Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

CEO to Teacher: An Interview with Randy Moore: As an Executive with the Harold K. L. Castle Foundation, Randy Moore Began to Explore Issues of School Improvement. He Concluded That Good Leadership Equates with School Success. and Then He Decided to Switch Career Paths and Become an Educator Himself

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

CEO to Teacher: An Interview with Randy Moore: As an Executive with the Harold K. L. Castle Foundation, Randy Moore Began to Explore Issues of School Improvement. He Concluded That Good Leadership Equates with School Success. and Then He Decided to Switch Career Paths and Become an Educator Himself

Article excerpt

THE INVOLVEMENT of business leaders in supporting educational improvement and school reform has a long history, but the current wave was launched in the 1980s with the release of A Nation at Risk and books such as Winning the Brain Race, co-authored by former Xerox chairman David Kearns. (1) Kearns went on to become deputy secretary of education under Lamar Alexander during George H. W. Bush's Administration.

School improvement efforts continued when in 1996 the National Governors Association collaborated with IBM to convene a summit of 40 governors and 49 corporate executives. The summit resulted in an agreement to pursue higher academic standards, related assessments of student learning, and technological innovations in the nation's schools.

The Business Roundtable, a group of chief executive officers of the nation's largest corporations, has had a long-standing strategy of having business leaders lobby for higher standards in education, primarily at the state level. The Business Roundtable promotes standards-based education reform with a focus on the policy changes needed to produce measurable results. It supports the efforts of state business coalitions to improve educational performance at all levels and provides an effective voice for the business community on critical education and work-force policies that affect economic growth.

In addition to these organized efforts, several individual business leaders have embraced the cause of improving our nation's schools, including Robert Wilmers, a Buffalo business leader who volunteered to pay for the district's superintendent search and to supplement the new district chief's salary. (2) And perhaps one of the most outspoken and active business leaders in education reform efforts has been former IBM chairman Louis Gerstner, whose work in education spans three decades.

While many leading corporate executives have contributed in various ways to efforts to improve public education, I know of only one who has stepped down from his CEO position to actually teach in the public schools for an extended period of time. Randy Moore, a longtime member of the Hawaii Business Roundtable, was president of Oceanic Properties, Inc.--now known as Castle & Cooke Hawaii--from 1984 to 1986, when he became president and director of Molokai Ranch, Ltd. In 1989 he left that position to serve as president and director of the Kaneohe Ranch Company, Ltd., and as executive vice president of the Harold K. L. Castle Foundation.

Then in 2001, Moore left the business world to teach mathematics in one of Honolulu's inner-city middle schools. He completed a state-approved teacher preparation program while teaching in Hawaii's single school district on an emergency credential. He had taught for just over three years when the state superintendent asked him to oversee the implementation of Act 51, Hawaii's school "reinvention" legislation that, among other things, calls for more authority and decision making at the school level.

A former Peace Corps volunteer, Randy Moore has many outstanding qualities, but what has struck me most are his thoughtfulness and his humility. His unique experience as a corporate executive turned classroom teacher has provided him with insights that deserve our attention.

Hitz: What motivated you to seek a teaching position?

Moore: I had two related jobs at the time. One was president of Kaneohe Ranch, which managed real estate owned by various family trusts established by Harold Castle and his wife for the benefit of their children, grandchildren, and their descendants. The other was executive vice president of the Harold K. L. Castle Foundation, a local family foundation established by Harold Castle for the benefit of the community. The foundation, along with other nonprofit and corporate grantmakers, had long grappled with the question of what could be done to help the public schools but had not come to a conclusion. …

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