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Soon to be gone are the days in which the Hawaii Board of Education would vote on every single bell schedule change in every single school.

This will be one of the things that distinguishes the new appointed board from previous elected boards, nominees told a Senate committee Friday.

“Somewhere along the way, the lines got blurred between role and function of the Board of Education, and the role and function of the superintendent and her team,” said nominee Keith Amemiya, executive administrator for the University of Hawaii Board of Regents. “I think that Chairman (Don) Horner and I agree our job is to do as much as we can to support the superintendent and not interfere with the day-to-day role of the department.”

“If this were a football team, I would say that we as the (Board of Education) should be more like the coaching staff, and the superintendent is the quarterback, carrying that ball down the field,” Amemiya said, drawing from his better-known public role as former director of Hawaii’s High School Athletic Association.

Now all nine of Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s have been approved by the Senate Education Committee. Approved Friday were Cheryl Kauhane Lupenui, Charlene Cuaresma, Nancy Budd and Amemiya. The full Senate will vote on their appointments Thursday.

On Friday, Amemiya’s testimony echoed sentiments expressed earlier by nominees Budd, Brian DeLima and Don Horner.

Horner, the new board’s chairman, spoke Wednesday about changing the culture in the school system. He said that would start at the top when he scraps old board bylaws and policies.

Nominee Lupenui, whose experience with the YWCA and the Aloha United Way involved leadership development, picked up the theme of culture change in her testimony Friday.

If the board plans to change the culture, it will have to start with establishing a vision, mission and priorities, she said. It will also involve living them on a daily basis and instilling them in administrators and leaders at every level.

“Leadership development is more than training,” she said. “It really takes effect and hold through the day to day experience of living it.”

In addition to establishing a new vision and policies, the nominees’ idea of culture change also includes a hands-off approach to the department’s operations. Horner said he envisions empowering Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi to use her expertise and direct knowledge of the department’s needs to implement the board’s policies.

“While the Board of Education is accountable for education in this state, the superintendent has to execute,” said Horner Wednesday. “I’ve spoken with each of the nominees, and we’re all in agreement that the superintendent is a very good one. The way I view it is we work for you, you don’t work for us. That’s very different than it has been in the past. It’s a culture change.”

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