The CNMI Board of Education elected Gregory P. Borja as its new chairperson during the board’s first meeting of 2022 yesterday, with Antonio “Toram” Borja elected vice chairperson and Maisie B. Tenorio reelected secretary/treasurer.
The meeting also saw outgoing BOE chair Andrew L. Orsini expressing his gratitude to all board members for working together and deciding on matters unanimously.
In an email to Saipan Tribune yesterday, Orsini said he will continue to “work for the students of the CNMI to ensure that their learning is the highest quality” and will do that “whether I am chairman or just a board member.” Orsini remains a member of the BOE.
Orsini also provided Saipan Tribune with a transcript of his statement to the board: “When I came on as the chairman of the Board of Education, the Public School System saw its hardest times. The pandemic affected our ability to provide quality learning to students, the economy affected our ability to pay our teachers, and the Public School System seemed unable to fulfill its constitutional mandate to provide education for all.
“When I was elected chairman of the board, I made several promises: to restore working hours of teachers, to get students back in the classroom, to get the Public School System environmentally and financially sustainable, and when we worked together with the [Commonwealth Utilities Corp.] board to have solar panels in every school, I was so happy to say that I’ve kept and accomplished everything I promised.
“I was an advocate for voluntary vaccination, not forced, and I am pleased to know our school system has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.
“I was an advocate for incentivizing employee retention and, unlike other school systems where large numbers of teachers resigned or walked out, our school teachers have continued working through all the problems that arose.
“The PSS can celebrate the fact that it is now focused on rebuilding damaged schools. It is now emphasizing Chamorro/ Carolinian education. It is giving higher wages for school maintenance and support staff, who’ve been working hard at our schools for many years.
“I’ve been an advocate for all of this and can celebrate all these accomplishments,” he said.
The other BOE members are teacher representative Ms. Phyllis Ain, CNMI private schools representative Dr. Ron Snyder, and student representative Jed Theresa.