BOE selects Kishimoto as next schools chief

The State of Hawaii Board of Education announced Friday it has selected Christina Kishimoto, Ph.D. as the next superintendent.

HSTA President Corey Rosenlee said, “Now that the superintendent has been selected, we look forward to the opportunity to work with her to change our test and punish culture, improve the special education crisis, recruit and retain teachers and strengthen Hawaii’s career and technical education programs.”

“One of the most important things we are looking for is to create a strong relationship between the new superintendent and HSTA so we can work cooperatively to improve public education in Hawaii,” Rosenlee added. “Hawaii is a unique school system encompassing rural and urban as well as small and large schools. We hope the new superintendent will choose a strong local deputy to help her with our diverse culture and statewide school system.”

In a news release, the BOE said, “The Board’s decision was not easy because the two finalists were highly qualified. In the end, however, we felt that Dr. Kishimoto has the right combination of experience, knowledge, and focus to implement the strategic vision for educational change set forth in the Governor’s Blueprint for Education and the BOE and HIDOE’s newly revised joint strategic plan. She also possesses the knowledge, focus, and characteristics the Board was looking for which includes a track record of reducing achievement gaps, a commitment to school empowerment, and focus on celebrating and sustaining diverse language and culture.”

In its news release, the BOE called Kishimoto “a student-centered, data-driven educational leader who believes in student and parent voice, and site-based empowerment for principals and teachers. In addition to her leadership of PreK-12 education systems, she has experience in higher education and business.”

Gov. David Ige released a statement that said, “I welcome Dr. Christina Kishimoto to this important post. While Dr. Kishimoto will lead the effort to remodel our school system, she will need the support of the entire community. Her success will be our success. Together, we can ensure that those closest to our students are empowered to make decisions that provide the basics and add the new skills our children need to prosper in the future.”

“I commend the Board of Education for its hard work in making this selection. Board members conducted an unbiased search and considered many well-qualified candidates. The success of our students was at the heart of their decision,” Ige said. “Mahalo to Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi who led a reform effort that created a solid foundation upon which we will continue to build and improve.”

Kishimoto will start her three-year term on August 1. She will begin transitioning out of her role as superintendent of the Gilbert Public Schools district in Arizona. Sometime next month, the BOE will hold a news conference to formally introduce Kishimoto as the new HIDOE superintendent.

HIDOE outgoing Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi will end her term on June 30. The BOE will name an interim superintendent to serve during the month of July.