Christina Kishimoto is stepping into her new role as the superintendent of the Hawaii Department of Education.
Her three-year contract takes effect Tuesday, with a starting salary of $240,000 – $40,000 more than outgoing superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.
Kishimoto served as the schools’ superintendent in Gilbert, Ariz.
Prior to her selection by the Hawaii Board of Education, however, Kishimoto was at the center of a nearly $1 million controversy with her Arizona district.
The reports claimed the district over counted enrollment figures. As a result, the state overpaid the district and wants to be paid back. According to a former Gilbert public school board member, overcounting begun before Kishimoto took over and continued the two years she was there.
Kishimoto defended her role, saying she re-unified a "dysfunctional board," distributed 50,000 portable computers to middle school and high school students and turned that school system into a high-performing district.
Now at a district four times larger than her previous one, Kishimoto looks to make an impact in Hawaii.
“One of the biggest priorities is someone that starts looking at the whole child, rather than just looking at tests,” Hawaii State Teachers Association President Corey Rosenlee said, prior to Kishimoto’s hiring.