Committee to recommend Oahu principal for interim superintendent

  • HAYASHI

An Oahu principal has been recommended as interim superintendent of the state Department of Education.

The state Board of Education on Thursday will hear a report from its “Transition Committee” that unanimously recommends Waipahu High School Principal Keith Hayashi be appointed interim superintendent when Superintendent Christina Kishimoto leaves the post next month.

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The report will be presented during a special meeting that will be held virtually at 1:30 p.m. today.

If approved, Hayashi will receive an annual salary of $210,000, effective no later than Aug. 1 until a new superintendent, to be appointed by the board, starts.

The BOE will take action on the recommendation during its June 17 general meeting.

The committee’s recommendation comes more than two months after Kishimoto announced she would not seek to renew her contract.

In wake of that announcement, the BOE established a “transition committee” to evaluate issues relating to a search for a new superintendent, including a recommendation for an interim superintendent.

According to a memo from Board Chairwoman Catherine Payne, the committee, which she also chaired, sought candidates who could address learning loss and social-emotional needs of each students and develop plans to address these needs; develop, adjust and communicate clear and timely plans to promote as much safe in-person learning as possible while still offering distance learning options or hybrid models; and restore the trust and guidance in DOE leadership through “clear, timely, and transparent guidance and communication” to students, families, employees and the public.

Hayashi has led elementary, middle and high schools, served as a complex area superintendent as well as interim deputy superintendent and interim superintendent during the last transition.

“As interim superintendent, I will focus on reconnecting students, employees and the community to learning,” he wrote in a cover letter the Transition Committee. “The 6-8 months of the interim superintendent’s anticipated appointment period are critical to set the tone, relationships, and momentum for post-pandemic public education and our state’s future.”

Kishimoto was tapped to lead the state Department of Education nearly four years ago, initially signing a three-year contract that began Aug. 1, 2017, and was set to expire June 30, 2020.

The BOE, however, voted in December 2018 to extend her original contract by one year.

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Her last day with the department is July 30.

Email Stephanie Salmons at ssalmons@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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