Board selects Hawaii public schools chief

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An Arizona school district superintendent was tapped to serve as Hawaii’s next chief of public schools.


An Arizona school district superintendent was tapped to serve as Hawaii’s next chief of public schools.

Christina Kishimoto, superintendent and chief executive officer for Gilbert Public Schools, will start her new position as Hawaii Department of Education superintendent Aug. 1 on a three-year contract.

Gilbert Public Schools is a 39,000-student district in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

Kishimoto will replace Kathryn Matayoshi, a Hilo native who has served as superintendent since 2010. Earlier this year, the state Board of Education opted not to renew Matayoshi’s contract and instead conducted a national search to find a new superintendent.

There were 92 applicants for the job. Board members interviewed Kishimoto and another finalist May 11 during a meeting in executive session. Kishimoto’s selection was announced in a news release Friday.

“I look forward to implementing a vision of excellence for all students,” Kishimoto said in the release. “I look forward to working hand in hand with Hawaii’s teachers, leaders, staff, parents, community members and student leaders to execute on this vision of high quality college, career and community readiness.”

Kishimoto has served in her current role since 2014. Prior to that, she was superintendent of a school district in Connecticut. She has a master’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a doctorate from Columbia University in New York.


Matayoshi’s contract ends June 30. The BOE will name an interim superintendent to serve for the month of July.

Email Kirsten Johnson at

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