HIBOE Testimony [3/21/2017]: Superintendent Search
Good Afternoon Chair Mizumoto and members of the Board
My name is John Sosa, Executive Director of the Education Institute of Hawaii.
I have testified several times to this board on the importance of the Superintendent search process and offered suggestions and examples on how the openness of the process could be enhanced. I am fully aware this Board has and is taking this process seriously and trying to establish and conduct a transparent and fair process.
However I must express the disappointment we are hearing from the field (Principals and teachers). Regardless of how you view what has happened to date, or which rational your feel compelled to believe, the end result has been the following:
· A candidate who was strongly supported by the field (Principals and Teachers) and has many of the qualifications this board has publicly stated it values via its job descriptionwas eliminated from consideration;
· A foundation that funded the search, took the liberty to use that pledge to directly influence the search process;
· The candidate’s professional reputation was called into question, the media and others portrayed him as a manipulator and part of a larger effort to manipulate the selection process.
These are all unfortunate consequences. This chain of events upset principals and teachers for a variety of reasons. They have been a major distraction to the task at hand and have also affected the reputation of this Board.
EIH is not interested in placing blame or debating these events. However we are very concerned that Principals and teachers, key players in the success of this Department are again not being heard. We urge the board to find meaningful ways to reach out and hear their concerns in this very important decision.
Additionally it is the responsibility of this Board and the Department of Education with the support of all of usto bring the Hawaii Blueprint for Education to life. The new leader you ultimately select is central to the success or failure of that plan.
Lastly it appears that the timeline is driving the selection process. Timelines are fine they can serve as guides, but if the process can benefit from slowing down a bit please do so.
EIH has offered before and we repeat our offer to partner with otherstakeholder groups to host candidate forums. All we need is word from the Board. We all want the same thing, the best leader we can find.
EIH is focused on transforming the Department of Education into an organization that truly supports schools. We want to see a large candidate pool, we want the stakeholders to have a chance to interact with the top tier that emerges in the process, not just one or two put forth by an advisory committee. We want the Board to get it right.