The Hawaii Board of Education has voted to hire Christina Kishimoto, superintendent of the Gilbert (Ariz.) district, as its new top administrator.
Kishimoto, 48, will become superintendent of Hawaii schools and lead the Hawaii State Department of Education. Hawaii is the only statewide public school district in the United States.
"We felt that Dr. Kishimoto has the right combination of experience, knowledge, and focus to implement the strategic vision for educational change set forth in the Governor’s Blueprint for Education," Chairperson Lance Mizumoto said in a news release.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that Kishimoto will be paid $240,000 a year. She received a three-year contract and will begin her job on Aug. 1.
“We are excited to have someone with a track record of reducing achievement gaps and a commitment to school empowerment to lead our public school system,” says board member Patricia Bergin. ”
Kishimoto has been the superintendent in Gilbert, a district with about 39,000 students, since July 2014. Hawaii has about 180,000 students.
Before taking the job in Arizona, she served for three years as superintendent of Hartford (Conn.) Public Schools, a district of about 22,000 students in Connecticut.
The school board in Hartford gave her low marks on her job performance, citing poor communication and a perceived lack of urgency for improving student achievement. The board later unanimously rejected Kishimoto’s request for a contract extension. Kishimoto has defended her record in Hartford, saying she’s a bold leader who had to make tough decisions in a high-poverty district.
Kishimoto received a Masters in Public Affairs from the University of Connecticut and a doctorate from Columbia University.