Questions and Answers with Paul Zina Kauai Complex Area Superintendent

Let’s get to know Paul Zina your new Complex Area Superintendent

Q Your First and Last name:
A Paul Zina

Q Your official title:
A Kaua’i Complex Area Superintendent

Q How did you feel working on July 1st, your first official day?
A It was very exciting.  I had been working closely with Bill Arakaki (Retired Kaua’i Complex Area Superintendent) since January and it is clear no one could have expected the transition time we had to be as demanding as it was due to the pandemic.  There is nothing quite like starting a new job where you feel such a profound responsibility to support our children and their families.

Q What schools did you attend and degrees did you earn?
A Short version of this is I hold a Bed in Secondary English Education from University of Hawaii, Manoa (1997) and my Hawaii Department of Education Professional School Administrator Certificate (2007).  I graduated High School from Oak Park River Forest High School, in Oak Park, Illinois in 1988.  I am proud to have received a great public school education.

Q Your message for parents and students?
A Believe in yourselves.  Find your voice and share it with others to make our island home worthy of the lives that share it.

Q What is your vision for Kauai’s public and charter schools?
A I believe in a simple idea.  Improve the quality of the conversation between all stakeholders supporting education on Kaua’i and in the community abroad.  We are a special island community with very unique needs in each area of our island.  And our island home is part of a larger global community that we can establish ourselves as a leader in the education world and beyond.

Q What is important to you?
A Remember who you are and where you come from before you try to understand how you can impact the community you live in.  We have a direct relationship with the land we live on and the people we share our lives with.  Listening to others means not only hearing them, but seeing the world through their eyes as best as you can.  Only then do we truly see problems as opportunities and we then become part of finding solutions.

Q What does Aloha mean to you?
A We literally share our breath with each other and the world around us, now more than ever we understand this.  It is both a physical and spiritual understanding.  Sharing Aloha is being mindful of each breath we share being an opportunity to share what is best in our lives with each other and perpetuating what is best about living in Hawai’i with each other and world.

Q Will you bring that same Aloha Sprit that Bill Arakaki had?
A I am not sure anyone can express Aloha in the same way Bill Arakaki has in his esteemed life as an educator and leader in Hawai’i.  I do hope that I can continue his kind and caring manner of leading our Kaua’i DOE while adding my own strengths to the position of Complex Area Superintendent.

Q What will you contribute to DOE and schools on the island?
A I am passionate and thoughtful in my approach to living and learning.  I bring a wide range of life experiences as well as having lived in many areas of Kaua’i.  This gives me a unique perspective when helping schools develop the best possible path to their success.

Q What do you like to do for fun, and what do people not know about you?
A I love to surf, write poetry, and conversation with just about anyone on just about any topic.  It is the way I learn from others – listening.

Q Do you have a family? People that inspire you to keep going?
A Yes I do have family.  I am married with two children and am one of seven brothers (by blood, foster and adopted – God bless my mother and father for managing that).  Wife Marites, son Steven and daughter Haley.  They are the loves of my life and are the reason I do everything I do.  I want the work I do to leave the island better and stronger as a result.  Our children deserve that.  I work for my family and Kaua’i children, always.

Q Do you have an open door policy?
A Absolutely.  I am very accessible and plan to keep it that way as much as possible.  Hard to listen to people, if I can’t meet with them, right?  : )

Q How can teachers, principals and parents reach you?
A By phone at the Complex Area Office 808-274-3502, via social media
Twitter: @PaulZina
Facebook: @PaulZina

Q What will happen next for Kaua‘i’s schools?
A We will continue reopening plans for sy2020-2021 and respond to the changing pandemic environment to the best of our ability.  A huge part of that planning is continuing to develop our Kaua’i Distance Learning Project helping families in need connect to the internet and get access to devices, along with supporting schools with important professional development.

Q Do you have a favorite saying or quote that keeps you going?
A “Learning is using the thread of human relationships to stitch together patches of life experience into a quiltwork of community. This quiltwork is our history.  It keeps us warm and safe during times of need and allows us to approach the future surrounded by loved ones.” I said this to my mother and father when they asked me why I wanted to be a teacher.