East Hawaii News

DOE: KKP Complex Superintendent Correa to Retire

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Mary Correa, complex area superintendent for the Kau-Kea’au-Pahoa complex, will retire on Dec. 31, according to the State of Hawai’i Department of Education.

Succeeding Correa will be career educator Chad Keone Farias, who has been the principal at Kea’au Elementary School since 2008.

“Mary has been an incredible leader and we wish her all the best as she enjoys a well-deserved retirement and more time with her family,” said Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “She leaves her area schools in great hands with Chad whom she has mentored over the years. This transition is an excellent example of preparing and building leadership within the DOE.”

With his entire career on the Big Island, Farias worked at various schools, including his alma mater, Hilo High School, where he held his first teaching job. He has also served as vice principal at Keonepoko Elementary.


As principal at Kea’au Elementary, Farias was one of the pioneers in digital learning among its staff and students. The initiative has boosted student achievement and helped to lower chronic absenteeism.

Farias was appointed by the BOE to the post on Sept. 16 and his role as complex superintendent will be effective Jan. 1.

Correa will retire with more than 40 years of service in the State’s DOE, the last decade spent at the forefront of the KKP Complex. Among her many roles in the past four decades, Correa has severed as an administrator at Hookena Elementary, Hilo Community School for Adults, Pahoa High and Intermediate School, and Hilo Intermediate School.


Additionally, Correa taught at Waiakeawaena Elementary School, Laupahoehoe Elementary School, Waimea Elementary and Intermediate School, and Saint Joseph Elementary and Intermediate School.

Known for her phrase, “If can, can… if no can, how can,” Correa challenged educators to overcome severe socioeconomic barriers and raise student achievement among what had been historically known as Hawai’i’s lowest performing schools.

Schools in the KKP complex have since emerged as a successful improvement model for the state after receiving targeted supports such as “Zones of School Innovation” in the DOE’s Race to the Top federal grant.


About 5,500 students attend the nine schools in the KKP complex. The complex covers the largest geographic region of any other in the state.

Over the past four months, Correa’s leadership was vital in the weathering of two hurricane threats that closed schools, as well as the Puna lava flow, which forced the closure of Keonepoko Elementary indefinitely. Correa also led her KKP team in ensuring a seamless education transition for 1,000 students that relocated to other schools within the complex as the community faces the threat of the June 27 lava flow.

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