Charter schools chief named
The state Board of Education selected Vanelle Maunalei Love as interim executive director of the Charter School Administration Office yesterday, two weeks after firing the administrator.
"I'm excited to get in there and hopefully bridge any challenges that will be faced with the charter schools and the Board of Education," Love said.
Randall Yee, chairman of the board, said: "She was actually one of the finalists previously when we appointed Dr. Jim Shon. She's been involved with the charter schools very significantly over the years, so we felt that we wanted to give her an opportunity. We thought it would also be good to have someone from the outside come in and hopefully be able to run the office."
Love starts on Monday.
Hawaii has 27 public charter schools, which enjoy autonomy from the state Department of Education on curriculum, spending and personnel decisions but have struggled to make do with much smaller per-pupil budgets than that of regular public schools.
Yee said Love could reapply for the permanent position when the board publishes the vacancy and begins accepting applications. The Charter School Network will provide a list of candidates from which the board will choose to fill the position.
For now, Love, 54, said she plans to focus on serving as interim executive director, a position that some charter school officials said could last as little as a month.
Love has been involved with charter schools for 12 years and was a co-founder of the Hawaii Association of Charter Schools, now called the Hawaii Charter Schools Network, an advocacy group of charter school principles and administrators. She also served as an administrator for Hakipuu Learning Center, a public charter school on Oahu, and said she understands charter schools.
The board chose Love over three nominees selected by the Charter Schools Network, including Shon, the former executive director whom the school board fired Sept. 7. The firing angered many charter schools officials.
Love said she hopes to reconcile the relationship between the board and charter school administration. She also plans to work with Shon to begin her new job.
"I know that he's willing to help transition and help me and everybody else involved to move forward," she said.
Steve Hirakami, director of Hawaii Academy of Arts and Sciences and a former interim executive director, said he supports Love's appointment, noting she can help ease relations between the board and charter schools.