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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, March 21, 2001

Shigeta named principal at Makaha Elementary

By James Gonser
Advertiser Leeward Bureau

MAKAHA — Makaha Elementary School finally has a new, permanent principal — Nelson Shigeta, former vice principal at Wai'anae High School.

Shigeta, a vice principal at Wai'anae High for almost five years, took over as principal March 12 from interim principal Karen Ueyama.

"He is terrific to work with," said Makaha Elementary teacher Tony Turbeville. "The teachers are going to give him terrific support."

Ueyama had been at the helm since Clarence DeLude was removed from the job in October after months of dissent over his curriculum and leadership that spilled out from the school and split the community.

Teachers, parents and community members had said DeLude was dictatorial, and demanded his removal.

Supporters said they believed the goals DeLude was working toward were overlooked.

DeLude took over the school in January 2000 with lofty goals and high hopes. He said it was time to stop sixth-graders from graduating without learning to read. He expanded a reading program that concentrated on phonics and moved students to different classes during a daily 90-minute reading period.

But his curriculum and management style soon ran afoul of some teachers, parents and community leaders.

It was DeLude's cancellation of a popular school program at Hoa 'Aina O Makaha farm next to Makaha Elementary that contributed to the uprising against him. The program, which helped teach agriculture and economics, was later partially restored.

DeLude said the program was taking away from the basic educational skills that he wanted to emphasize.

DeLude is now a vice principal at Mililani High and is reported to be doing well in that position.

Wai'anae High principal JoAnne Kumasaka said this is Shigeta's first assignment as principal, and with his experience at the high school, will do a fine job.

"He is well qualified," Kumasaka said.

Turbeville agreed.

"We are beyond the problems now," he said.