HONOLULU — The superintendent of Hawaii’s public school system will likely keep her job for another three years. But before her contract is finalized, the state Board of Education wants Kathryn Matayoshi to address criticism raised by principals.
Matayoshi’s contract expires at the end of the month.
The board voted unanimously Tuesday to keep her for another three years but decided on the contract condition during an executive session that lasted several hours, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.
A group of retired principals released a survey last month that was critical of the state Department of Education’s leadership. Current principals surveyed anonymously said there’s a lack of support and autonomy from the department. They also said they fear retaliation if they speak out.
“I don’t think you can make a decision that will be respected by the public unless the superintendent has shared with the public generally, and with the principals and teachers in particular, her thoughts and concerns about the recent principals survey,” University of Hawaii law professor Randy Roth, who was involved in releasing the survey, told the board.
The board last fall gave Matayoshi an overall rating of “exceptional”.
“During her term, the DOE has faced significant challenges, including budget reductions, union issues, federal mandates, and implementation of a new comprehensive strategic plan,” board Chairman Don Horner said.
Retired Principal Darrel Galera said after the meeting that Matayoshi should be the one to take responsibility and not have to be told to “come up with a report.”
A bill before the governor would raise the potential salary for the superintendent job from $150,000 to $250,000.
A $150,000 cap has kept Matayoshi’s salary at that level for three years, while the statewide school district ranks lowest among superintendent salaries nationwide. Hawaii is the ninth-largest school district in the country.