HONOLULU -- The Hawaii State Department of Education, or DOE, in collaboration with Chaminade University, has announced a new program aimed at creating an alternative pathway to certification for school administrators.

The Alternative Certification for School Administrator Program, funded by the state's Race to the Top initiative, provides applicants with high leadership potential the chance to earn certification as a school administrator.

While employed by the DOE, candidates can gain experience as a vice principal during their residency period.

The new rules that allow this alternative path to certification were approved by the Hawaii State Board of Education, or BOE, in May, and signed by Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie, recently.
According to the Education Commission of the States, about 16 other states are offering alternative certifications for principals.

"This program is a new approach to addressing the potential shortage of school administrators, in the future," said Douglas Murata, assistant superintendent for the DOE Office of Human Resources. "While we value our traditional process and pathway to administration, we need to find additional creative and alternate ways to fill our leadership positions as we move forward."

The ideal candidate holds a master's degree and has successfully served in a leadership, supervisory or managerial position for three or more years. The program is limited to 24 candidates, for the first two years -- 12 candidates each year -- and will cost about $900,000.

In recent years, Army-impacted schools have seen many highly experienced administrators retire -- most recently, Linda Yoshikami from Solomon Elementary at Schofield Barracks; Raymond Fujii from Makalapa Elementary in the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam area; and Robert Stevens from Radford High School in the JBPHH area, as well as others. This program will ensure that a pool of qualified school administrators is available to choose from as more principals are expected to retire soon.

This alternative route to certification provides candidates with credentials to pursue certification and a career in school administration. It leads to an authentic job-embedded experience as a vice principal upon acceptance into the program.

Faculty from Chaminade University and School Turnaround provide educational leadership courses with a specific focus on managing change and leading school turnaround. Also, coaching by skilled mentors is provided throughout the first year to help candidates apply the learned concepts and skills.

Page last updated Thu July 19th, 2012 at 00:00