Split BOE selects Hayashi as next superintendent
An applicant from California won the most board votes in an initial straw poll
News Release from HSTA, May 19, 2022
Asplit Hawaii Board of Education Thursday selected Interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi as the next superintendent of schools after a marathon, nearly 12-hour-long meeting during which each of the three finalist candidates made presentations and took questions from board members.
In a surprise, a charter school executive from California, Caprice Young, came out as the leader in an initial straw vote of the board, followed by Hayashi in second and Darrel Galera, a longtime Hawaii public school teacher, principal, and administrator, in third.
Each of the three finalists was allotted 15 minutes to present their vision for Hawaii’s public schools followed by a little more than an hour each of questions from the board members. Each BOE member asked them the same question focusing on key competencies such as communication, leadership, serving diverse students, etc.
After hearing from all three candidates, reading written testimony, and listening to oral testimony Thursday afternoon, the board took a non-binding straw poll to rank their first, second, and third choices. The poll of nine board members found four first-place votes for Young, three first-place votes for Hayashi, and two for Galera. The second-place votes had five for Galera, two each for Hayashi and Young. The third-place votes were four for Hayashi, three for Young, and two for Galera.
All nine voting BOE members and the two nonvoting members next spoke about their impressions of the candidates and then they conducted a second straw poll in which five people voted for Hayashi as their first choice, four for Young, and no first-place votes for Galera. In second place, Galera earned five votes, Young got two second-place votes and Hayashi got just one.
In a third straw vote in which Galera was eliminated after garnering no first-place votes previously, five members voted for Hayashi and four backed Young. The board then took a formal vote about 8:30 p.m. Thursday, nearly 12 hours after the start of the meeting, which came out eight-to-one in favor of Hayashi, with three of Young’s supporters backing Hayashi “in solidarity.”
After the final vote, Hayashi told the board, “I look forward to working together with the board in creating a very robust strategic plan that will help move our schools forward. I look forward to working with each and every one of you. I pledge my commitment to open communication and dialogue in support of our students.”
“This means a great deal. I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead our public schools in Hawaii,” Hayashi added.
Following the board vote Thursday, Hawaii State Teachers Association President Osa Tui, Jr. said, “The HSTA looks forward to working with Keith Hayashi as we continue to emerge from the pandemic to improve our public school system together.”
Hayashi says top priority is keeping schools safe, open
Much earlier in the day, Hayashi began his presentation at about 10:35 a.m. Thursday before the BOE by reading from a written script and saying, “My focus and highest priority remains on keeping schools safe and open for learning. We needed to perform triage and stabilize our system to allow for a successful recovery. Now as we begin to emerge from the pandemic, we are pivoting to a strategic focus on student learning and preparing students for their exciting future.”
“To set the course for a thriving future, we need a strategic plan embraced by all stakeholders, one that provides a roadmap for where we want to be in public education in Hawaii and how we are going to get there together,” said Hayashi, who has been interim superintendent since Aug. 1 and before that was principal at Waipahu High.
“If I have the privilege of serving as superintendent, I commit to working with you to set a clear vision, develop a powerful strategic plan, one that is also purposeful, and implement the adopted plan at all levels within our system,” he added.
First, he said, “We must set a clear vision for public education to unify and inspire from the classroom to the Capitol. It starts with a shared vision between the department and you, the board. We must come to the table, have an honest conversation about where we are and where we see our schools in three years.”
Hayashi’s second step involves what he described as “the collaborative development of the strategic plan.”
“I propose starting the (strategic plan) process for community engagement by the summer, vetting our shared vision and collecting input from all stakeholders. What needs to change to achieve this vision? What are the challenges and the barriers and how will we overcome them?” Hayashi said.
He proposed developing three-year implementation plans at all levels in the department: Schools, complex areas, and state offices.
“While schools in complex areas are accustomed to creating implementation plans or strategic plans, this will be a new accountability system for state offices. A tri-level system is at its strongest when there is interdependent alignment. That alignment must be focused on supporting students. The implementation plan at the state office level will deal with how we support student success, including working with our sister state agencies,” Hayashi said.
“I am firmly committed to working together with all of you to move from responding to the pandemic, with the initial goal of keeping schools open, to accelerating purposeful learning to achieve our shared vision together,” Hayashi added.
Galera: ‘teacher well being needs to be a number one priority’
During his presentation that began at 9 a.m. Thursday, Galera spoke extemporaneously and started by saying “focusing on teacher engagement, teacher well being needs to be a number one priority in what we do.”
Research shows that only about 30% of our teachers are engaged following the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Galera, a longtime principal at Moanalua High and administrator in the HIDOE.
