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Search for Hawaii public schools leader down to 2 finalists

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    The Board of Education today announced Linda Chen and Christina Kishimoto as the top candidates to replace schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.

Two mainland schools chiefs are in the running to become the next superintendent of Hawaii’s public school system.

The Board of Education announced Linda Chen and Christina Kishimoto as the top candidates for the position at a meeting this morning. Neither candidate was in attendance.

Chen served as the chief academic officer for Baltimore City Public Schools in Maryland, and as deputy chief academic officer for Boston Public Schools. She is also a former assistant superintendent of schools for the Philadelphia school district.

Chen holds a doctorate in education from the Urban Education Leadership Program, a master’s degree in educational leadership, and a master’s degree in curriculum and teaching, all from Columbia University’s Teachers College.

Kishimoto, meanwhile, is superintendent of Gilbert Public Schools in Arizona, and previously served as superintendent of Hartford Public Schools in Connecticut. She also holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Columbia University’s Teachers College as well as a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Connecticut.

The BOE’s search committee — made up of board Chairman Lance Mizumoto and board members Patricia Bergin and Kenneth Uemura — is recommending the two finalists to the full board, but no action will be taken today. The board is expected to interview the finalists at a meeting scheduled for May 11 and make a decision.

The finalists were selected from an initial candidate pool of 92 applicants — 75 from the mainland and 17 Hawaii candidates. The list was narrowed to eight semi-finalists with the help of executive search firm Ray & Associates. The board’s search committee interviewed the eight candidates and provided video recordings of the interviews to its advisory group of stakeholders.

“This is the most important decision we, as a board, make. We were lucky to have had a number of candidates to choose from,” Mizumoto said.

The selected candidate will replace schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, whose term ends June 30.

The job opening was posted in mid-March, citing a salary “in the range of $240,000,” to oversee Hawaii’s statewide school district of 256 schools, 180,000 students and 22,000 permanent employees.

Resume of Linda Chen by Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Scribd

Resume of Christina Kishimoto by Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Scribd

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