Former BOE member withdraws as candidate for schools superintendent

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Amid concerns over the fairness of Hawaii's search for its next schools superintendent, a former Board of Education member who was thought to have an unfair advantage is opting not to apply for the job.

Darrel Galera was considered a front-runner for the position, and resigned from the BOE to seek the spot. But in a statement Monday, Galera said that he wanted the search to continue without the distraction caused by his plans to apply.

Last week, the BOE delayed the search process after the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation suspended a $50,500 grant for a nationwide search due to concerns about Galera's plans to apply.

Galera previously served as chair for a committee that had an early role in shaping the search process.

Before Galera announced his decision to withdraw, state Sen. Michelle Kidani, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Education, introduced a resolution urging the board to restrict anyone from applying for the job if they were a BOE member when the search process was developed.

"It's a situation that Mr. Galera created and only he could solve. It's unfortunate because if he wanted the superintendent position he should have just never taken the board appointment," said former BOE member Jim Williams.

In his statement, Galera also said, "My overarching goal is to transform our education system to provide our students with educational opportunities that are second to none. My sincere apology to our governor, the members of the Board of Education, and to everyone else affected by the timing of my actions."

Hawaii News Now reached out to Galera to find out if he planned to ask Governor David Ige to reappoint him to the board.

The president of the Castle Foundation said the funding to pay for the search will now be restored. The BOE already hired national search firm Ray & Associates. The board plans to post the superintendent position on March 14.

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