The state Board of Education is asking, What do you want to see in the superintendent of public schools?
Earlier this month the board began its search for a permanent superintendent by hiring consultant Lee Goeke to ask for comments from the public and educators on what characteristics the leader of one of the largest school districts in the country needs.
The comments will be compiled this summer and used to draw up a profile board members will use as they interview candidates, which they expect to begin to do in early September. The board wants a permanent superintendent in place by mid-October.
Goeke, owner of Human Resources Solutions for Public Education in Vancouver, Wash., has worked with the Department of Education in teaching recruitment and retention at Waianae High School and strategic planning at Maui schools.
The board could not say how much his work will cost since it is still finalizing his contract.
Garrett Toguchi, board chairman, said Goeke is "going to be used to gather feedback from the community on what (residents) would like to see" in a new superintendent.
The profile could include what priorities a superintendent should have or a candidate’s leadership experience.
Board member Carol Mon Lee, chairwoman of the superintendent search committee, said how the consultant will reach out to the public is still being worked out. It could be through online surveys, public hearings or meetings with specific stakeholders.
Meanwhile, the board says it does not intend to conduct a nationwide search, but will advertise the job in national education journals and magazines and will turn to educational foundations to find potential candidates.
Whoever steps into the position will take on a system struggling with budget cuts, preparing to meet new federal directives and still recovering from the bad press generated by teacher furloughs that resulted in Hawaii public schools having the shortest instructional calendar in the nation.
Kathryn Matayoshi has been serving as interim superintendent since January, after Pat Hamamoto’s resignation on New Year’s Eve.
Matayoshi has been called a strong candidate for the permanent position, but others have questioned whether she has put in enough time in the education system. Before stepping into the interim superintendent position, Matayoshi was a deputy superintendent for just a year. Before that she served at the Hawaii Business Roundtable, Community Links Hawaii and the Board of Water Supply.
The search for a permanent superintendent comes as Gov. Linda Lingle is threatening to veto a bill that would raise the position’s maximum salary.
The cap, now at $150,000, would be raised to $160,000 and would allow for annual performance bonuses of up to $90,000 a year (raising the potential salary to $250,000 a year). The salaries of complex-area superintendents would also be increased.
Lawmakers and board members argued the increase was needed to attract the best and because some principals now earn more than the superintendent. Lingle said the measure would allow for hefty pay increases without "statutorily specific performance obligations."