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FHB chairman Don Horner named to Board of Education

By Mary Vorsino

LAST UPDATED: 4:17 p.m. HST, Feb 9, 2011

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has appointed Don Horner, board chairman and CEO of First Hawaiian Bank, to the Board of Education.

Horner will fill an Oahu at-large seat left vacant by Lei Ahu Isa last month. He will also be nominated to serve on the new, appointed Board of Education. Nominees will be subject to state Senate confirmation.

Voters overwhelmingly supported switching to an appointed BOE in November, but members can’t be chosen for the new board until legislation spelling out how candidates will be picked is made into law.

Such a bill is expected to make it to the governor’s desk before the end of the month.

Abercrombie said Horner’s appointment is a signal to the public of the kind of qualifications and criteria he’ll look for in other BOE candidates.

“If there’s anybody who’s the embodiment of public service, it’s Don Horner,” Abercrombie said, at a news conference.

Horner has served on a number of boards and committees, including the Legislature’s Reinventing Government Task Force, Iolani School’s board of trustees the advisory council for the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Shidler College of Business.

He told reporters this morning that he was looking forward to serving and working to improve Hawaii schools, as a product of public education himself.

He added, “I’m very, very confident that this governor is fully committed to making fundamental change to our public education system.”

Horner’s appointment is effective immediately. Ahu Isa, whose seat he fills, resigned from the board last month saying she wanted to give the governor a chance to make his first BOE appointment.

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