“That means that 70% are disengaged or actively disengaged. We define teacher engagement as being that emotional commitment that the teacher has to the goals of the school and the discretionary effort that he or she has to go above and beyond. What we may be dealing with is a new pandemic in disengagement and with the problems that we’ve been facing for the longest time in a way with the teacher shortage, a problem with teacher disengagement will just compound the challenges we have of trying to have school reform and achieve the excellence that we’re looking for,” Galera told the board.
“The good news is this: If we can focus on this as a system and we can create an engaged teacher workforce, it can be a 61% decrease in teachers leaving the profession,” Galera added.
Galera also said he supported:
Empowering approaches vs. top-down compliance to engage, communicate and effectively collaborate to solve problems together
Equity, excellence, and innovation
Creating a new state strategic plan, including a deep study of accreditation reports at all schools
Transforming the HIDOE from a K-12 system to a pre-K to 12 system
“The next superintendent needs to be the champion of universal early learning,” Galera said.
Galera said the school system “can create the greatest plan,” but needs to focus on implementation
“I’m not the smartest one in the room. It’s collectively what we can do together,” Galera added, repeatedly emphasizing collaboration with teachers and staff to improve schools.
The board also heard a presentation from and asked questions of Caprice Young, who has served as the superintendent and CEO of several charter school systems in the continental United States, their sizes ranging from 4,000 to 49,000 students. She now lives in the Los Angeles area, but her family lived in Hawaii and her mother taught special education at Kalihi Elementary. Since January 2019, Young has been the national superintendent of Lifelong Learning and Learn4Life Schools, a group of 20 nonprofit groups serving students in 85 schools.
Read more about the three finalists.
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Hawaii BOE selects Keith Hayashi as superintendent
The Hawaii State Board of Education voted to hire Keith Hayashi to lead Hawai‘i's public schools as superintendent.
News Release from Hawaii DoE, 19-May-2022
The Hawaii State Board of Education on Thursday voted 8-1 to hire Keith Hayashi to lead Hawaii's public schools as superintendent for a term to begin July 1, 2022.
Hayashi, who was tapped from his position as principal of Waipahu High School to serve as interim superintendent on Aug, 1, 2021, was one of three finalists for the permanent position. The others were Darrel Galera, former long-time principal of Moanalua High School, and Caprice Young, former president of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education.
"This means a great deal. I'm honored to have the opportunity to lead our public schools in Hawaii. I know that all of us, working together, will make a difference in the lives of each and every one of our students," Hayashi told Board members following the vote.
Hayashi served as principal of Waipahu High since 2009 and previously served as interim deputy state superintendent from March–June 2017 and as interim state superintendent in July 2017.
As a principal Hayashi was most recognized for transforming Waipahu High into the state’s leading college and career high school as the first wall-to-wall national model academy high school. Under Hayashi’s leadership, the school also implemented the state’s first Early College program, resulting to date in over 3,000 Waipahu High students earning college credits and nearly 50 students earning associate's degrees while still in high school.
Former HIDOE Superintendent Christina Kishimoto decided not to seek a contract renewal after her four-year term ended in July 2021, prompting the Board to initiate a search for a new schools superintendent. The Board received a total of 35 applicants and narrowed the list to three finalists with the help of a national consultant and an advisory group made up of more than a dozen stakeholder groups including parents, teachers, school administrators, Hawaiian education, special education, charter schools, higher education and business.
The Board for the first time conducted its interviews and deliberations on the three finalists in public session during a May 19 special Board meeting that spanned 12 hours.
Finalists were tasked with giving a 15-minute presentation outlining how they would assist the Board with developing a strategic plan and designing an implementation plan to improve student achievement and equity. In his presentation, Hayashi shared that he is "firmly committed to working together to move from responding to the pandemic, with the initial goal of keeping schools open, to accelerating purposeful learning to achieve our shared vision."
Following the performance task, finalists fielded questions from Board members related to 11 core competencies in the Board-adopted job description for the superintendent position.
Board members cited Hayashi's student-centered approach to decision making, ability to foster trust and build relationships with internal and external groups, and track record of driving innovation to benefit students. Hayashi received overwhelming support from HIDOE leaders across the tri-level system in testimony from principals, complex area superintendents and assistant superintendents.
He was also credited as the only one of the finalists to lead during the pandemic, as principal of Hawaii's second-largest high school and as interim superintendent. Hayashi led the reopening and transition from distance learning to full in-person learning for the 2021-22 school year. He has faced both criticism and praise for enforcing health and safety protocols in schools, including a universal indoor masking requirement that helps keep students in school.
The Board will finalize an employment contract for Hayashi pending a clean background check.
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