HONOLULU — Hawaii education leaders have picked an Arizona education official to serve as the next superintendent.
The Board of Education announced Friday that Christina Kishimoto was hired as the new Hawaii’s public schools superintendent. She is currently the superintendent of Gilbert Public Schools in Arizona and has been in that role since 2014. She oversees 40 schools and about 38,000 students.
Kishimoto was selected out of 92 applicants and was one of two finalists.
“Because both finalists were so highly qualified, it was a difficult decision for the Board,” said board Chairman Lance Mizumoto, in a news release. “In the end, however, we felt that Dr. Kishimoto has the right combination of experience, knowledge, and focus to implement the strategic vision for educational change set forth in the governor’s Blueprint for Education and the BOE and HIDOE’s newly revised joint strategic plan.”
She signed a three-year contract and will begin her new role in August. Her starting salary will be $240,000 — $40,000 more than the salary of outgoing Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.
Prior to Gilbert, Kishimoto was the superintendent for Hartford Public Schools in Connecticut. She left that job with low job performance marks for poor communication and a perceived lack of urgency for improving student achievement, according to reports.
Kishimoto has said in response to her record in Connecticut that she was a bold leader who had to make difficult decisions in a high-poverty school district.
Matayoshi’s term ends June 30.
The board will name an interim superintendent for July.