BY ALEX DE SILVA – HONOLULU – Hawaii State Board of Education member Lei Ahu Isa announced today she is resigning from the Board, effective immediately.
An Oahu at-large member elected in 2004, Dr. Ahu Isa has held several leadership positions, including first vice chairperson. She was currently the chairperson of the Committee on Curriculum, Instruction & Student Support, which is responsible for early childhood to adult education, including special education, Hawaiian education, counseling, assessment and accountability.
During her tenure, Dr. Ahu Isa worked on key education initiatives, including the implementation of a Weighted Student Formula that now provides equitable funding for students statewide, and the adoption of internationally-benchmarked common core standards that was instrumental in securing $75 million in federal Race to the Top grants for Hawaii.
“Her broad legislative, business, and academic experience and knowledge have proven invaluable in Board decisions,” Board Chairman Garrett Toguchi said. “Personally, I appreciated her support and insightful advice over the years. Her care for students has always been at the forefront of her decisions.”
Dr. Ahu Isa, an assistant professor at Hawaii Pacific University and former state representative, decided to resign to allow Governor Neil Abercrombie to fill her vacancy by making his first Board appointment.
Last year, voters approved a constitutional amendment that ended Board elections and gave the governor the authority to appoint members. The state Legislature is crafting a new law specifying the appointment process.
“The road has not been easy, nor has the burden been light, but the policies that we put in place will hopefully help the future appointed Board as they try to implement these initiatives,” Dr. Ahu Isa said. “It took years for us to move the Department forward to help our students meet the challenges of the 21st century.”
Alex Da Silva is the Public Affairs Officer for the Hawaii Board of Education