Who we are
The Education Incubator is a non-profit, co-founded in 2015 by Dr. Miki. K. Tomita and Stephanie Shipton. After working within the education system at the classroom, administration, and state and federal systems levels, Dr. Tomita and Mrs. Shipton partnered on the Hawaii State Department of Education’s groundbreaking Future Ready Learning Initiative. It was through this collaboration that Dr. Tomita and Ms. Shipton made the connection to merge their worlds of practice, academics, policy, and systems thinking; thus, the Education Incubator was born.
Ms. Shipton is the Director of Strategic Initiatives for Teach For America Hawaii, where she leads work on early recruitment and staff talent development, while providing chief of staff support to the Executive Director.
She has served in roles at the Hawaii Department of Education (HIDOE) as acting director of Policy, Innovation, Planning, and Evaluation and as a portfolio manager, providing oversight and management for three Race to the Top portfolios, composed of 12 discreet projects. She co-authored the State’s federally approved ESEA flexibility waivers and designed and implemented HIDOE’s Access Learning Pilot Project - an $8.2 million 1:1 digital device pilot in 8 schools across the state that grew to serve over 60 schools.
Ms. Shipton has served as a consultant for Leadership For Educational Equity (LEE), as an education policy analyst for the nation's governors with the National Governors Association (NGA), and as a program assistant at the Alliance for Excellent Education. She has held roles at Capital Partners, Inc and on the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions for Senator Edward Kennedy. Her accomplishments in these roles include: shepherding the creation of the Common Core State Standards; providing technical assistance that strengthened charter school laws and policies in over 5 states; authorship of a number of education policy publications; and serving on advisory committees on competency based education and the Common Core State Standards. Ms. Shipton has a B.A. in Political Science and an M.P.S in Political Management from The George Washington University.
Dr. Tomita is the Director of the Learning Center for the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS), the education and outreach arm of PVS and the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage. She leads the work to promote the mission of Mālama Honua through local and global outreach; share the values, practices, art and science of traditional Polynesian wayfinding with the world; and realize the goals of the Worldwide Voyage to connect learners of all ages to navigate our planet towards a better future.
Dr. Tomita has served as an administrator, teacher, curriculum developer, and researcher at the University Laboratory School PCS, University of Hawaiʻi’s Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), and Stanford University. While at ULS and UH CRDG, Dr. Tomita coordinated school- and department-wide professional development, strategic planning, and local and global research collaborations. At Stanford, her work and research focused on assessment and evaluation of student learning, in science classrooms and multi-cultural contexts. She has served as foundational member or in leadership positions with organizations such as ACE 21 (Academy for 21st Century Education), Google Educator Group (GEG) Hawaiʻi, The Janus Group teacher collaborative, Hawaii Farm to School and School Garden Network, Hawaiʻi Public Charter School Network, and has worked to bring resources and opportunities to public, private and charter schools around integration of STEM, indigenous and cultural knowledge, and community empowerment.
Dr. Tomita has a B.S.E. in Biosystems Engineering from University of Hawaiʻi and a Ph.D. in Curriculum Studies and Teacher Education from Stanford University. Her work is anchored at the intersections of environment, education and engineering, with a sharp focus on place-based, community-driven collaborative education that puts youth at the center of innovating to transform society’s “what if’s” into “what now’s” and “what next’s”.