Mandi K. Scott
Na Maka O Pu'uwai Aloha–Foundation
Na Maka O Pu'uwai Aloha Studios
Mandi Kaleilani Scott, Kumu Hula and President of the Na Maka O Pu'uwai Aloha Foundation, was born and raised in 'Oahu, Hawai'i. She grew up in both Mililani and Waipahu, and currently resides in Mililani. She graduated from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa with a bachelor's degree in Hawaiian studies, and later obtained a master's degree in elementary education from the University of Phoenix. She has been an elementary school teacher for the past 18 years, starting at St. Joseph Parish school in Waipahu and continuing to Leihoku elementary school in Waianae. Teaching was something Mandi always knew she wanted to do. Luckily, it went hand in hand with her lifelong passion, hula.
Mandi started dancing hula when she was 3 years old. She was enrolled in her first hula hui at Hula Hui O Kapunahala under the direction of Aunty Carolee Nishi. Mandi danced for the hui for many years and was mentored by Aunty Carolee. Eventually she was given the opportunity to teach her own keiki kane class. They went on to win multiple keiki hula awards in kahiko and 'auana and Master Keiki runner up titles. When Mandi entered the Hawaiian studies program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, she studied under the direction of Kumu Hula Aunty Victoria Holt-Takamine. After graduating, she became a member of Na Wai 'Eha O Puna and studied under the direction of the late, great Kumu Hula O'Brien Eselu. She dedicated as much of herself to hula as she did to teaching and in that journey is where we find our beginning.
During Mandi's freshman year at UH, while studying to become a Special Education teacher, she volunteered to teach a young group of special ladies. These ladies were from Halau Ha'aheo Na Kamali'i and they were born with Down’s syndrome. She began teaching them hula at the age of 17 and they continue to dance for her today. This hula class of 4 very special women marked the beginning of a studio that now has over 400 students. This class is where Mandi's "Na Maka O Pu'uwai Aloha" dream began.
People say that it's team work that makes the dream work. Na Maka is no exception to that rule. Mandi chose instructors, with expertise in their field, who would also promote a safe, non-competitive environment for students to foster their self-confidence. She aims to help her students find the courage to be free to be themselves and give them the opportunities to see where that freedom can take them.
On behalf of the Na Maka O Pu'uwai Aloha - Foundation board, instructors, staff and our president, Mandi K. Scott, we thank you, for making this dream work.