Local Connection: Matayoshi Leadership

Local Connection: Matayoshi Leadership

Hawaii's Superintendent of Schools has to manage thousands of employees protected by three powerful unions while satisfying a diverse Board of Education AND the Governor who appoints it.

Kathryn Matayoshi took the job at a time of terrible turmoil. There were the mandates of "no child left behind" and budget cutbacks from the recession.  Under her the schools better organized their curriculum, won national innovation grants and improved test scores – although they still lag behind most states.

She was apparently planning to reapply when her contract comes up next year.

But she won't have that chance.  With little explanation the new chairman of the B-O-E announced that the board was looking for new leadership.

The Governor said Matayoshi did a good job reorganizing the system but someone else should develop new policies that give more power to schools. He denied any role in the decision to replace her.

Her supporters suspected politics.  One asked how the board could know it didn't want to retain Matayoshi  – when it doesn't even know what direction it's going.

Bottom line – it looks like the Governor and his appointees DO have some kind of agenda, although so far they haven't shared that with anyone else.  So now the only certainty for schools is that change is coming, again. Ready or not.

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