Leadership Profiles and Staff

The Board of Education hires the superintendent as the chief executive officer of the public school system and approves all leadership appointments. The superintendent appoints a deputy superintendent and six assistant superintendents to oversee curriculum, instruction, and student support; human resources; fiscal services; school facilities; and information technology services. The superintendent also appoints 15 complex area superintendents.

​Complex Area Superintendents​​Meet the Department's leaders at our Complex Areas.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​State leadership

Keith Hayashi Keith Hayashi, Interim Superintendent

Keith T. Hayashi was appointed interim superintendent of the Hawai‘i State Department of Education, effective Aug. 1, 2021. He will serve until the start date of a new superintendent to be appointed by the Board of Education.

Hayashi's 32-year career with the Department spans the school, complex area and state level. He has led Waipahu High School as principal since 2009, a position for which he has received numerous awards, including Hawai‘i High School Principal of the Year and the collegiate Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction. He is credited with pioneering the Early College program in Hawai‘i public schools and earned the distinction for Waipahu High as the state's first nationally recognized wall-to-wall academy model school.

Hayashi began his education career at Lehua Elementary as a teacher and went on to serve as a district resource teacher in Leeward O‘ahu. He also served as a vice principal and principal at the elementary, middle and high school levels before becoming Pearl City-Waipahu Complex Area Superintendent. At the state level, he served as interim deputy state superintendent and as interim state superintendent in 2017. Hayashi earned his bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He also holds two Master of Education degrees — in curriculum and instruction, and educational administration — from UH Mānoa.

Phyllis Unebasami Phyllis Unebasami,
Deputy Superintendent

Phyllis Unebasami was appointed as deputy superintendent on September 5, 2017 after serving as acting assistant superintendent for the Office of Strategy, Innovation and Planning for HIDOE. The deputy superintendent assists the superintendent in executing duties and responsibilities of the office, and is delegated authority to act for the superintendent. The deputy superintendent is responsible for leading, directing and supervising the academic/education programs in HIDOE. As deputy superintendent, Unebasami oversees the department’s 15 Complex Areas and special projects.

During her time with HIDOE, she served in school-level, district and state positions including as an administrator for the Professional Development and Educational Research Institute, deputy superintendent for the Windward District Office, principal and vice principal. Unebasami was also an independent educational consultant, managing director at Kamehameha Schools for Hoʻolaukoa Educational Systems and Strategies as well as a division director for Literacy Instruction and Support.

Heidi Armstrong Heidi Armstrong, Assistant Superintendent, Office of Student Support Services

Heidi Armstrong was appointed in February 2019 as assistant superintendent for the Office of Student Support Services after serving in the position on an interim basis since July 2018. Armstrong has been with the Department for 30 years, most recently as complex area superintendent for Campbell-Kapolei Complex Area. Prior to becoming CAS in 2012, she served as principal of Iroquois Point Elementary, where she led continuous improvements in school performance and quality, as comprehensive supports for students helped boost reading and math proficiency. She began her career with the Department in 1988 as a math teacher at Pohakea Elementary, where she became vice principal in 2000. Armstrong also was the vice principal at Waipahu High from 2001-02. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, and a master's degree in educational administration from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. The creation of this office was approved by the Board of Education in May 2018.

Brook Conner David Brookshire "Brook" Conner, Assistant Superintendent & Chief Information Officer,
Office of Information Technology Services

David Brookshire "Brook" Conner was appointed on Sept. 25, 2017 to oversee HIDOE’s information and telecommunication systems, facilities, and services of the public school system and Department-wide operations. The Office of Information Technology Services (OITS) ensures that information technology and telecommunications support are being provided efficiently and effectively, and in accordance with laws, policies, and accepted principles of management. The scope of OITS’ technical oversight includes voice, data, video, information systems infrastructure, and support services for schools and for complex areas and state administrative offices. Support services to schools are exercised in collaboration with the complex area superintendent.

Conner has served in high-profile information technology (IT) positions, most recently as the first chief information security officer and vice president for Estée Lauder Companies where he constructed a cyber security program, managed a budget of $22 million and ensured compliance. He also worked for Morgan Stanley as an executive director and global head of vulnerability management, Bloomberg LP, and as an adjunct professor at New York University. Conner has also published numerous books and papers on a variety of IT topics.

