- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 2, 2016

HONOLULU (AP) - The state has started the process of searching for a new superintendent of Hawaii schools, just a week after announcing that Kathryn Matayoshi’s contract would not be renewed.

The Board of Education selected a four-member committee Tuesday to conduct a national search.

Matayoshi has been overseeing Hawaii’s public schools since 2010, and she’s unsure why her contract, which ends in June, wasn’t extended.

“I think the word from the board is that the governor wants a new direction and I’m not certain what that is so you’ll have to check with him on that,” Matayoshi told Hawaii News Now.

Board members praised Matayoshi on Tuesday for her efforts over the years but did not elaborate on why they are looking for a new superintendent.

“Public education is better than it was when she first got here,” board Vice-Chair Brian De Lima said. He added that “the public needs to understand that our superintendent is not being terminated.”

Jessica Worchel with the Department of Education’s Office of Hawaiian Education said she’s concerned the decision to find a new superintendent was made too quickly “without clearly knowing what direction we are heading.”

Gov. David Ige has made calls for a more innovative approach to education.

Matayoshi said she still has several initiatives that she’s working on to benefit Hawaii’s public schools, which she believes have improved under her leadership.

“I’ve told them I am willing to stay. There are some things that I am working on, including initiatives on school based health centers and career-readiness work,” Matayoshi said. “I think the main thing, I wish I would have had more time to get out to schools and see the kids and the teachers.”

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