and director of the Pacific Center for Awareness & Bodywork in Kaua`i, the former director of the Massage Therapy Program at Pioneer Pacific College in Oregon, the former operations manager of a sustainability education bicycle tour in Oregon, a former instructor of massage, anatomy, and neuroscience for numerous educational programs in Hawaii and the west coast, and a former teaching assistant for many years for an Educational Psychology class for secondary education teachers. He is also an aquatic therapist, a database developer, and a published author on the topic of the neuroscience of loving. He volunteers his time as the Vice-President of Kauai Path and the Project Manager for the Kauai Food Forest. In his classes and workshops, Mark integrates the neuroscience of interoception (feelings), behavior, and mindfulness with effective communication techniques to promote a more peaceful and compassionate society.


Jesse Mahorney


Jesse studied Visual Communications, Graphic Design and Painting at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Savannah College of Art & Design - Atlanta, and Kendall College of Art & Design in Michigan. He is a contract designer, online marketing specialist, photographer/videographer, and licensed loan officer. Jesse has worked in the tech industry for online startups, mobile app developers and marketing & branding firms. He has taught classes in social media and video production to non profits, for profits and middle school students. Jesse is a Leadership Kauai 2012 Alumni and is passionate about technology, entrepreneurship, leadership, education, networking, community and his family.