Gabriel Nakashima, founder of the Charter Substitute Teacher Network (CSTN), is among the 2016 Forbes 30 Under 30 in Education. Recognized for his leadership and innovation, Nakashima created a network that effectively vets high quality substitute teachers by using rigorous sourcing and matching analytics. Currently a 320-employee operation, CSTN is in schools across Chicago, Denver, and more.
“This award is humbling and exciting,” Nakashima said. “It has already begun to open doors that will enable me to contribute on a greater scale. I plan to take full advantage of these opportunities that will enable me to lead and contribute to our future generations at the highest level.”
A graduate of the College of Education (COE) School of Teacher Education, Nakashima earned his master of education degree in teaching (MEdT). He attributes the initial concept for CSTN to engaging discussions he had with Professor Fred Birkett in the MEdT program.
After teaching at Kamaile Academy in Wai‘anae, Nakashima focused his research on the increasingly alarming amount of time students spend with substitutes, particularly in high-needs communities. By the time these students reach 12th grade, he determined, they will have spent up to one year with substitute teachers – often a year of ineffective learning time because of a lack of continuity and appropriate placement.
Dividing his time between Chicago and Denver, Nakashima says he has aspirations to return to Hawai‘i to help build education programs along the Wai‘anae Coast. “I was not born in Wai’anae, but the aloha I received and still receive every time I return, makes it home for me,” he said. One of his closest mentors, Glen Kila, was his elementary school principal at Kamaile.
“The values I have learned from Glen are the strongest I know,” Nakashima said. “Glen had a drastic impact on my career path and decision to focus my energy and talent on our future generations. I want to do whatever is in my power to provide opportunities for the beautiful and talented keiki of Wai‘anae and beyond, so they can share their gifts with the world.”