Brandi Higa has left her position as KITV sports director to be an information specialist with Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s office.
Her last day with KITV was Friday. Higa, 32, starts with the city on Jan. 2. She will report to new public information officer Alex Zannes, who was named last week as replacing Andrew Perreira. Perreira and Zannes are also former local TV newscasters.
“I’ve been looking for a while to expand my career,” Higa said today. “I’m very grateful for this opportunity to join such a passionate hard-working team.”
Much #Aloha and best wishes to @bhiga12 as she begins a new journey. From her days as an intern I knew that her work ethic and attitude would take her wherever she wanted to go #TeamHawaii 🤙🏽 pic.twitter.com/9TimiQWI0v
— Rob DeMello (@RobDeMelloKHON) December 21, 2019
Caldwell has just one year left in his current stint as mayor, so Higa is not sure what the future holds after the next election.
Higa started at KITV in 2010 after graduation from Fairfield University, as an intern in the news department, and was mentored by veteran sports director Robert Kekaula.
Noted for a relentless work ethic, she quickly moved up to associate producer, full-time producer, reporter and anchor. Higa was promoted to sports director in 2017 when Kekaula moved from sports to become a news anchor.
“You won’t see anyone out-hustle Brandi”, KITV news director Mike Darrah said at the time. “She consistently shows me her willingness to work any hours, in any location, under any circumstances, to offer the best sports coverage in town.”
Cody Krupp, who joined KITV in October, 2018, as a sports reporter and weekend anchor, will likely handle the bulk of the station’s sports duties with Higa’s departure. TJ Horgan, a reporter who joined the station in June, also has experience covering sports, Higa said.
In addition to Kekaula’s mentorship, Higa noted the influence of veterans like Paula Akana and Pamela Young who were at KITV when she started there.
“KITV has provided me with incredible experiences and allowed me to meet some of the most important people in my life,” she said.
Higa also counts her mother, Darlene Higa, as a role model for work ethic. Brandi’s first job, at age 15, was helping at her mom’s real estate company with property management tasks.
“My mom is one of the hardest workers I know and always brought work home,” she said. “So consistent grinding is all I knew.”
She graduated in 2005 from Hawaii Baptist Academy where she earned all-league volleyball honors as a defensive specialist. Higa chose Fairfield because of a scholarship offer and the opportunity to play volleyball with friends Ashley Hanohano, Jazmin Pa’akaula and Lindsey Lee (all from St. Joseph’s).
“Also, I was in love with the East Coast,” she said. “I had been to New York City with my mom before, did the whole broadway show experience and Times Square.”
An official announcement from the mayor’s office is expected Monday.