New acting chief of public schools assumes role - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

New acting chief of public schools assumes role

Garrett Toguchi Garrett Toguchi
Kathryn Matayoshi Kathryn Matayoshi
Lei Ahu Isa Lei Ahu Isa

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email 

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The new acting chief of Hawaii's public schools says she wants the job full-time.  

Kathryn Matayoshi, who has held the number two position in the Department as deputy superintendent, officially assumed the role of acting superintendent following the sudden New Year's Eve retirement of Pat Hamamoto.

Out with the old and in with the new. But before moving ahead, Board chair Garrett Toguchi addressed the concerns of some who questioned why it took three days for him to alert the rest of the board about Hamamoto's resignation.

"No one was involved because we still some opportunity to keep our superintendent for a few more months and one of the things I felt, which I will take responsibility for, I felt that if I let everyone know the chances of her staying would be that much less," Toguchi said.

But after pondering retirement for a year, Hamamoto left this time for real, which brings us to Monday. It's the formal announcement of Matayoshi as the acting superintendent.

Although her background isn't in education, she feels her experiences attending public school will help her.

"My whole family's graduated from Hilo High, we're proud Vikings, so we are products of the public schools and proud ones and I think I'll bring that pride with me to the job, certainly," she said.

Some board members expressed confidence in Matayoshi. Right now, she's spear-heading the effort to get federal funding for state schools. That application is due next week.

"She has those administrative skills to either re-organize or to get the job done, getting more efficiency and productivity out of the Department of Education," Board member Lei Ahu Isa said.

Toguchi says Hamamoto left the Department well-armed.

"She put in place a team of qualified, competent and experienced professionals, from the Complex Area superintendents all the way up to the assistant superintendent," he said.

Matayoshi admits that she hasn't been in the "Furlough" loop, but the Board says they'll use former superintendent Hamamoto as a volunteer consultant since she has knowledge in that issue and other topics.

The Board also named Ronn Nozoe, as acting deputy superintendent. He's the Farrington and Kaiser Complex Area superintendent.

The Board plans to schedule a special meeting next week to name Matayoshi interim superintendent and to discuss the next steps for the position.

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