Former Guam senator fired by college in 2010
The Board of Regents of the Northern Marianas College is offering the position of president to Dr. Carmen Fernandez, who was fired by the same college in 2010 for the unauthorized changing of students’ grades.
During a break in a special board meeting last Sept. 30 at NMC’s As Terlaje campus, NMC interim president David Attao confirmed that Fernandez would be offered the position as NMC president, succeeding Dr. Sharon Hart, who went on an extended leave until the end of her contract.
“Through the interior selection process, the presidential search committee came up [with] two candidates, and are making an offer to Dr. Carmen Fernandez, former president of NMC,” said Attao.
Should the offer for president of NMC be accepted, Attao would be reverting back to his former position of dean of Administration and Resource Development.
In June 2011, Fernandez filed a lawsuit against the college and four members of its board in relation to her termination in April 2010.
Fernandez earlier sued NMC and some regents at the district court but all six charges were dismissed in May 2011.
Attao said he is excited to be working with Fernandez once again. “I am very excited to help the new president come in and transition, so we’re going to give [her] the updates on what our strategic plan is, and how we’ve been planning to execute that, as well as financial information, accreditation information that needs to be addressed in due time, and any other things,” said Attao.
“The board has diligently kept me here as interim president, but transitioning between me and the new president is very important, not only for the college’s stability but also for keeping the flow of getting the students to graduate and meeting their educational goals.”
Attao believes the transition would not be a problem. “This is her office and she was here before, so she would know the culture and behavior they are expecting. It shouldn’t be a difficult transition.”
Despite being distant from the selection process, Attao thinks there are certain qualities and characteristics that should be present in the selection of a president to improve, if not maintain the current state of NMC and the community.
“I want a good leader that can help us with this process, help the college grow, help our community, and of course, help the students,” said Attao. “We try our best as a team here to keep the college stable and meet all the standards and accreditations, and everything we need to do. There are things that still need to be done, but that goes for any institution. In quality management you want to continuously have change, and I don’t think this should be a major issue.”
Attao also asks for the consideration of the community as NMC straightens a few things out.
“I want to ask the community for their patience and thank them for their understanding, and also to ask the college community to help the college and help the new president with the future of our community college. We want to ask them to be open, with an understanding and hopefully we could all work together as a team.”