Categorized | Education

Public Charter School Commission names director


The state Public Charter School Commission has announced the appointment of its executive director, Tom Hutton.

Hutton is a national authority on education law and policy and was a co-founder of a noted Washington D.C. charter school, Thurgood Marshall Academy.

Tom Hutton

Tom Hutton

Hutton has served as in-house counsel for the National School Boards Association and as a school attorney in private practice. He is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center and an alumnus of the University of Hawaii Public Administration graduate program.

The new law governing charter schools, Act 130, was enacted in 2012 and created a solid charter school governance structure with clear lines of authority and accountability that will foster improved student outcomes.

The selection of the executive director is another step in moving toward fully implementing the new law.

“The Commission worked diligently through a rigorous process in selecting the right individual to fill this new executive director position,” Commission Chairwoman Karen Street said. “Tom will bring valuable experience and insights both at a tactical and big picture level to assist all stakeholders in fulfilling the goals of the new law. His passion for excellence in public school education is inspiring.”

The Board of Education Chairman, Don Horner also stated that “Charter schools serve an important role in reaching our overall educational achievement goals. Tom is well qualified to advocate for our charter schools to have the autonomy and resources to be effective and accountable.”

The executive director is responsible for ensuring the successful implementation of Act 130, including developing the Commission Office organizational structure, recruiting and hiring staff, completing the development of the new accountability system for charter schools, and working effectively with a variety of stakeholders in this transition.

In all activities, the executive director must ensure that the Commission’s work and decisions consider local needs while aligning with national best practices to maintain high standards for charter schools, uphold charter school autonomy, and protect student and public interests.

“I am excited to be able to play a role in what I think is a critical moment for public education in Hawaii, one full of challenges but also opportunities,” Hutton said. “I look forward to working with the charter school community and with others so that we can contribute to meeting those challenges and seizing those opportunities for Hawaii’s children.”

Hutton, his wife and two children recently returned to Hawaii after living away from the islands for a number of years.

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