By Shanelle Macaraeg
HONOLULU – The Hawai’i Board of Education at its general meeting Tuesday night finalized a job description and list of characteristics that will guide the hiring of a new superintendent.
The meeting, held at Prince David Kawananakoa Middle School, was the first major step in the process to fill the position. Developing the job description and characteristics came with the help of the public.
Earlier this year the board released a superintendent characteristic survey online and sought public commentary. The survey asked board members, advisory grocery up members, parents and members of the public to rank 27 characteristics to select the nine most desirable characteristics a superintendent should possess.
The board said it seeks to find a superintendent who can effectively implement change management in large, complex organizations and has the ability to foster a culture that generates genuine enthusiasm for positive and meaningful change. The board also seeks someone who understands or demonstrates the ability to become familiar with Hawaii’s people, culture, history, environment, geography and politics and who has knowledge of best practices in educational data and accountability systems, including how such systems can support student achievement and equity.
In other action, the board voted to support an HSTA proposal pending at the State Capitol to annually dedicate funding to the Department of Education. In written and in-person testimony to the board for Tuesday night’s meeting, public-school teachers and others from across the state stressed how underfunding schools negatively impacts the education of students and the livelihood of teachers.
“I call on you to prioritize settling Hawaii State Teachers Association’s contract and specifically ask that you support HSTA’s work with the Legislature to secure funding for schools our keiki deserve, staffed by teachers secure enough financially to focus their attention on the needs of their students, rather than the mere struggle to survive,” wrote David Negaard, an English teacher at H.P. Baldwin High School on Maui.
In a move that prompted discussion before, during and board Tuesday night’s meeting, Darrel Galera, a retired high-school principal, resigned from the BOE on Monday and said he plans to apply for the superintendent’s job.
“While we are encouraged that a candidate like Mr. Galera, with his wealth of experience, would be interested in applying for the superintendent position, we know that there are many qualified candidates out there, and we hope that they are encouraged to consider applying,” Patricia Bergin, a member of the committee conducting the search for a new superintendent, said to her BOE colleagues. “Mr. Galera will have to go through the same screening process as all other applicants, and every applicant will be considered on an equal playing field.”
The contract for the current superintendent, Kathryn Matayoshi, ends on June 30. The board is planning to interview the final candidates and select a new superintendent by May 11.
“The search committee is committed to continuing to move forward with an open and transparent process,” Bergin said. “Our keiki deserve no less.
“We encourage all interested individuals to apply and have directed the search firm to actively recruit for this position.”