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Waipahu High Principal Appointed Interim Superintendent for State's Public Schools

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Hawaii State Department of Education
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The Hawaiʻi State Board of Education unanimously approved the appointment of Keith Hayashi as interim superintendent of the Hawaii State Department of Education. (June 17, 2021)

Waipahu High School principal Keith Hayashi will serve as the interim superintendent for the state’s education system come August.

Hayashi will step into a role that will be in charge of addressing learning loss caused by the pandemic. He will also oversee the planning and execution of in-person learning for the upcoming school year.

He didn’t share any specific ideas or plans for Hawai‘i’s public schools but he said he is committed to ensuring the needs of students are met.

"I do believe that communication is important and building really positive relationships and trust is very important," Hayashi said, adding he would "work collaboratively with the various stakeholders to ensure that we’re providing the best education possible for our students."

The Board of Education unanimously approved Hayashi to the position during its June 17 meeting. Hayashi will start his new position after current superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s contract ends on July 30.

Hayashi, principal of Waipahu High since 2009, previously served as interim deputy state superintendent from March to June 2017 and as interim state superintendent in July 2017, the state Department of Education said.

The projected length of this interim position is from Aug. 1 through at least March 2022, the BOE said, "although the exact service period will heavily depend on other circumstances."

Hayashi said he is interested in applying for the permanent superintendent position.

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Office of Governor David Ige
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Kishimoto notified the Board of Education and Gov. David Ige of her decision not to renew her contract in April, saying her contract had become a distraction for the DOE's goal of safely resuming in-person learning. She had been criticized by the teachers union and others for her management during the coronavirus pandemic.

The superintendent oversees the statewide public school system of 256 schools in 15 complex areas with over 175,000 students and about 22,000 permanent employees. The position is also responsible for an annual operating budget in excess of $1.9 billion.

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