BY ALEX DE SILVA – The Hawaii State Board of Education today named Kathryn Matayoshi as the new superintendent for the Hawaii State Department of Education.
At a Board special meeting, Ms. Matayoshi, who has been interim superintendent since January 11, 2010, was voted to serve a four-year term as superintendent at an annual salary of $150,000, contingent upon signing of a contract.
“Ms. Matayoshi’s impressive record of accomplishments since joining the Department is a testament to her strong leadership skills, commitment to education, and dedication to Hawaii’s public school students, employees and families,” said Board Chairman Garrett Toguchi. “Under Ms. Matayoshi, the Department overcame unprecedented budget challenges, kept student achievement rising, and won the highly competitive federal Race to the Top program, securing $75 million for our schools. I’m excited to have her on board and confident she will successfully implement rigorous reforms to prepare students for college and careers.”
“I am honored by the Board’s vote of confidence. It is with excitement and great pride that I look forward to working alongside our students, teachers, administrators, employees, board members, legislators, policy makers, and the community in reforming and improving Hawaii’s public schools,” Ms. Matayoshi said. “Over the next four years, I am committed to implementing the necessary changes to ensure our students receive a world-class education and graduate college- and career-ready. Across the nation the message is clear, states must invest in public education and make education their top priority. In Hawaii, the overwhelming support to boldly transform our public education system has rallied all of us to execute Hawaii’s blueprint for education reform. Mahalo for allowing me to put Hawaii’s plan into action and to lay the economic foundation for our state’s future.”
Ms. Matayoshi, a Hilo High School alumna, arrived at the Department as deputy superintendent in July 2009 to spearhead Hawaii’s Race to the Top application and focus on strategic planning. She became acting superintendent following the December 31, 2009, retirement of former Superintendent Patricia Hamamoto.
As superintendent, Ms. Matayoshi has responsibility over the nation’s tenth largest public school system and the only statewide district. Funded by a $1.7 billion budget, the Department has some 22,000 full-time employees, including 13,000 teachers serving approximately 171,000 students. It comprises 257 schools located in 15 complex areas on seven islands.
The Board’s selection of Matayoshi concludes an eight-month search that drew 24 applicants from Hawaii and across the mainland. To select the best candidate for Hawaii, the Board developed a superintendent profile based on public input collected through an online survey and six focus groups held on Kauai, Oahu, Maui and the Big Island. Results of the Superintendent Profile Survey, which was completed by 817 people, is available on the Board’s website, www.hawaiiboe.net, under the “Superintendent Search” tab.
“Ms. Matayoshi possesses many of the key characteristics the public is looking for in a superintendent,” said Board member Carol Mon Lee, who led the search process. “School administrators, teachers, parents and the community clearly want a superintendent who can be a change agent, streamline Department operations and increase student achievement by concentrating on educational quality. Ms. Matayoshi has proven she is the right person for the job, and all of us look forward to continue working together to help students achieve their goals.”
“The Board once again extends its appreciation to all who completed the survey, participated in focus groups and provided valuable comments that assisted in the Board’s selection of Ms. Matayoshi,” Lee added.
An attorney and former state director, Ms. Matayoshi has extensive experience in public policy and strategic planning. She came to the Department following a successful career in the private, government and nonprofit sectors.
From 2007 to 2009, Ms. Matayoshi served as executive director of the Hawaii Business Roundtable, where she partnered with the Department to increase rigor for graduation requirements. She also was president and chief executive officer of Community Links Hawaii from 2006 to 2007, a strategic planning consultant from 2005 to 2007, as well as chief of staff for the City and County of Honolulu Board of Water Supply between 2002 and 2005.
As director of the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs from 1995 to 2002, Ms. Matayoshi was credited with improving efficiencies and accountability. She also held positions at Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. (1988-1995), Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel (1983-1988), and served as a law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Samuel P. King (1982-1983).
Ms. Matayoshi holds a juris doctor degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and a bachelor’s degree from Carlton College.
Alex Da Silva is the Public Affairs Officer for the Hawaii Board of Education