Rita Sablan to retire as Education commissioner

Rita A. Sablan

Rita A. Sablan

Education Commissioner Dr. Rita A. Sablan will be retiring after her contract ends next month, Aug. 19. In a letter addressed to Board of Education chair Herman T. Guerrero, Sablan reiterated what she wrote in a letter earlier this year.

“This is to inform you that after consultation with my family, they have urged me to retire at the end of my second term which ends on August 19. This is to reaffirm my April 29 letter of my intent to retire at the end of my term,” Sablan said in the letter obtained by Saipan Tribune.

The former Garapan Elementary School principal also notified the board in 2012 that she would retire after her first term citing the same reasons, but BOE asked her to stay for another four years. She replaced David Borja who failed to complete his four-year term in 2009.

Sablan also apologized to the BOE for the timing of her letter since the Public School System is busy preparing for the coming school year. “But I’m confident that the key management and school leaders will be able to carry on the vision and mission of the school district in the years ahead.”

She added she enjoyed the eight years of serving the CNMI as commissioner of Education. “I’m hopeful that the school district’s progress over the last eight years will continue to make an impact as we prepare our students to be college and career ready, and to be successful in their lives.”

Sablan was even the recipient of the Peter Brice Award given in the closing banquet of the 40th Annual Pacific Circle Consortium on July 7, 2016, at the Hibiscus Hall of the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan.

Her retirement also comes in an election year with BOE’s three members up for re-election—Marylou Ada and Janice Tenorio on Saipan and Denise Tanya R. King for Rota. Herman Manglona Atalig (Rota) and Andrew Lujan Orsini (Saipan) have already filed their respective BOE candidacies at the Commonwealth Election Commission.

Saipan Tribune tried to get BOE chair Guerrero’s comments but has yet to get comments as of this writing. He said, in a previous interview, that the commissioner’s contract is still under evaluation. A BOE meeting is scheduled on Aug. 1, Monday.

Tanapag Middle School Parent-Teacher-Student Association president Kodep Ogumoro, who during a special board meeting last July 7 questioned the board’s transparency in evaluating Sablan, said, “My comment then is with the transparency of the proceedings and not directly to the commissioner.”

“It is addressed to the board in general since it affects the operations of PSS. If that’s the case (Sablan’s retirement), I wish the commissioner the best of luck and enjoy every minute of spending more time with her family,” Ogumoro told Saipan Tribune.

He added transparency in general could help address the problems at PSS and BOE. “Nothing that I’ve said and done was against commissioner Sablan. All I’ve done was for the interest of the kids and employees, and transparency.”

“Transparency, that must be the way how every system works. We must know what’s happening since this is a system where our kids are in,” added the BOE parent advisory council member.

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Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez has been covering local and international sports events for more than 15 years. His sports writing career started when he joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, when he was in college.

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  • Mamaya Na Lang

    So if we read between the lines (which we shouldn’t have to if the reporting was a bit more direct) Dr. Sablan may have received a poor evaluation from the Board. Evidently this may have prompted her decision to submit her resignation. So what was the problem with Rita? When that incident occurred over her allegedly driving a government car for personal use, right or wrong, one could conclude that she was targeted by her enemies. Whom did she piss off?

    • Freakonomics

      By more direct reporting do you mean stating she sued the BOE to take the Commissioner job away from David Borja instead of

      “She replaced David Borja who failed to complete his four-year term in 2009.”

  • jjcruz

    Much more informative article than the other paper.

    So is it really retirement this time, or the same strategy as last time to have the board come to her rather than undergo questioning if she appeared to want the job?

    If the board thought she really planned to retire, why would they not act on her April letter and begin the hiring process for a new Commissioner rather than publicly claiming they were engaging in the review process for renewal.

    And this makes the issue of transparency by the Board Chair when questioned by the Tanapag folks all the more bizarre in that Herman claimed it was to protect Rita’s rights as an employee that he refused to give the public any information about what was going on.

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