Nelson Shigeta

Nelson Shigeta has 21 years of experience as an elementary and secondary administrator, 16 of
which he has served as principal. For a total of 11 years, he has served as principal of Makaha
Elementary School, a suburban school with 576 students, all of whom receive free or reducedprice meals. When Shigeta arrived at Makaha, students were experiencing deepening poverty at
home, and the school was facing low performance, widespread behavioral issues, and low
teacher morale. Acknowledging the need for strong leadership and a cohesive culture, Shigeta
has implemented several initiatives, including PBIS, social-emotional curricula, and STEM
learning opportunities, demonstrating his commitment to attending to the whole child. According
to his vice principal, the results have been “nothing short of transformational.” Superintendent
Ann Mahi says that Shigeta has made his mark with “innovative, research-based instructional
practices, data-driven decision making, and equity in educational opportunities for all of his
students.” Under his leadership, Makaha achieved good standing under NCLB in 2008-2009,
after having previously been in restructuring status. The same year, Shigeta was recognized as a
semi-finalist for the Masayuki Tokiyoka Excellence in School Leadership Award for Principal
Leadership. Shigeta holds an M.Ed. in School Administration, Professional Diplomas in
Secondary English and Speech Education, and a B.Ed. in Secondary Speech Education, all from
the University of Hawaii at Manoa.