HONOLULU (KHON2) — After hours of back and forth — and at sometimes heated testimony — the Board of Education has voted for the new state superintendent. Their decision was current interim superintendent, Keith Hayashi.
It was an entire day of hearing from the three candidates, heated testimony from parents and the community and hours of deliberation among the BOE as they tried to reach a consensus and select the person for the job.
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After two non-official votes, the discussion focused on Dr. Caprice Young who is coming with years of experience in educational leadership in the Los Angeles Unified board of education and Hayashi with about 30 years of experience within the Department of Education and the current interim superintendent.
While members of the board made their case for their candidate some said Hayashi brings in the relationship between the legislature and educators. Meanwhile Young brings in that CEO-like experience some members of the board are looking for.
“I look forward to working together with the board in creating a very robust strategic plan that will help move our schools forward,” said Hayashi. “I look forward to working with each and every one of you. I pledge my commitment to open communication and dialogue and support of our students.”
Before Hayashi was selected things were very heated as testifiers berated and threatened the board during the meeting.
“Why are you guys making the decision when the majority is out here? How’s that make sense? There’s only four of you with kids — there’s maybe 10 over here with kids,” testified Phillip Nakoa as he pointed at the board then back at the audience.
“We should be the ones picking the superintendent and if you guys don’t want a hostile work environment, obviously we know who the root of the problem is — if you guys don’t know his name it’s Keith Hayashi,” said Nakoa.
“I’m here to say a strong no to Hayashi. He’s not a true leader. True leaders know there’s more than two or more sides to everything,” said a concerned parent. “They don’t sit down and cherry-pick the ones who’ll they’ll talk to and they won’t. I’m a teacher and I can’t even get a call back from Mr. Hayashi. There’s no “ha” in Hayashi. He wants our kid’s vaccinated, separated, unhappy and alienated.”
The board was forced to take recess twice. Sheriffs were on hand to help keep the peace and the board reconvened after about 15 minutes.
The public has been able to follow along in the selection process and in an effort to improve transparency.
Each candidate then had 90 minutes to share their presentation explaining how they would help the board develop a new strategic plan and to answer questions from each of the board members
“We need to detach the school planning process from the high-level system process. By doing this, this will allow schools to be innovative, to be creative and to not feel that they are focusing on compliance,” said Darrel Galera.
“When we’re looking at best practices it comes down to how are we engaging our students in what they are doing and what they are learning. creating opportunities and conditions for success, honoring our students and where they come from,” said Hayashi.
“lots of times strategic plans will say, well this is our goal so we’re measuring ourselves between that and the goal, with continuous improvement we’re not just going after the goal, but we’re also going after the increases and the improvement,” stated Young.
Galera and Hayashi are both local educators. Young was the only finalist from the mainland.
Now that the board has made its selection a contract still needs to be negotiated before the superintendent is officially hired.
Hayashi faces the daunting task of leading the state’s single-district system, which includes more than 290 schools and 170,000 students.
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He will also have to manage a budget of more than $2 billion dollars.