Tag Archive | "Christina Kishimoto"

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Arizona Board Votes to Hire Kishimoto

HARTFORD — During what was reported in local media as a raucus, standing-room only meeting, the Gilbert, Ariz. school board early Wednesday morning selected a new superintendent of schools: Christina DeJesus-Kishimoto, the superintendent of Hartford public schools.

The position in the central Arizona community was expected to be offered to Kishimoto after the meeting according to the Arizona Republic Newspaper. Kishimoto, whose contract in Hartford ends in June, accepted the position according to reports. A search for Kishimoto’s  successor already is under way. The Hartford Board of Ed

The Gilbert vote was 3-2 at the end of a meeting in which parents and teachers accused conservative board members of political bias and driving out educators, the newspapers website, azcentral.com reported. The selection process also came under fire.

The 39,000-student district has been in an uproar with the five top administrators and the interim superintendent resigning.

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Right Move: Hartford City Council Resolution Summons Board of Education


HARTFORD — Finally, there is some semblance of responsive leadership from the Hartford Court of Common Council on the recent and gross indiscretions by the Hartford Board of Education.


Council President rjo Winch has sponsored a resolution to have the city’s Board of Education and the Chief Operating Officer be present at the public hearing on the mayor’s budget. Mayor Pedro Segarra is also expected to be present. The resolution is on the agenda for Monday’s city council meeting.


Most informed residents welcomed the Mayor’s robust response to the board of education’s feeble attempt at a superintendent search. But he retreated after criticism and pressure from some. That was unfortunate.


That’s because a fundamental wrong had been done with the search process, and it unequivocally sends the message to students, who the board is trying to educate, that it’s OK to break the rules.


Consider this: the search committee looked at only two candidates. Yet certain board members kept saying Assistant Superintendent Christina Kishimoto was the best candidate. Just knowing basic English would tell us that the proper dictum is as follows: “good, better, best.” Kishimoto could only be “the best” candidate if there was a third, or more candidates, to compete with.


Speaking of candidates, one assistant superintendent, who previously applied for the superintendent job, was pushed out of the district in 2007. He was a brilliant scholar with solid administrative skills and has since garnered national recognition. His name is Romaine Dallemand, and he is now superintendent of Bibb County Board of Education in Georgia. Perhaps that’s why the board and others refused to entertain a national search. If they did, Dallemand would have clearly been one of the best. During the city’s search, he was on the market for a new job.


But aside from the number of candidates screened, there was the vat of arrogance that oozed from not only Kishimoto, but a few board members. They behaved as if they were a part of a clique, and they owed the public no sensible explanation because they spent weeks and months following rules that were, get this, put in place to eclipse the long established rules for doing a search for this critical position.


The twisted attitude displayed by these board members was enough to make a casual observer realize the depth of their ignorance about the role of board members.


In addition to that wanton ignorance, there was arrogance from the School Superintendent’s “cabinet.” In this economy, where Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, is asking residents to make “shared sacrifice,” the board’s administration is saying they deserve pay raises. The gall.


Another problem came after the board voted on the new superintendent. After being warned about heeding to residents and their concerns, Kishimoto insisted on moving forward with plans to close three schools. And guess where these schools are located? Her target zone is in the poorest section of the city with the most vulnerable children, the North End.


On May 16, residents want to see more than talk. They want concrete actions to follow soon afterward and that will address a bevy of concerns about the board of education. They want to see measures of accountability—besides ramped up test scores that fail to give an accurate snap shot of what’s actually going on in Hartford’s schools. City residents are rightfully saying enough is enough.




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Board of Education Appoints New Superintendent

HARTFORD — At a special meeting on Wednesday, the city’s Board of Education appointed a new school superintendent, opting to ignore the mayor’s call for a nation-wide search.

The board voted 6 to 2 to replace the School Superintendent Steven Adamowski with Assistant Superintendent Christina Kishimoto. She will take the helm June 1.

In a statement to the press, Segarra said he had to step in and voice his concerns.

“As a community member, educator and mayor, I stood up and voiced my concerns, and I will continue to do so in the future,” he said

Segarra’s concerns stemmed from reports that the school’s communication director, David Medina, lobbied for Kishimoto and that he and other administrators championed Kishimoto as the established choice. In addition, a new policy–to create continuity–was created to supercede the established policies and procedures for search committees nationwide.

This new policy, board members said, guided their decision. At least one member buried concerns that there were only two candidates for such a critical role. Two board members refused to ignore what they saw as a flawed process. And one abstained.

Nevertheless, the board congratulated Kishimoto on her appointment.

With poised, she thanked the board for her new job.

“This is a good day,” she said after taking a seat to deliver her prepared statement. ” This is an enormous task–but it is one in which we must stay the course.”


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Hartford School Board Should Start New Superintendent Search


It’s unfortunate that Christina Kishimoto had to face the news that her celebratory evening had to be canceled because Mayor Pedro Segarra called for a national search for a new school superintendent.

Hello! There is a reason Segarra did that. He found out that [David] Medina was engineering news coverage to place Kishimoto in a glowing light. If that is true, how is that fair to the other candidate—or would-be candidates who already read about the apparent pick?

I think the mayor had to step in.

The school district’s press guy was advocating for Kishimoto to the press, calling her  the best qualified. Then you had parents who were supposed to be watching out for things like this, repeating the phrase “best qualified” like puppets.

By the way, those are code words. And most people who know the business of human resources understand that phrase means they had an excuse to skip affirmative action hiring procedures.

The board of education should know better. And Kishimoto should also know better and accept that the process was tainted.  That’s not how anyone should fill a vacancy in a tax-funded entity.

It’s unclear where we should put the blame. But with conflict of interest on almost all sides of this process, side deals and perceived pay offs and only two candidates available in the selection – this search deserves to be upended.

In a system filled with cronyisms and political appointments, the board should have considered the implication of having only two candidates for this important job.

That is a dangerous message to send, no matter who feels Kishimoto was the best qualified. And stop talking about the economy and the need to skip corners. The board found $15,000 for a proposed nonprofit parent group. Saying the search would be cost-prohibitive is only an excuse to skirt the long established process—put in place for a reason.

The Hartford school system is unique in that it is segregated from its suburban counterparts with more than 95 percent black and Latino students. It’s also the home of the school desegregation case, Sheff v. O’Neill. It is notorious for turning away qualified black and brown teachers and administrators, including me.

The whole process needs to be scrapped and start over again. The school board should forget perceptions at this point and really think about the students, who include my nieces and nephews.

Arlene B., East Hartford


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