​Superintendent Search

Board of Education selects next Superintendent


The State of Hawaii Board of Education (BOE) is pleased to announce it has selected Christina Kishimoto, Ph.D. as the incoming Superintendent to lead the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE).  After a rigorous search process that spanned several months and 92 applicants, the BOE interviewed two final candidates on May 11, 2017 before making its decision.


“Because both finalists were so highly qualified, it was a difficult decision for the Board,” said BOE Chairperson Lance Mizumoto who led the committee that conducted the search. “In the end, however, we felt that Dr. Kishimoto has the right combination of experience, knowledge, and focus to implement the strategic vision for educational change set forth in the Governor’s Blueprint for Education and the BOE and HIDOE’s newly revised joint strategic plan.  We invite the state to join us in welcoming Dr. Kishimoto with respect, generosity, and warmth.”


Kishimoto signed a three-year contract and will start on August 1, 2017.  She will begin her transition out of her current role as Superintendent of the Gilbert Public Schools (GPS) district in Arizona. 


“It is with great excitement and honor that I accept this critical education leadership position for the State of Hawaii and the Hawaii Department of Education,” said Kishimoto.  “In partnership with Chairperson Mizumoto, the Board, and Governor David Ige, I look forward to implementing a vision of excellence for all students.  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.” 

“We are excited to have someone with a track record of reducing achievement gaps and a commitment to school empowerment to lead our public school system,” stated BOE member and former HIDOE teacher and administrator Patricia Bergin.  “I am confident that Dr. Kishimoto will bring fresh ideas to our system, and her strong family ties to Hawaii and her excitement to embrace the foundational pieces of our system, such as Nā Hopena A‘o, demonstrates that she understands and respects Hawaii’s uniqueness.”


University of Hawaii at Manoa’s College of Education professor and a member of the advisory group to the search committee Patricia Halagao stated, “I was impressed with Dr. Kishimoto’s focus on school design models that celebrate and sustain our diversity of language and culture. As a former public school teacher and someone who now trains teachers, I also appreciate how Dr. Kishimoto elevates teachers as educational experts and aims to create a system conducive for us to thrive and do what we do best—teach.”


Kishimoto has been the GPS Superintendent since July 2014.  She is recognized nationally as a visionary leader in education for her reform work in school turnaround and portfolio school development. Kishimoto earned a Masters in Public Affairs from the University of Connecticut and a doctorate from Columbia University.  In June 2014, she completed two years of board service on the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, an organization focused on student centered practices and policies.  


During the selection process, the BOE conducted a thorough background check, which included civil, criminal, financial, and educational verifications. Chairperson Mizumoto added, “In addition, district officials, former Superintendents, and other individuals in the Gilbert district were contacted. Various negative statements made about Dr. Kishimoto were either inconsequential or simply invalid.”


Next month, the BOE will hold a news conference to formally introduce Kishimoto as the new HIDOE superintendent.


Outgoing HIDOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi ends her term on June 30, 2017. The BOE plans to name an interim Superintendent to serve during the transition month of July.


The BOE formulates statewide educational policy and appoints the Superintendent as the chief executive officer of the public school system.  For more information about the Superintendent search and process, please visit the BOE’s website at http://boe.hawaii.gov(May 19, 2017)

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On May 11, 2017, the Board held a meeting to consider the final candidates.  The Board accepted public testimony and the final candidates each provided a brief statement.  The Board will announce the name of the finalist once a signed contract is in place.  (May 15, 2017)


On May 11, 2017, the Board will hold a meeting to consider the final candidates.  The meeting will start at 9:30 a.m.  There will be a public portion of the meeting where the Board will accept oral testimony.  Written testimony will also be accepted.  For more information about submitting testimony, visit the "Submit Testimony" page.  Please submit testimony at least 24 hours prior to the meeting.  The final candidates will make public statements.  The Board will interview candidates and deliberate in a closed session.  The agenda will be posted and available on the Board's website on May 5, 2017.  (May 5, 2017)


A press conference was held to allow the final candidates to provide statements about why they want to be Superintendent of the Hawaii State Department of Education.  Their statements were followed by a question and answer session.  Video of the statements from each candidate and the question and answer session with the press that followed are posted on the Final Candidates page.  (May 5, 2017)


At its May 2, 2017 meeting, the Board took action on the Search Committee's April 26, 2017 recommendations regarding the final candidates, Dr. Linda Chen and Dr. Christina Kishimoto.  The resume of each candidate is available on the Final Candidates page.  (May 5, 2017)


The position for Superintendent has been posted and is available here:  http://rayassoc.com/job-details.php?ID=371.  The deadline for the submittal of all application material is April 6, 2017.  (March 14, 2017)


The Search Committee issued a press release regarding former Board Member Darrel Galera's public statement withdrawing his intent to apply for the Superintendent position.  The press release can be viewed here.  The position will be posted on this website tomorrow.  (March 13, 2017)

Delay of Search Process

The Search Committee is delaying the search process while evaluating the current situation and working to resolve issues surrounding Harold K.L. Castle Foundation's financial support of the Superintendent search process.  As part of this, the position will not be posted today as originally anticipated under the search timeline.  We appreciate the support of the foundation and are hopeful that the issues can be resolved and the foundation can continue its support of a fair and transparent search for the Superintendent. (March 10, 2017)

Superintendent Job Description

At its March 7, 2017 meeting, the Board approved a job description for the Superintendent position.  The job description is available here.  The Board also approved a set of characteristics that it will look for in a Superintendent.  This set of characteristics was developed based on data received via a public survey that was conducted in February and is available here.  (March 9, 2017)

Superintendent Search Process Remains Open and Transparent

The Board's Search Committee issued a statement in regards to Darrel Galera's resignation and the Superintendent search process.  The press release and statement can be viewed here.  (March 7, 2017)

Superintendent Characteristics Survey Closed

The survey closed on February 27, 2017 at 8:00 a.m.  Thank you to everyone that participated in the survey.  The results will be discussed at the Board's March 7, 2017 General Business Meeting  (February 27, 2017)

Superintendent Characteristics Survey

The Board wants to know what you think are the most important characteristics for a Superintendent.  Access the survey here.  The survey will be open until February 27, 2017, 8:00 a.m.  (February 6, 2017)

Advisory Group Established

The search process allows for the Search Committee to identify individuals to serve on an Advisory Group to assist the Search Committee with the identification of final candidates.  The Search Committee has identified the individuals and groups that they represent and will update the Board at its January 10, 2017 general business meeting.  (January 7, 2017)

​Search Process Adopted and Search Committee Formed

On December 20, 2016, the Board adopted the search process recommended by its Search Process Committee.  The search process is described in this memorandum.  The Board also established a Search Committee to conduct the search process.  The members of the Search Committee are Board Chairperson Lance Mizumoto and Board Members Patricia Bergin and Kenneth Uemura.  (December 21, 2016)

Search Timeline

March 7, 2017 Board adopts Superintendent Characteristics and Job Description.
March 10, 2017Position posted.
April 6, 2017Deadline for all application materials.
Mid-April, 2017Search Committee interviews no more than 10 candidates and Advisory Group and Students participate in interviews virtually (1st round).
April 26, 2017Search Committee presents Final Candidates in report to the Board at Board Meeting.
Late April – Early May, 2017Final Candidates meet with stakeholders.
May 11, 2017

Board interviews Final Candidates (2nd round) and selects Finalist.**

**Name of Finalist will not be announced until the Finalist is under contract.

Superintendent Search 2017