Hawaii Board of Education considered a plan Tuesday for how it might proceed to replace state Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.

A committee of four BOE members created the plan after the board announced in October that Matayoshi would be done when her contract expires June 30. The full board is expected to vote on the search plan Dec. 20.

The plan includes creating a search committee made up of BOE members and an advisory group including parents, students and representatives of Hawaiian education and charter schools, among others.

Kathryn Matayoshi. Board of Education. 21 july 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat
Kathryn Matayoshi was appointed superintendent in 2010. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Some people complained the plan doesn’t include sufficient opportunity for public and stakeholder input.

In written testimony, ‘Aha Kauleo, a consortium of public Hawaiian language schools, requested the search committee not be limited to BOE members.

In testimony at Tuesday’s meeting, John Sosa, executive director of the Education Institute of Hawaii, called for a more transparent selection process.

“It’s been well over a decade since we’ve had an open process for searching for a superintendent,” he said.

Sosa requested that information about the current superintendent’s responsibilities be made available to groups interested in the process.

The proposed plan also calls for the BOE to contract a search firm to help create a job description, outline desired superintendent characteristics and identify candidates.

A BOE committee has approached Kamehameha Schools, The Learning Coalition, and the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation as potential sources of funding for the search firm.

The proposed timeline calls for the position to be posted “internally and externally” from February to April, with a superintendent selected by June.

Individuals and organizations, including Native Hawaiian Education Council and the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, submitted written testimony requesting that the Board extend Matayoshi’s contract until June 2018.

The two councils argued that Department of Education leadership should remain consistent through the implementation of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, which will replace No Child Left Behind beginning with the 2017-2018 school year.

Also in written testimony, Dawn Kau’i Sang, director of the Office of Hawaiian Education, urged the board to reconsider its decision to replace Matayoshi. Sang asked that her contract be extended, but did not specify how long.

Matayoshi was appointed superintendent in 2010 and received a three-year contract in 2011. Despite criticism of the department’s leadership by teachers and principals, the board renewed Matayoshi’s contract in 2014.

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