Sean Bacon Sean Bacon, Interim Assistant Superintendent, Office of Talent Management

Sean Bacon was appointed as interim assistant superintendent on May 3, 2021, to oversee the talent management needs — recruiting, development, retention, employee and labor relations — of the Department's workforce of 22,000 full-time employees and 20,000 substitute teachers and casual employees.

Bacon brings with him 10 years of experience within the Office of Talent Management (OTM). Prior to his appointment, Bacon served as the executive assistant for OTM, where he worked closely with the assistant superintendent to provide support in direction, leadership and management. Before that he served as a personnel specialist within the Department for six years. He also has school-level experience having previously served as principal at Honaunau Elementary, vice principal at Kealakehe Intermediate, and counselor and fifth-grade teacher at Kealakehe Elementary. He has a master’s degree in school counseling from University of Southern Mississippi and a bachelor’s in elementary education from Aquinas College.

Brian Hallett Brian Hallett, Assistant Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer, Office of Fiscal Services

Brian Hallett was appointed assistant superintendent of the Office of Fiscal Services (OFS) and chief financial officer on June 19, 2020, to oversee HIDOE's accounting, budget, and procurement activities and systems serving the needs of the schools, school complexes, complex areas and the state central office. Hallett provides direction and guidance for all levels of the organization in support of sound fiscal management practices.

Hallett has worked in the state government sector for the past 25 years and has served as HIDOE's budget director for seven years with a brief stint as chief of staff to the speaker of the Hawaii House of Representatives. Earlier in his career, he served in budget administrator and specialist roles for HIDOE's Budget Execution Section, the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, the House Committee on Finance and the Department of Public Safety. Hallett holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Washington with a dual major in political science and environmental studies, and studied Urban and Regional Planning and Natural Resource Managment at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.  

Christine Shaw Randall Tanaka, Assistant Superintendent, Office of Facilities and Operations

Randall Tanaka was appointed as assistant superintendent for the Office of Facilities and Operations (OFO) on Jan. 16, 2020, to oversee construction and maintenance of facilities and operations of food services, transportation and security for the public school system.

Prior to his appointment, Tanaka served as deputy director of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT). He previously served as president and executive director of the 2016 World Conservation Congress event in Honolulu and was responsible for the logistics of hosting over 10,000 delegates from 190 countries. Tanaka also previously served as chief operating officer of the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Hawaiʻi Host Committee; director of commercial and auxiliary enterprises, safety and security at the University of Hawaiʻi Community Colleges; and in various capacities at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center and in the hospitality industry. Tanaka holds a bachelor's degree from the UH Mānoa and a range of professional affiliations including the Professional Convention Management Association, the International Association of Venue Management and the United States-Japan Hawaiʻi Council.

Cara TanimuraCara C. Tanimura, Interim Assistant Superintendent, Office of Strategy, Innovation and Performance

Cara Tanimura was appointed interim assistant superintendent for the Office of Strategy, Innovation and Performance (OSIP) on July 1, 2021, to oversee the systemization and support of improvement efforts related to statewide assessments, strategic planning, program evaluation, data governance, data analysis, communication, and collaboration with public and private partners.

Tanimura had been director for the Monitoring and Compliance Branch, which provides technical assistance and ensures compliance with federal laws and regulations related to various federally funded programs. She also previously served as a personnel specialist in the Office of Talent Management, administrator for the Planning Section, director of the former Systems Accountability Office, and a legal analyst with the Board of Education.

Tanimura holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa and a juris doctorate from the Lewis and Clark Northwestern School of Law. She is a member of the Hawai’i State Bar Association, and previously worked as an associate attorney in private practice, and served as a legislative analyst in the House Majority Staff Office.

Teri Ushijima Teri Ushijima, Interim Assistant Superintendent, Curriculum and Instructional Design

Teri Ushijima was appointed as interim assistant superintendent for the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design on Nov. 2, 2020. Prior to her appointment, Ushijima served as the director of Assessment and Accountability under the Office of Strategy, Innovation and Performance. The branch is responsible for the development and implementation of the Department’s statewide summative assessments and the associated accountability systems. Prior to her role as director, Ushijima served as executive director of the Leadership Institute, Aiea-Moanalua-Radford complex area superintendent as well as a principal at Mokulele Elementary and vice principal at Moanalua High. She is a National Milken Educator Award recipient and also taught at Mililani Mauka, Mokulele, Leihoku and Honowai Elementary schools. 

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