Chief of schools finalists announced

HILO — Two candidates from the mainland are in the running to serve as Hawaii’s next chief of schools, the state Board of Education said Wednesday.

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HILO — Two candidates from the mainland are in the running to serve as Hawaii’s next chief of schools, the state Board of Education said Wednesday.

The finalists are Linda Chen, founder and managing director of Baltimore-based Ikigai Educational Consulting, and Christina Kishimoto, superintendent and chief executive officer for Gilbert Public Schools in Arizona.

Whoever is chosen will replace current state Department of Education Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.

Earlier this school year, the BOE announced it would not be renewing Matayoshi’s contract, which ends June 30. Board members were vague on exactly why, but said at the time that Hawaii’s public education system was in a period of “transition.” Matayoshi is a Hilo native who has held the role since 2010.

According to information provided at Wednesday’s BOE board meeting, Chen has held several previous educational leadership positions including as Chief Academic Officer for Baltimore City Public Schools. She also holds three degrees from the Columbia University Teachers College.

Kishimoto was previously a superintendent in Hartford Public Schools in Connecticut. She also holds a doctorate in Education Administration from the Columbia University Teachers College and a Master’s degree in Public Administration in Public Affairs and Policy from the University of Connecticut.

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BOE Vice Chairman Brian De Lima said Wednesday a selection will likely be made next month. The new appointee would start July 1.

“On paper, the candidates have excellent credentials and background,” De Lima told the Tribune-Herald Wednesday. ” … It’s a matter of making sure the stakeholders have an opportunity to vet and hear these candidates for themselves and provide input before we make a final determination. But in terms of interviews, (both) are very impressive. These are the types of candidates we want to provide leadership.”

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