HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Hawaii State Teacher’s Association (HSTA) is urging the Board of Education (BOE) not to renew Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s contract when it expires this summer.

According to a union spokesperson, this is the first time the HSTA has publicly spoken out against renewing a superintendent’s contract.

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The announcement comes as discussions regarding the possible reopening of in-person learning continue.

HSTA President Corey Rosenlee said they were optimistic when Kishimoto was appointed in 2017.

They no longer feel she’s the right person for the job.

“HSTA is asking, members of the BOE’s Human Resources Committee to vote against renewing Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s contract,” Rosenlee said.

One of their biggest complaints is communication.

“She has repeatedly, time after time, failed to provide adequate and clear communication to DOE employees,” Rosenlee explained.

A survey by the Learning Coalition conducted in February showed more than 58 percent of principals said the DOE didn’t adequately communicate information in a timely manner.

Rosenlee said the BOE also rolled-back a number of Kishimoto’s decisions, including her initial refusal to enforce the use of face masks and social distancing in schools, and her unwillingness to work with the union.

“It’s just been this consistent theme of not showing the teachers across the state that she cares for them,” Rosenlee said.

Corina Brillon’s son is a student in the public school system. She said it’s been a frustrating year and agrees it might be time for a change.

“I think it’s time to get someone new,” Brillon said. “Especially right now, the kids need to go back to face to face with their teachers. If she can’t do that, then we need somebody else.”

Rosenlee said they are looking for a leader who understands Hawaii’s extraordinary circumstances.

“It’s so important for someone that is actually from Hawaii that understands our educational system,” Rosenlee explained. “It’s very uniqueness. We are the only state-wide school system in the entire country.”

My focus right now is on safely reopening our schools.

Christina Kishimoto
Superintendent of the Hawai’i Department of Education

According to Rosenlee, the vote by the Human Resources committee Thursday, March 4 will be a good indicator of how the BOE will vote in its next meeting.