Congratulations to the 2024 Support Network Leader of the Year, Kalani Mark of South Bay Faith Academy. Kalani currently serves as the Junior High/High School Principal and has made such an impact on her homeschool community that she was overwhelmingly nominated for recognition just three years into her tenure.

Kalani was presented her award during the Luncheon at the CHEA’s Spring Leadership Conference at Biola University on May 9, 2024.

Each year CHEA honors one leader from a Support Network Group who has made an indelible impact on the lives of the families served. Leaders are nominated by individuals within their group.

With multiple pages filled with glowing praise and appreciation for Kalani from fellow leaders, students, parents, and alumni, it’s obvious why she is deserving of the designation of CHEA’s 2024 Support Network Leader of the Year.

When Kalani stepped into the role of Junior & Senior High Principal in 2021, she came in with a plan and a vision. 

Ken Tachikawa, Chairman of the SBFA Board shared that, “she stepped into this role desiring to see every high school student have the brightest future possible. She works tirelessly to ensure every student is seen, and knows that they are loved by her and Jesus. Kalani goes way above and beyond her duties as simply the Principal. She has personally brought into South Bay Faith Academy opportunities for high schoolers to be better equipped for their future.”

These “opportunities include Stoa Speech-and-Debate club, Student Leadership Council, Young American Foundation’s High School Student Conferences, ASVAB testing, and more, geared toward developing students’ personal relationship with Jesus, integrity, character, personal responsibility, leadership skills, and public speaking skills,” according to Darren Verrette, a parent at SBFA. “I have witnessed the fruit of the above programs and her relationships with the students; the transformation of students and graduates into confident, articulate, respectful, and responsible young adult believers in Christ.”

Her actions have revived and given new life to South Bay Faith Academy, not only for the junior and senior high school students, but for all the families. She is establishing a legacy that will encourage families to continue homeschooling in the teen years.

Liz Kandel explains, “Kalani has completely changed the trajectory of our academy for the better. Personally, I as well as both of my children have benefited immensely from her energy and spirit.”

“I have definitely seen an overall change in the presence of the older students since she took the helm. With a strong, visible presence of older kids, I believe the families with younger kids have encouragement to continue homeschooling all the way through high school which we believe is critical for proper spiritual formation and solidification of Biblical worldview, especially with the culture nowadays. In the past, we saw families move to public school or private schools at middle school or high school. Homeschooling high school seemed so daunting. At our academy days, there is now an exciting selection of classes for middle and high schoolers,” shared Warren & Myhanh Chun, parents.

Rebecca Turba, High School Administrative Assistant continues, “she has created an environment where the teenagers not only feel comfortable, but actually choose to attend and lead at Academy Day, Leadership Council, and Speech and Debate.

Not only has Kalani developed programs that have impacted students and parents positively; her relationship with Christ is evident in all her interactions with those she serves.

Michelle Nadolski explains, “her vulnerability and desire to walk with the Lord impressed me. We are blessed by her wisdom as revealed through her diplomacy, her sense of humor around the student body and, not the least of all, the qualities of an excellent mother to her five children.”

The sentiments are echoed by another parent, Liz Kandel. “Kalani’s number one goal is for students to own their relationship with the Lord and for the relationship of parents and students to be centered on discipleship rather than worldly successes. Kalani not only leads by example of hard work and diligence, but she also allows others to have a voice, championing their gifts. I am truly grateful for her wise counsel and Christ-centered leadership at South Bay Faith Academy.”

“Kalani’s leadership example, especially as a parent, points us to Jesus. From the onset to the finish line she cheers us on with wisdom and encouragement. Her leadership reflects the love of Christ and exemplifies a life lived worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ,” wrote Brandy Corea.

Kalani’s leadership has been an inspiration to parents, students, and those that she leads alongside.

A 2023 graduate, Destiny Verrette, explains. “Mrs. Mark has been an amazing leader and has been someone who’s guided me in school and helped me become a better leader through her own leadership, she’s someone who I look up to and it’s a joy and an honor to have had her as a principal and leader in many ways during high school.”

The Academy Day Assistant Director, Kristine Johnson writes, “She leads by example and has brought a new life to our Academy. She has welcomed me into our leadership community with a Christ-centered listening ear and has encouraged me to make a greater impact on our families on Academy Day and beyond. She has inspired me to be a stronger mentor to our younger families.”

Angelique Belvin, parent, shared, “she is a servant leader who models love, grace, patience, and faithfulness. She works diligently and tirelessly to ensure our school – parent leaders, teachers, and students – is the best it can be.”

The words of Phoebe Dawn, student at SFBA sum up the pages of glowing comments about this beloved Principal. “If you asked me to give one word to describe Mrs. Kalani Mark, or Auntie Kalani as I have come to know her, it is inspirational. She has been someone I have come to trust, rely on, and look up to. She is a fantastic teacher, wonderful mentor, and overall great human being.”

Thank you to the many people from South Bay Faith Academy who shared about the impact Kalani has had on them. We congratulate her and are honored to recognize her for the work she’s done over the last three years. We pray she continues to serve, as the Lord leads, in the coming years, continuing to create her legacy for the homeschool community in Southern California’s South Bay and beyond.