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DOE Superintendent Kishimoto Not Seeking Contract Renewal

Office of Governor David Ige

State superintendent Christina Kishimoto is not seeking to renew her contract to lead the Department of Education for another three years. Kishimoto notified the Board of Education and Governor David Ige of her decision on Tuesday.

She says her contract has become a distraction for the DOE's goal of safely resuming in-person learning.

"I am not interested in this playing out either in the media nor by sound bites," Kishimoto said Tuesday afternoon.

Kishimoto has been criticized by the teachers union and others in recent months for her handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, the Hawaii State Teachers Association urged the Board of Education's human resources committee to not renew her contract. The union cited her inability to communicate clearly or adequately to department employees.

"We have too important work to do," she said. "I hold a tremendous kuleana for being accountable to our kids and families. And to have my contract discussed and commented on, in some very disrespectful ways, only reflects -- ends up reflecting -- on the district, on the good work we've done on the kids, on our families. I'm not interested in that."

Kishimoto says she will continue efforts to get students safely back into the classroom, and initiatives to improve the state's public education system for the remainder of her term.

Kishimoto's last day as DOE superintendent will be on July 30.

Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
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