Kapaa Middle School principal reinstated

LIHUE — The Department of Education is continuing to investigate a complaint filed against Kapaa Middle School Principal Nathan Aiwohi.

Aiwohi was placed on administrative leave on April 17. He was reinstated in his position late May, according to DOE’s Director of Communications Donalyn Dela Cruz.

“However, there are still some outstanding investigations taking place,” Dela Cruz said Tuesday. “In regards to the upcoming school year, 2013–14, his return is still pending based on the outcomes of those investigations.”

Currently, Aiwohi is completing work from the last school year, Dela Cruz said.

Parents will be notified of Aiwohi’s status for the upcoming school year via a letter before the first day of school on Aug. 5.  

On July 12, Aiwohi sent out a memo acting as principal to Kapaa Middle School parents and guardians. The memo states the school will offer three additional days for school registration and there is a modified school supply list.

The Department of Education placed Aiwohi on leave to investigate an alleged complaint against him made by staff members.

Officials from the DOE declined to comment on the nature of the complaint, but an online petition calling for the removal of Aiwohi pointed to his “dictatorial, authoritarian leadership style.” Petitioner’s accuse the dissolved PTSA, high faculty turnover, low enrollment and math scores below No Child Left Behind standards have taken place under Aiwohi’s leadership.

In response, a petition supporting Aiowhi appeared online. The petition was created by Leah Aiwohi, and states under Aiwohi’s leadership, the school has increased reading scores and math scores, and was recognized by the DOE with the Continuous Growth Award.

In a May interview, Kauai Area Complex Superintendent Bill Arakaki said the department was “proud” of the continuous improvement in test scores, and that enrollment at KMS is not an area of concern.

Aiwohi has served as Kapaa Middle School principal since January 2007. He was a teacher at KMS from 1997 to 1999.

Aiwohi did not return calls for comment by press time.

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