Keith Hayashi Named Permanent Superintendent of Hawaii Public Schools

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  • JAMM AQUINO / [email protected]

    Keith Hayashi, right, speaks during his interview at the Board of Education’s Queen Liliuokalani Building today.

  • COURTESY PHOTO

    Keith Hayashi

Former Waipahu High School principal Keith Hayashi, who has served as acting superintendent of public schools since last August, was selected tonight from among three finalists to continue as the state’s permanent superintendent.

After a special state Board of Education meeting spanning nearly 12 hours — including nearly two hours of sometimes contentious public testimony punctuated by three suspensions to restore order — Hayashi was appointed after a debate deeply divided among the nine voting members of the state Board of Education.

The board conducted three initial non-binding straw votes that suggested a shift in sentiments during deliberations. But Hayashi narrowly won over California school counselor Caprice Young. Longtime educator Darrel Galera was a distant third in the straw poll vote.

>> PHOTOS: Keith Hayashi chosen as superintendent

The appointment is expected to take effect July 1. Hayashi’s salary and other contract details will be negotiated later, state Board of Education chairwoman Catherine Payne said, but the state legislature has set a maximum salary of $250,000. per year for the position. Hayashi’s predecessor, Christina Kishimoto, was working for $240,000 a year on a three-year contract that was extended for a year.

Hayashi, a 33-year veteran of the state Department of Education, will continue to oversee Hawaii’s public school system, the nation’s only state school district, which is widely considered the 10th largest in the country. Hawaii DOE has 171,000 students and 42,600 employees in 257 regular public schools and 37 charter schools, and an annual operating budget of over $2 billion.

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