Re-elected Board of Education members Marylou Ada and Tanya King, along with their new colleague Janice Tenorio, took their oaths of office during an investiture ceremony yesterday. Veteran member Herman Guerrero was chosen as chairman of the CNMI 13th State Board of Education.
The oath-taking was administered by Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexandro Castro and was witnessed by key government officials, including Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP), Lt. Gov. Eloy S. Inos, Superior Court associate judge David Wiseman, and Saipan Mayor Donald Flores. Members of the public, mostly parents, were also present.
In her opening remarks, Education Commissioner Rita A. Sablan, Ed.D., expressed confidence in the capability of the new board to sustain the progress of education on the islands.
Sablan's leadership team also handed out plaques of appreciation to outgoing board member Galvin Deleon Guerrero and to Ada and King, who both sought re-election and won another term in office.
In recognizing the hard work and commitment of the 12th BOE, Sablan enumerated the many achievements of the board for CNMI students, including, among others, the system's success in implementing the highly qualified personnel mandate, the transition to a new district-wide accreditation, the implementation of common core standards, development of personnel evaluation tools, and several school projects and policies. She also commended the partnership shown to PSS by the Executive Branch and the Delegate's Office in achieving more for education.
According to Sablan, the board's newest member, Tenorio, is no stranger to the PSS because she is the president of the system's Parents Advisory Council and a long-time advocate for all parents on the three islands.
Besides Guerrero, other officers elected include Lucia Blanco-Maratita, who was chosen as the new board vice chairperson, while Tenorio is board secretary.
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The newly elected board chairman urged stakeholders yesterday to continue to support student education. He pleaded with the Executive Branch to act on two vital positions in the board that have been vacant for many years: the public school teachers' representative and the non-public school teachers' representative.
Guerrero is also seeking the government's help in securing a lower utility rate for public schools as well as remedies on PSS issues involving unpaid retirement contributions.
For the new Legislature, Guerrero wants to tap unused Capital Improvement Project monies to continue school repairs and renovations and the building of Koblerville Junior High School to ease overcrowding at Hopwood Junior High School.
Outgoing board member Deleon Guerrero emphasized the importance of having teachers' representation on the board. Keeping these positions unfilled, he said, is an injustice to all teachers.
Despite his departure from the board, Deleon Guerrero vowed his continued commitment to help the system through the PSS Foundation.