Damien Memorial School today announced the appointment of Wes Reber Porter as President and CEO of the 54-year old Catholic school in Kalihi. Porter replaces Bernard A.K.S. Ho who, in September, announced his retirement effective the end of this current school year.
In a letter to the Damien Ohana, Board Chair Gregory Sitar announced the appointment today, calling Porter an individual with a wealth of knowledge and experience and the right person to lead Damien in the next chapter of its history.
Porter was most recently the Chief Coordinating Officer for Academic Program Strategy and an advisor to the President at Golden Gate University in San Francisco. Further, he was a tenured law professor and directed the Litigation Center at Golden Gate University, School of Law. He has also served as a Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law. Porter taught courses in Evidence, Criminal Law and Trial Advocacy and created a nationally-recognized, innovative Summer Trial and Evidence Program called 1st STEP. Largely due to his leadership, for the past three years, National Jurist Magazine recognized Golden Gate in the Top 20 of law schools nationally in practical training.
This past academic year, Porter was nominated and selected to the 2015-16 Class of the American Council on Education’s Fellows Program, an education leadership program featuring a year-long placement with the leaders of a host university. He then was selected for placement at the University of California, Davis with its Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor.
Before joining academia, Porter earned a reputation as a skilled trial lawyer. He worked as a Senior Trial Attorney for the United States Department of Justice’s Criminal Division in Washington D.C., as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Hawaii, as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) in the U.S. Navy stationed at Pearl Harbor, and as an Enforcement Attorney for the United States Securities and Exchange Commission in San Francisco.
Porter is a proud graduate of Bishop Hendricken High School, a Christian Brothers school in Warwick, Rhode Island. He attended Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, where he received his B.A. in Business and Economics with a minor in Human Relations and was honored as the college’s student-athlete of the year. Porter earned his Juris Doctorate and graduated magna cum laude from Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law in Washington D.C. Porter is married to Honolulu-native Emily Su-lan Reber Porter. They have two sons, Evan and Cameron.
As only the second lay President in the school’s history, Porter takes over at the helm of a school that has enjoyed a resurgence in enrollment over the past several years, bolstered by its conversion to a co-educational institution four years ago. The school also recently completed construction of a new multi-purpose athletic building in the first phase of a multi-phase campus rejuvenation project.