Christina Kishimoto’s *Artful* Letters of Recommendation for Her New Job

Christina KishimotoAs promised, this post will examine the letters of recommendation Christina Kishimoto submitted to Ray and Associates, and then to the St. Paul school district, with her application to be a school district superintendent. Many Gilbert citizens disbelieved Kishimoto’s claim that she was *invited* to apply for the position of Hawaii superintendent, but it most likely was Ray and Associates who *invited* her to apply … they already had the big bucks contract to find someone for Hawaii, and they had made plenty of money the last time Christina Kishimoto got herself booted out of a district she almost destroyed in the name of reform. Not for the first time, Kishimoto trashed her former employer on her way out for treating her with *disrespect.*  

I think there just needs to be a line drawn in the sand that says that the one thing we’re not going to tolerate as we move forward is disrespect,” Kishimoto added. “They’ve been instances of deep disrespect that even I have experienced, that doesn’t [sic] belong in a public school system.”

It’s tempting to respond to Kishimoto that in order to be respected, you must act like someone who is worthy of respect.  That wasn’t what Kishimoto demonstrated as GPS superintendent; the most glaring of her unprofessional acts was her *alleged* inappropriate relationship with her subordinate … but that’s off topic for today.

Take a look at the letter written by Alex Nardone, Kishimoto’s Chief of Staff, which is dated February 2017.   His admiration for his boss, the gal who rescued him from Hartford when she was run out of town, seemingly knows no bounds. Maybe Nardone’s nose was so brown from his subordinate position in Hartford, he was run out of town, too. Nardone brought a sordid history with egregious conflicts of interests when he followed Kishimoto from Hartford. One example: he lined up for a bonus even though bonuses for senior staff had been prohibited because of a wage freeze for bus drivers. Nonetheless, Kishimoto’s chief of staff had no compunction about lining his pockets until the sh!t hit the fan after the school board got wind of the self-serving scheme:

Superintendent Christina Kishimoto has rescinded $38,976 in performance pay to six of her top deputies after the school board raised concerns that such payments would breach a 2011 board order to suspend central office bonuses. The payments, described as “variable pay” bonuses for the 2011-12 year, were scheduled to be issued Oct. 12. They ranged from $6,300 for Chief Advancement Officer Kelvin Roldan to $6,720 for Chief of Staff Alexander Nardone.
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It’s interesting that before she became superintendent, Kishimoto received some mighty big bonuses, along with a LOT of other people at the Hartford district offices. $2.7 MILLION DOLLARS, in fact!

Over 97 of the payments were made to paper pushers and individuals working out of the Board’s Central Office at 960 Main Street. Some of those payments should definitely raise eyebrows as to why they deserved to get bonuses for just doing their jobs that they are being paid very well to do:
Alexander Nardone……Chief Operating Officer……….$11,306
Christina Kishimoto……Asst.Superintendent…………..$11,904

What a conflict of interest for someone pretending to give a genuine job reference! At any rate, Kishimoto promised that Nardone’s position in Gilbert Public Schools would be for one year only, and here it is three years later, and he’s finally on his way out. But he took the taxpayers of Gilbert for hundreds of thousands of dollars for brown-nosing Christina Kishimoto once again. This sleaziness makes you wonder if Nardone is taking hula lessons.

Former GPS board member Lily Tram’s letter is less effusive, but no less laden with hypocrisy. Again, look at the date of the letter: February 10, 2017. Kishimoto was plotting her escape from GPS about six months after her three year contract was extended to 2019. It’s really tempting to pull out a red pen and edit Tram’s letter, but we already knew Lily Tram was not especially literate. Tram was, however, famous for giving parents the cold shoulder in her few written communications. Mostly, Tram ignored the proletariat, which contributed greatly to getting tossed off the GPS board in the 2016 election. Lily Tram’s history on the GPS governing board finally led citizens to take control of various scams engineered by Lily Tram:

The GPS community is really, really dissatisfied with this situation: it exposed Kishimoto as operating solo, making decisions and usurping the powers that Arizona law reserves to elected officials, the members of the GPS governing board. The effects on GPS students, parents and taxpayers will be long lasting and expensive … probably long after Kishimoto and her carpetbagger administration high-tail it out of Gilbert, Arizona.

Kathy Tilque’s undated letter of recommendation paints GPS as a failing district before Christina Kishimoto rode in on a white horse to save it.  That’s not quite true: GPS was an *A* rated district and several schools were rated *A+* but you would never know it from Tilque’s rant. The clearest image from Tilque is of a so-called business leader whose ego makes her a legend in her own mind … like her buddy Kishimoto. BTW, be sure to notice that Tilque takes credit for the initiative “to bring business and education together to address workplace readiness issues.” Kishimoto’s various proclamations assert that nothing like that possibly could have happened before she arrived in Gilbert, Arizona. Sheeeeeesh.

Here’s a truer description from outside Gilbert about the situation Tilque deceptively described: 

Highly respected educator Diane Ravitch sums up what’s happening in Gilbert Public Schools: “Education is in crisis because of the calculated effort to turn it into a business with a bottom line. Schools are closed and opened as though they were chain stores, not community institutions.  How did Diane Ravitch know that Christina Kishimoto was nominated by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce as *Business Woman of the Year*? [rhetorical question] It’s not like Christina Kishimoto wasn’t fully and personally participating in that business process – look at what Kishimoto had to do to be named an *honoree* after being nominated by her peers (not that Christina Kishimoto thinks anyone is her equal, but we digress):

To be considered for these awards, men and women are nominated by their peers. Once nominated, they must submit a written questionnaire and participate in a personal interview.

… Of course, a fiasco like Kishimoto’s Great Payday Melee would get most business leaders fired, but hey, it’s for the kids, right? Anything goes in GPS while Christina Kishimoto is superintendent, like thousand dollar lunches for board members and favored staff … at just about every meeting, it appears. After all, corporations can buy lunches for employees and give the CEO an unlimited expense account – why can’t GPS do the same? Oooops, there’s this concept called *public funds* that is at stake in GPS, and the rules are different for public entities. That must distress Christina Kishimoto to no end … not that she pays attention to things like *public policy* or cares that her position is endowed with *public trust.*

Recommendation letter number four, dated February 13, 2017, was written by Julian Trevino,  who unabashedly states he “had the opportunity to collaborate” with Kishimoto in both Hartford and in Gilbert. Of course, Julian Trevino is just another dude whose financial star is hitched to Kishimoto. Go ahead and read the minutes of the February 6, 2017 board retreat; do you think the governing board got their money’s worth ($6,000.00++) of training from this dude Julian Trevino? Trevino had cashed in at Kishimoto’s invitation before:

[Kishimoto] set up a *Board Retreat* to brainwash the three new board members about her reformy ideas. This 2017 meeting featured the same guy [Julian Trevino] who taught the same stuff to the board in 2015 for a total cost of about $18,000.00. Don’t worry, taxpayers, apparently the guy charged only $6,000.00 this year to spend a couple of hours going over reformy stuff; we figure his travel costs will be extra and will appear on the vouchers much later. That way, fewer people will connect the dots, you know.

The Hawaii BOE got themselves an A-number one carpetbagger when they hired Christina Kishimoto. Of course, the Hawaii BOE won’t have a problem unless citizens [again] expose Kishimoto as a fraudster, as happened in Connecticut and Arizona. We’re sure Hawaii public school watchdogs will rise to the task.


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