Dr. Alfred Ada is the new Education commissioner, taking over the post left vacant by Glenn Muña, who resigned from the Public School System in November.
Ada, who was selected by the CNMI Board of Education last week, served his first day as commissioner yesterday, saying he is ready to hurdle all the challenges that PSS faces.
Ada was welcomed by key PSS staff and personnel at the PSS Education Commissioner’s Office on Capital Hill yesterday.
In a later interview with Saipan Tribune, Ada said that he received notice of his acceptance from BOE vice chair Herman Atalig on Friday. “He called me to congratulate me and I was very happy. …I walked into the interview with an open mind, saying if I get chosen to be commissioner, then I understand it’s time,” Ada said.
He cites former Education commissioner Dr. Rita Hocog Inos as his inspiration as she was his mentor during his earlier time with PSS. Ada said it was actually Inos who told him that he would be a perfect fit as commissioner.
“It was not until she believed in me and told me that I could be commissioner someday, and I am thankful for her support,” he said.
Ada is no stranger to the education field, as he has over 25 years of experience as a teacher at San Vicente Elementary School and Tanapag Elementary School, and served as a literacy coach at Kagman Elementary School prior to becoming commissioner. Ada also served as principal of both William S. Reyes Elementary School and Kagman High School.
In the U.S. mainland, Ada was a licensed substitute teacher at Multnomah County, Portland.
“I came back to Saipan with my personal and professional goals interwoven, and the opportunity and dream to lead PSS brought me home,” he said.
He knows he has a lot of things to accomplish and Ada recognizes that PSS’ biggest challenge right now is its recovery after Super Typhoon Yutu in October 2018. He said he is aware that the repairs of schools is the priority and he intends to provide the support needed to create a “conductive environment in schools.”
He promises to spend time in the coming weeks and months to listen, learn, and observe to determine what should be PSS’ next steps.
“There are currently six schools observing half-day sessions and we intend to create balance in the scheduling, as other schools have more instructional time than these six schools,” he said.
Ada emphasized the importance of PSS preparing its students to become college-ready, career-ready, family- ready, community-ready, and world-ready. “This is the focus of our daily work and everything we do,” he said.