Karen Nakai

Chief of Staff
Office of the Chancellor
The California State University

Karen Nakai, Ed.D.

Dr. Karen Nakai serves the California State University as chief of staff to the chancellor, a role she assumed in 2019. She oversees and directs high-level projects including design, development, coordination and implementation of operational plans and select programs and policies to help attain institutional goals. She also manages all budgetary and financial planning for the Office of the Chancellor.

Dr. Nakai spent more than 20 years at California State University, Long Beach serving in a number of positions, including professor, assistant chair in the departments of Educational Leadership and Educational Psychology, Administration and Counseling; core faculty for the Doctorate in Educational Leadership Program; and chief of staff to the president of California State University, Long Beach.

Before joining the CSU, Dr. Nakai held multiple positions in higher education at University of California, Irvine and California State University, Dominguez Hills. She also served in PK-12 education as a teacher and principal. Throughout her years of service to public education, Dr. Nakai has worked collaboratively with all stakeholders to provide the best educational opportunities and experiences for all students.

Dr. Nakai holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from University of California, Los Angeles, a master's in school management and administration from Pepperdine University and a doctorate in institutional management, specialty in educational leadership from Pepperdine University.