Veterans Education Administrator Appointed Acting Superintendent of DOE

A selection committee led by the chair of the Board of Education has named a high school principal and a veteran administrator as her choice to lead Hawaii’s public schools when they fully reopen in the fall after more than a year. mostly online courses during the pandemic.

Waipahu High School Principal Keith Hayashi, yet to be approved by the full board next month, would take over as acting superintendent on August 1 as the board conducts a more in-depth search for a permanent superintendent who should be selected next spring.

The new acting superintendent will replace Christina Kishimoto, who held the post for four years but decided not to seek a new term once her contract ended at the end of July.

Keith Hayashi, right, who has been appointed to DOE’s acting superintendent, already has experience in this role. He took over for a month in 2017 during the transition before outgoing Christina Kishimoto began her tenure. Cory Lum / Civil Beat / 2017

Hayashi, director of Waipahu since 2009, previously held this position. He took the reins for the month of July in 2017 to bridge the gap between the departure of former Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi and the start date of Kishimoto.

BOE President Catherine Payne said she and other members of the advisory board, including board members Margaret Cox, Dwight Takeno and Bruce Voss, believed Hayashi was “the best fit for the challenges. criticisms that our schools are facing in the coming months ”.

“He has experience as a teacher, principal, complex zone superintendent, acting deputy superintendent and, briefly, as acting state superintendent,” Payne said. “I have no doubts that he is the right person to lead our schools during the difficult months ahead.”

The Department of Education superintendent oversees the Kindergarten to 12th grade school system in Hawaii, which includes 294 schools and approximately 174,000 students in total, plus 22,000 staff, including 13,500 teachers.

In addition to fully reopening classrooms, the DOE must mobilize a massive amount of federal COVID-19 relief funds to support students who fell behind during the pandemic while preparing for a forecast funding gap of $ 124 million for the 2021-2023 fiscal year.

Hayashi beat a field of 14 candidates, including the outgoing president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, Corey Rosenlee, who was among Kishimoto’s fiercest critics. Five finalists got an interview, according to a note released Friday. The BOE was due to vote on the recommendation at its June 17 general meeting.

Who is Hayashi?

Hayashi has long been praised, including by Kishimoto just a few months ago, for his leadership of one of the state’s largest secondary schools, with approximately 2,800 enrolled.

Waipahu High’s career academy program that allows students to choose a specific pathway to help develop their skills in a certain industry is considered a leading model in the state while its Early College program, in which high school students can accumulate college credit before graduation, has won the honors of Governor David Ige and other heads of state.

A graduate of Kaimuki High and the University of Hawaii, Hayashi also served as the Pearl City-Waipahu Complex Area Superintendent and was named Hawaii High School Principal of the Year in 2014.

He currently earns between $ 138,790 and $ 196,470 per year as a high school principal; the advisory committee recommended that the acting superintendent earn $ 210,000 per year.

“I have no doubts that he is the right person to lead our schools during the difficult months ahead.” – Catherine Payne, President of the BOE

The acting superintendent will remain in office until a permanent replacement is in place, which is likely “until at least March 2022” according to BOE specifications, although “the exact period of service will depend heavily on other circumstances.”

The job description called for an interim leader capable of dealing with the learning loss and socio-emotional needs of the students; develop and communicate clear and timely plans to promote safe face-to-face learning; and who can “restore confidence in leadership through clear, timely and transparent advice and communication” to parents, students and staff.

The board also sought someone with in-depth knowledge of the Hawaii education system; who can develop strong relationships with people inside and outside the DOE and with stakeholders; and develop an “empathetic organizational culture”.

The Acting Superintendent has not been precluded from applying for the longer-term role, but this will be done as a separate search process involving an outside firm.

With the COVID-19 pandemic easing thanks to a rise in mass vaccination that now includes children as young as 12, the school system seems to be heading towards a sense of normalcy.

Kishimoto, from the Bronx who has yet to announce his future plans, said all DOE schools will be fully reopened by the new school year, and the union has not objected as at least 11,000 teachers have been fully vaccinated.

Kishimoto’s last year of leadership has been rocked by criticism from the union and other stakeholders as she has failed to clearly articulate a plan to reopen schools or deliver a quality distance learning program. to students at the height of the public health crisis.

Its public reception was so tenuous over the past year that state lawmakers got involved, pushing a bill through the previous session that would force the BOE to prioritize a local candidate who had spent at least a decade to the DOE to run the schools.

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Jennifer Schuman

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