Meet President Ron Shiira
Ronald Shiira ‘75 became HBA’s fifth president on July 1, 2016, succeeding Richard T. Bento who served as president for 22 years. Ron brings more than 30 years of corporate and non-profit experience to HBA. He served as chairman of the HBA Board of Directors for five years, and was later hired as the president’s executive assistant. Ron and his wife, Cyndi, attend Olanui! church, and are active members of the HBA Booster Club. Their son, Andrew, is a graduate of the class of 2005 , and their daughter, Julia, is a preschool teacher in Honolulu. They have one grandson, Elijah.
Q: As an alum, how does it feel to return to HBA to serve as the school’s president?
A: I am humbled and honored to be selected as HBA’s first alumnus to serve as its school president, and I feel extremely blessed.
Q: Why did you choose to attend HBA?
A: I had the choice of enrolling at two larger, well-known, all-boys private schools, or a little known, small, coed Christian school called Hawaii Baptist Academy. I chose HBA because my best friend was going there, and they had girls. I enrolled as an eighth grader and this became the most important decision of my life because I was introduced to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Q: How did you come to know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?
A: In my fourth year at HBA, I became a Christian during a Religious Emphasis Week, now called Christian Emphasis Week. I wanted to express my new faith by getting baptized and becoming a member at a local Southern Baptist church. To my surprise, my parents prohibited me from being baptized. Following wise counsel, I decided to honor my parent’s request and did not get baptized; however, I continued to grow in my faith at HBA and at church. My parents allowed me to attend church because I honored their request not to be baptized until I became an adult. I know that they thought that becoming a Christian was only a fad, and it would pass. Well, my relationship with Jesus was genuine and I was overwhelmed with joy to have my whole family attend my baptism service following my graduation from HBA, and prior to starting college.
Q: Why is HBA special to you?
A: I was raised in a local Buddhist family, where having a close family and a good education was important. HBA’s caring and nurturing environment allows students, faculty, and staff to share a special bond. HBA is special to me because it feels like family and through the lives of caring faculty, staff, and students, I have learned to develop a growing relationship with Jesus. God also changed the course of my family’s life through His ministry at HBA. My mom and dad came to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior before they passed. My brother, Mark ‘79, his children, Noah ‘22 and Ilana ‘23, and my son, Andrew ‘05, have all experienced an excellent education at HBA, including a relationship with Jesus. I am extremely humbled and blessed to witness God’s faithfulness.
Q: What is your vision for HBA?
A: I want to create a school that everyone loves to attend. This includes our students, their parents, and grandparents, and our faculty and staff. I believe that I’m called to maintain and strengthen our school’s Christ-centered, college-prep educational focus that has impacted thousands of students in Hawaii for 67 years. HBA is a missional school, and our first commitment will always be to share the gospel with our students and their families. We can conduct our mission while strengthening the bonds of our relationships among the entire HBA ohana that extends into communities beyond Hawaii’s shores. For the last several years, God has allowed me to consult businesses and lead teams. During that time, I’ve learned the value of collaboration. I want to work closely with all of our faculty and staff members to create a school that everyone will love and that everyone will feel ownership in. This is our school, and as president, I will lead the initial steps to get our organization focused and unified so we can create a solid foundation, but it will take everyone’s participation to allow us to move forward and bring Christ to every nation. This is just as our founders and former presidents had envisioned and we can accomplish this together via collaboration and a heart for Christ.