Dr. Christina Kishimoto Wins Award during Sunshine Week

Westie is proud to join in the National Sunshine Week celebration, March 15-21, 2015.

Though created by journalists, Sunshine Week is about the public’s right to know what its government is doing, and why. Sunshine Week seeks to enlighten and empower people to play an active role in their government at all levels, and to give them access to information that makes their lives better and their communities stronger. Participants include news media, government officials at all levels, schools and universities, libraries and archives, individuals, non-profit and civic organizations, historians and anyone with an interest in open government.

In honor of National Sunshine Week, we hereby award Dr. Christina Kishimoto, Superintendent of Gilbert Public Schools in the Town of Gilbert, Arizona the first annual Darkest Recesses Award.  This award recognizes the public official showing the most *creativity* in intimidating citizens who dare attempt to access to public records.

It’s a difficult job, but Christina Kishimoto took up the challenge shortly after ascending to the throne of Gilbert Public Schools in July, 2014. Since that time, her accomplishments have been legendary. She truly embodies the Darkest Recesses spirit when it comes to keeping public records out of the hands of citizens, the media and parents of students in Gilbert Public Schools or delaying access to those records. Earning this award was not something Christina Kishimoto did on the spur of a moment. No siree, it took years of planning and practice.

We have been posting about how Superintendent Christina Kishimoto recently went to a secret court hearing against someone she accused of a dastardly crime: *requesting public records,* as it is called in Arizona. (FOIA, Freedom of Information Act, is a federal thingie.) It appears that Superintendent Christina Kishimoto decided to trot down this path in retaliation for an Open Meetings Law (OML) complaint that local blogger DWestie had filed with the Arizona Attorney General. Setting up her vengeance, Kishimoto first filed a police report against the Westies, then she filed a civil lawsuit against the Westies, and she followed with a Petition for an Injunction against Harassment in the Gilbert Municipal Court against TWestie.

Superintendent Christina Kishimoto sought to enjoin the statutorily and constitutionally protected rights of citizens to review public records by citing exercise of those rights as harassment. Her petition shows why Superintendent Kishimoto felt she needed this court order: “The Green’s [sic] were in my office bldg at 140 S Gilbert reviewing public records.”

[Keyboard to Westie: You would think one of those high school outspoken Language Arts teachers would tutor Superintendent Kishimoto on the correct way to form the plural of nouns, even when they’re proper nouns that appear to be difficult. It ain’t rocket science, it’s basic apostrophe application. Dr. Kishimoto’s elementary level literacy failings are embarrassing for an educator.]

Superintendent Kishimoto does not approve of citizens requesting the public records she and her staff create. In fact, Christina Kishimoto has shown that she will prevaricate, distort and embellish events in pursuit of her goals, such as trying to get an Injunction Against Harassment against someone she has never even seen.

But this wasn’t Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s first attempt at stifling journalistic coverage of what she wanted to do behind closed doors. No sireee, our gal Christina had a lot of practice in Hartford, Connecticut before she pulled these stunts in Gilbert, CT* Arizona:

Feb. 17, 2012, 12:19 p.m. This week, Hartford Superintendent of Schools Christina Kishimoto decided to bar the media from school board meeting about pending school leadership changes. According to Connecticut’s Freedom of Information law, these meetings are supposed to be open to the public. In his post for CT Confidential, Rick Green argues, “ The point is not whether Kishimoto’s lawyers can find legal justification for blocking reporters from a discussion about taxpayer financed schools. The point is that school government and school decision-making should be done in the open and not in secret. Public employees like Kishimoto should want as much open government as possible if they want parents, city residents and the state taxpayers to support the high-cost experiment going on in the city.”

Superintendent Christina Kishimoto calls herself a school reformer. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise to the good people of Gilbert, Arizona, that she intends to change the way public schools are run … as fast as she possibly can. Here’s the North Star guiding Superintendent Kishimoto’s real agenda:

Corporate education “reformers” attempt to convince Americans that public education is failing, many teachers are incompetent, and parents need market-based “school choice.” Their solution to improve education is removing schools from community control and handing them over to private management. It seems, however, that voters are not buying the corporate reform narrative.

There was a lot going on in back rooms while Christina Kishimoto was the superintendent in Hartford. Contemporaneous articles in the media show that issues usually vital to a community were made in secret in 2013 while Kishimoto was the boss. In one example, two different communities revolted when Christina Kishimoto recommended closing their neighborhood schools and turning them over to a private company. Kishimoto did this without getting public or board buy-in. From all appearances, Kishimoto was gaming the system to reward a principal who was at the same time a public school employee and also the head dude of one of the private companies Kishimoto favored. Public outcry was deafening, so the board retreated from their hasty initial decision. Media reaction was scathing:

The board subsequently met in private and emerged with another “turnaround plan,” which offers additional funds to a community school only if it is “redesigned” and offers “choice.” The only way parents will get more resources is to acquiesce to a redesign that will disrupt their school community. That is not school choice — that’s extortion.

Coming soon to a Gilbert Public School near you – school reformation. Coming soon to the next person who attempts to inspect public records that our gal Christina Kishimoto doesn’t want to release to the public – retaliation.  You see, Superintendent Kishimoto really wants to win the Darkest Recesses Award again next year!

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* Big Fat Asterisk: Christina Kishimoto doesn’t seem to know she’s not in Kansas Connecticut anymore. In her Petition for an Injunction Against Harassment, she wrote that she lives and works in Gilbert, CT.


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