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Kishimoto Signs 3-Year Pact

She Takes Over As Schools Chief Friday

By Vanessa de la Torre

June 30, 2011

Christina Kishimoto signed a three-year contract with the board of education Wednesday, just two days before she is set to take over as the city's superintendent of schools.

The agreement calls for a $205,000 base salary in the first year, $231,000 in the second year and $238,000 in the third year.

Kishimoto can earn up to an extra $30,000 annually under a performance bonus that would require her to meet various improvement targets in areas such as third-grade reading, fifth-grade math and the graduation rate, board Chairman David MacDonald said.

In the past, retiring Superintendent Steven Adamowski has received roughly 80 to 85 percent of the bonus amount, MacDonald said.

Pamela Richmond, the board's first vice chairwoman, signed the contract with Kishimoto on MacDonald's behalf. MacDonald is out of town and the board had authorized him to negotiate and execute the agreement with Kishimoto, who is currently the assistant superintendent of secondary schools.

Kishimoto, 42, will be superintendent effective Friday. Adamowski, who was feted at a retirement celebration Wednesday night at the Bushnell, won't leave the city schools until July 31. Adamowski's role through the month of July will be as a "special adviser" to Kishimoto, MacDonald said.

As part of the contract, Kishimoto will receive a $400 monthly allowance to pay for the business use of her personal vehicle. In a letter to MacDonald dated Monday, Mayor Pedro Segarra said it was "more appropriate" for Kishimoto to drive a leased city vehicle in her work as superintendent.

Segarra also wrote that the entire board should vote on the contract for "transparency," and he took issue with the fact that two people will be employed at a superintendent's salary for July.

Adamowski's base salary for the current year is $225,000, according to the school system.

In addition, Segarra said, "it seems fitting that there be a requirement that the superintendent move to Hartford within a reasonable period of time."

MacDonald said Wednesday that there is no residency stipulation in the contract for Kishimoto, who lives on a farm in Andover. MacDonald added that, while he took some advice from Segarra and the city's corporation counsel, the points raised in the letter "are not really issues they need to concern themselves with."

"We have a valid contract with the new superintendent and we're moving forward," he said.

By Wednesday evening, the school system had not provided The Courant a copy of the contract.

Kishimoto is a policymaker who has worked on Adamowski's five-year reform plan to overhaul the city schools.

Before arriving in Hartford in fall 2005, a year before Adamowski, her resume included being a consultant for the state Department of Education and an assistant dean of student services at Wesleyan University.

Kishimoto holds a doctorate in education administration from Columbia University and is fluent in Spanish. She has no classroom teaching experience and has not been a school principal.

The board voted in early March to appoint Kishimoto as Adamowski's successor. As an assistant superintendent, Kishimoto's base salary this year was $163,000.

"This is her first superintendency," MacDonald said. "I have great expectations for her and believe she will do a fantastic job."

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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