Bruce Anderson is stepping down as the Department of Education's superintendent for the Baldwin-Kekaulike-Maui complex to take the job as principal of Maui High School, he confirmed Thursday.
"I've been thinking about my career," he said, "and I want to get back working with kids."
Anderson, 61, of Makawao has been superintendent for five years and said he enjoys working with principals and teachers. But he said he doesn't have day-to-day contact with the same students and teachers.
"That's the root of what we do," he said. "I'm looking forward to it."
Anderson will replace longtime Maui High Principal Randy Yamanuha, who retired earlier this year. Desiree Anderson, a vice principal at the school and no relation to the new school principal, has been serving as interim principal.
The timing for when Bruce Anderson will take the reins at Maui High has not been decided, he said, because a replacement needs to be found for him as complex superintendent.
"We need to work out a transition plan," he said.
Department of Education spokeswoman Sandra Goya said Anderson is working on a transition plan with Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe.
"Everyone wants to ensure a smooth transition as potential candidates are being considered for the Baldwin-Kekaulike-Maui complex area superintendent position," she said. "With that in mind, an effective date for Mr. Anderson's new job as principal of Maui High School has not been set yet."
Goya said that once a superintendent candidate is selected, DOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi will submit her appointment recommendation to the state Board of Education for its approval.
Before being selected as superintendent, Anderson was a school renewal specialist, working with Upcountry principals, he said. And prior to that, he was Makawao Elementary School principal for eight years, vice principal at Wailuku Elementary for four years and a teacher at Paia and Makawao elementary schools.
"I hope I've made a difference," he said.
In addition to his appointment, Anderson said that Pukalani Elementary School Principal Chad Okamoto has been selected as principal for Pu'u Kukui Elementary School, which is under construction in Wailuku. That school is scheduled to open next fall.
Currently, there are two open positions for elementary school principals on Maui - at Pukalani and Kamalii elementary schools, Anderson said. Both positions are being advertised.
Kehau Luuwai is interim principal at Kamalii Elementary in Kihei.