HIDOE announces complex area superintendent appointments as longtime leaders retire


Paul Zina and Sione Thompson will be stepping into the complex area superintendent roles to guide schools on Kauai and the Leeward Oahu Coast as longtime leaders Bill Arakaki, Ann Mahi and Art Souza retire.

Kapaa-Kauai-Waimea Complex Area Superintendent Paul Zina (left) and Nanakuli-Waianae Complex Area Superintendent Sione Thompson (right)

Photo Credit: Department of Education

New leaders will be stepping into the complex area superintendent roles to guide schools on Kauai and the Leeward Oahu Coast.

Effective July 1, Paul Zina will have oversight of the Kapaa-Kauai-Waimea Complex Area and Sione Thompson will oversee the Nanakuli-Waianae Complex Area. The appointments were previously approved by the Hawaii State Board of Education in January and February.

“Paul and Sione have been serving as deputy complex area superintendents for their respective areas during the second semester of the 2019-20 school year, and have proven to have the knowledge, skill and abilities to be successful in their roles,” Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said. “I also want to extend a heartfelt mahalo and aloha to complex area superintendents Ann Mahi, Bill Arakaki and Art Souza for their dedication to our haumana and public education. Their impact will be felt for generations to come through the students they have taught and teacher leaders they have mentored. We wish them the best in their retirement.”

Zina, a veteran educator and leader, will replace retiring Complex Area Superintendent Bill Arakaki. He has over 23 years of experience with the Department as a teacher, vice principal and principal. Prior to his appointment as a deputy complex area superintendent, he was the principal at Eleele Elementary School for five years. Zina mentioned that Arakaki has been a huge part of his community, and has influenced his core philosophy as a school leader. 

“I want to thank Bill for showing me that leadership at his level is deeply connected to who you are, where you come from, and those you surround yourself with to build a stronger community. Some might say that one has learned when they can connect the past, present and future with the thread of human relationships to build a strong quiltwork of community. Bill is my example to follow as one of those threads in our community,” Zina added. 

Throughout Thompson’s career, he has demonstrated commitment to education, equity and access and has been a strategic partner working alongside the Department. He most recently served as the executive director for the Hawaii State Public Charter School Commission for three years and will replace retiring Complex Area Superintendent Ann Mahi. Prior to joining the Commission, Thompson was a Title III program director for the University of Hawaii West Oahu and held various positions at Saint Louis School including principal for two years. 

He credits Mahi with being an amazing example of a leader and mentor saying, “she has positively changed lives and communities. Her integrity, passion and expectations for excellence are unparalleled. Ann’s legacy will always be one of servant leadership, hard work and aloha. Education in Hawaii and the lives she has touched are better because of Ann Mahi.”

Also retiring at the end of the month is Art Souza, who has been serving as Hawaii Island complex area superintendent in residence. Souza mentored current Honokaa-Kealakehe-Kohala-Konawaena Complex Area Superintendent Janette Snelling prior to her appointment to the leadership position last year. Snelling worked with Souza in several different capacities over the last 15 years and remarked on his unshakeable belief in the goodness of people and the unlimited power of shared responsibility.

“As a leader of leaders, his time at the helm was spent in a relentless effort to harness the strength of community to create remarkable opportunities for children,” Snelling said. “By your example, I learned so much about how to laugh at myself, take risks and not let the fear of making a mistake stop me from doing the right thing.” 

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