Search begins for Hawaii DOE interim superintendent

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Board of Education has begun its search for an interim superintendent to head the Hawaii Department of Education until it appoints a permanent superintendent.

This position will replace Dr. Christina Kishimoto, who steps down after her contract ends on July 30.

Kishimoto was appointed in 2017 but recently faced criticism over her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The interim position is expected to last from Aug. 1, 2021, through at least March 2022, depending on circumstances.

The position’s basic qualifications require a master’s degree in education or business with at least five years of experience in a leadership role in public or business administration.

High school teacher Jonathan Hinderer said the reality is that the position requires much more than what is on paper.

“We need a superintendent that can connect and I think that’s really, really, important especially in this time when students feel really disconnected from their schooling,” Hinderer said. “It would be really nice to see a superintendent who can really get down with our communities.”

Hinderer said, the pandemic also exasperated the challenges students faced when trying to connect to online classes. He says the new superintendent should understand the digital needs in the classroom.

“That’s one of the big things here in Hawaii, is the equity in technology,” Hinderer said. “The superintendent needs to understand that not every student has access to this and they need to make this a priority to ensure that they do.”

It came down to two finalists from the mainland back in 2017, with Dr. Kishimoto ultimately getting the job.

Vice chair of the House Committee on Education Rep. Jeanne Kapela said in a statement, there should be an attempt to hire from within Hawaii.

“I believe that the Board of Education should prioritize candidates from our home state in selecting a new superintendent,” Kapela said. “Ideally, the BOE should choose someone with a proven track record of classroom experience and a commitment to supporting the teachers who are tasked with crafting our keiki’s future.”

The Committee is seeking candidates who can address the following challenges:

  1. Assessing learning loss and social-emotional needs of each student and developing
    plans to address these needs, including targeting supports to students who would
    benefit the most from enhanced learning;
  2. Developing, adjusting, and communicating clear and timely plans to promote as much
    safe in-person learning as possible while still offering the flexibility of quality distance
    learning options or effective hybrid models; and
  3. Restoring trust and confidence in leadership through clear, timely, and transparent
    guidance and communication to students, families, staff, and the public.
    You must complete this form in its entirety and submit it by 11:59 p.m., April 30, 2021 for
    the Committee to consider your application.

Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on April 30. Click here to read the instructions.

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