Waipahu High School principal appointed interim superintendent of Hawai‘i public schools


The Hawaiʻi State Board of Education today approved the appointment of Keith Hayashi as interim superintendent of the Hawaii State Department of Education.

The Hawaiʻi State Board of Education today unanimously approved the appointment of Keith Hayashi as interim superintendent of the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE).

The long-time principal of Waipahu High School will transition into the position no later than Aug. 1, and will serve until the start date of a new superintendent to be appointed by the Board. The Board has initiated a search for a permanent superintendent.

“I am humbled and honored to be selected to lead our public school system during this transition,” Hayashi said. “This is such a critical time for the Department and I am committed to connecting with our schools, complex areas and state office leaders to ensure that we are well prepared for the upcoming school year.”

Hayashi has served as principal of Waipahu High since 2009, and previously served as interim deputy state superintendent from March–June 2017 and as interim state superintendent in July 2017. Waipahu High Assistant Principal Meryl Matsumura will serve as acting principal during Hayashi’s term. 

The term of Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto, who has led the Department since 2017, ends on July 30, following her decision to not seek a contract renewal.

“I look forward to a seamless transition to ensure that the important work of educating and supporting all of our public school students continues with unwavering commitment to equity of access to quality education and continued advancement of innovative practices,” Kishimoto said.

As principal, Hayashi was most recognized for transforming Waipahu High School into the state’s leading college and career high school, as the only wall-to-wall national model academy high school in the state. Under Hayashi’s leadership, the school also implemented the state’s first Early College program in the state, resulting to date in over 3,000 Waipahu High students earning college credits and nearly 50 students earning associate's degrees while still in high school.

A highly decorated school leader, Hayashi became the first high school principal to receive the Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction from the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society this year and was recognized as Administrator of the Year by the Hawaii Association of Career and Technical Education in 2019. He was named Hawaii High School Principal of the Year in 2014 and was recognized with the Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award in 2013. 

Hayashi’s 32 years of HIDOE experience also includes serving as the Pearl City-Waipahu complex area superintendent, principal at Waipahu Elementary and vice principal at Waipahu High and Waipahu Intermediate. He is a graduate of Kaimuki High School and earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education and master’s degrees in both educational administration and curriculum and instruction from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.


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