The Real Story

Taking Away A Great School


To the families of Ka'u,

As you all probably already know, Kau Learning Academy’s charter contract was revoked by the Hawaii State Charter School Commission. The commission wanted the school shut down for political reasons that run very deep. The founder of KLA, Kathryn Tydlacka, worked for Naalehu Elementary School from 2011-2013, and during this time the computer technician at the school, Bob Martin, offered her pictures of test questions from the state HSA exam. Cheating on the state exam could cost a teacher his or her license—it is very serious.  She refused the pictures and filed a report to the principal, Darlene Javar. Javar refused to act on it, so KLA’s founder sent a letter a to Mary Correa who was the Complex Area Superintendent (CAS) and Ronn Nozoe, an assistant superintendent who is now an assistant superintendent on a federal level in Washington DC. KLA’s founder had corroborating testimony from another teacher who was also offered the test question pictures, and she has written evidence in her possession to this day. The Hawaii Department of Education wanted it swept under the rug, so they fired her instead of investigating the charges. 


What does this have to do with KLA being shut down? Mitch D’Olier, the acting chairperson of the Hawaii State Charter Commission, led the charge against KLA. He is also a director of the Castle Foundation, a philanthropic organization that accepts money from individuals and organizations to use for good deeds throughout the state of Hawaii. He authorized a $10,000 PERSONAL contribution to Mary Correa and a $10,000 PERSONAL contribution to Ronn Nozoe. To be clear—The Castle Foundation mission is to do good deeds in Hawaii, and they used donor’s money to give cash to two of Mitch D’Olier’s friends. These are the friends that buried the Naalehu Elementary School cheating evidence that the founder of KLA brought to them. Mary Correa did this, because she was being recognized throughout the state for “turning Naalehu School around,” and she certainly didn’t want anyone to know that the small growth the school showed was due to cheating. KLA’s founder was fired from Naalehu School shortly after making the report even though her students’ state test scores far surpassed the state average which had never been done in Naalehu School before. In fact, the school had always been the lowest achieving in the state. Mary Correa, Ronn Nozoe, and Mitch D’Olier had reason to want to Ms. Tydlacka to go away---but she didn’t. 

Ms. Tydlacka started working to open a charter school which is Kau Learning Academy. While at Naalehu School, Ms. Tydlacka stayed after school two to three days a week to tutor kids at her own expense. She also arranged field trips for the kids and sacrificed her time and life to loving and helping Kau kids any way she could. This is why the families of Kau loved and trusted her and signed their children up for KLA. Ms. Tydlacka spent her entire savings, over $25,000, to open a restaurant to raise money and awareness for the school. She and her husband ran the restaurant every Friday and Saturday night for two years and never took a salary. They worked 12-15 hour days cleaning, painting, scrubbing floors, cutting cane grass, putting a roof on the dilapidated building, all while writing a FOUR-HUNDRED PAGE charter school application. They gave their blood, sweat, tears and life savings to the children of Kau, because of their love for these kids and desire to see them have a chance to succeed in life. Keep in mind, there was no guarantee that a charter would be granted!

The allegations against the school are false. They are vague, unsubstantiated, and some are outright lies. The commission convinced the new, inexperienced KLA Board of Directors to go along with admitting to the lies by making them believe they could keep the school open if they threw the founders under the bus and agreed to move forward in a different direction. The new board complied. They meant well, but they followed a very bad path. They refused to listen to the founders who told them to fight the false allegations. They believed they could pacify the commission and keep the school open—but, the truth is, you can’t negotiate with terrorists. This Hawaii State Charter Commission NEVER had any intention of allowing the school to continue. They had a strong political reason to kill it. They wanted the new KLA Board to demonize the founders, so they could make the public believe it was their fault the school closed. However, the truth is—the entire case against the school was based on trumped-up charges and lies. Imagine going to court for a crime you never committed and never having the opportunity to speak in your own defense or present any testimony of any kind. Imagine that the prosecutor was knowingly making false accusations without one thread of evidence against you. Imagine being found guilty and losing everything when you and the prosecutor knew full well that you were innocent. That is what happened to Kau Learning Academy. 

Over the next few days and weeks, we will be putting more information on this website. We will post all of the emails, the audio recordings, and all other evidence against the commission, the DOE and others involved. Please give us time to get all of this information together. There is so much of it, that it will be a full-time job. We are doing it because the TRUTH NEEDS TO BE TOLD. 

Thank you for reading this.