Friday, June 25, 2004

Education board names
charter schools director

KEALAKEKUA >> The state Board of Education named Steve Hirakami yesterday as interim director of Hawaii's charter schools.

Hirakami, president of the Hawaii Charter Schools Network, is replacing Dewey Kim, who resigned from the job after five months, citing inherent conflicts in the position and an overwhelming workload.

The executive director of the Charter School Administrative Office serves as the official advocate for the charter schools while also overseeing them on behalf of the Board of Education.

Hirakami's appointment is contingent upon a check to make sure there are no conflicts of interest. Hirakami resigned from the charter schools network to take the appointment.

Hirakami is also principal of Hawaii Academy of Arts and Sciences in Pahoa on the Big Island.

"He's right up to speed on all the issues," said John Thatcher, principal of the Connections charter school in Hilo.

The board made the appointment at its first meeting since Kim submitted his resignation letter June 14. It took nominations from board members, the charter schools network and the public.

"This is a crucial time now; many schools are starting their school year," said Carol Gabbard, head of the school board's Charter Schools Committee.


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