New DOE superintendent: Let's make schools about kids again - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

New DOE superintendent: Let's make schools about kids again

(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The Department of Education officially introduced Christina Kishimoto as the next head of Hawaii's public schools Wednesday morning. 

Kishimoto outlined her priorities and visions for Hawaii school prior to starting her new position in early August.

Inclusive practices for English language learners and special education students to ensure a positive learning experience, Kishimoto said, is one of her top priorities. She wants schools to be designed around the concept of being student-centered. 

"All decisions are going to be focused on what's best for (students)," Kishimoto said.

Kishimoto believes Hawaii can become the number one state for education quality, despite a dismaying track record of low teacher recruitmentcontract issues within the teachers union; and overcrowded schools.

"Now the challenge for us is to put an implementation plan together," Kishimoto said. "The strategic plan is well written, and it certainly is focused on what members of the field, our teachers and our leaders, have indicated are priorities."

Last month, Kishimoto was selected out of a field of 92 applicants. 

Currently working as the school superintendent in Gilbert, Ariz., Kishimoto will take over Hawaii's education system, which is four times larger than the one she now oversees.

Despite never working or living in Hawaii, Kishimoto says the culture and diversity of the islands drew her to the position.

"There's a lot of conversation happening nationally about where student voice fits in, where community, culture and language fits into the design of a education system," Kishimoto said. "In Hawaii, we have this appreciation of what communities bring to a classroom ... and there is this understanding that not every community school is going to look the same." 

Kishimoto's three-year, $240,000 contract begins Aug. 1.

In the meantime, Keith Hayashi was named as interim superintendent to help oversee the transition.

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