Another assistant superintendent in the Hawaii Department of Education has left, marking the third departure from the core leadership team within a span of six months.

Donna Lum-Kagawa, who was assistant superintendent in the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design, retired at the end of 2019, a spokeswoman for the DOE confirmed.

Under Hawaii Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto, there are six assistant superintendents who oversee areas like curriculum, instruction, human resources, facilities and finance.

In July, Dann Carlson the assistant superintendent in charge of facilities and support services, and Amy Kunz, the DOE’s chief financial officer, stepped down from their leadership roles to take new positions outside the DOE.

Donna Lum Kagawa, left, retired at the end of 2019. Beside her is Cynthia Covell, assistant superintendent in the DOE’s Office of Talent Management.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Interim assistant superintendents were named to fill those positions — Brian Hallett as CFO and Christine Shaw for facilities.

Lum-Kagawa’s interim replacement is Alisa Bender, according to DOE spokeswoman Tara Taitano. Bender was most recently the principal of Hickam Elementary, a position she has held since the 2015-16 school year. Her replacement at the school is Calvin Shimomura.

The assistant superintendent for curriculum and instructional design is in charge of overseeing the DOE’s strategic plan, including its development and implementation.

Prior to her senior DOE leadership role, Lum-Kagawa was a complex area superintendent for the Farrington-Kaiser-Kalani district and has held various other teaching and administrator roles.

As assistant superintendent, she drew a salary in the range of $150,000 to $180,000, according to Civil Beat’s public employee salary database.

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