Board of Education chair Herman T. Guerrero said Friday that he will seek another term in office in the upcoming November election. Two seats on the education board are up for grabs.
Guerrero, whose four-year-term is expiring this year, is a voting member of the education board. He was first elected to the position in 2001, where he was also chosen as its chairman.
If re-elected, this will mark Guerrero’s fourth term in office. The two BOE seats up for grabs in this coming general election includes one for Saipan and another one for Tinian. Incumbent member Lucy Blanco-Maratita, however, has yet to announce plans whether or not she will seek another term.
As the longest serving board member, Guerrero said he wants to do more for the islands’ public school children.
His greatest motivation to seek re-election, he said, is his only son, who currently a student at Saipan Southern High School.
“It’s a commitment that I told myself that as long as my son is in PSS, I want to show my full support to our education system,” he said Friday during a break at a board meeting.
Since joining the board 13 years ago, Guerrero cited significant changes and progress achieved by the Public School System. He said he’d seen the remarkable turnaround of the system’s quality of instruction and services.
Among the specifics is the implementation of the common core standards, the accreditation works, the technology expansion, extensive professional development, the certification of staff, evaluation tools for all system personnel—all contributing to the success of public school students throughout the years.
“I am very proud of where PSS has been and where it is now. And as a board, I do believe that we’ve done an excellent job for our students. One of the reasons I am seeking re-election is also to see a continuity of the commissioner’s initiatives,” said Guerrero, describing Education Commissioner Dr. Rita A. Sablan as a “very passionate and focused” leader for the school system.
According to Guerrero, one of the huge successes noted at PSS is the offering of alternative education and the Lina’la Malawasch Academy—programs that cater to at-risk youths and students to ensure that they complete high school.
Guerrero said he fought for years to make it happen for students. He described these programs as “safety nets” for those who are struggling to finish high school on time.
“For me, students in these programs are the real models because they made the choice to complete their high school despite being challenged,” he said.
If he will be given a new mandate, Guerrero vows that he will continue that effort to bring more success to the system. For the chairman, technology now plays pivotal role in children’s education.
He also emphasized the need for PSS to “think outside the box” to fulfill the high level of accountability and transparency expected of the system.
When asked about his edge over any potential opponent to the post, Guerrero said: “I still have the strong passion for education and I believe that every child regardless of who they are, they deserve a quality education. I am willing to stand up for education…and I think I have proven myself when our people gave me their confidence all these years.”