MCS names its top teacher, support staff for 2023

Posted on Feb 01 2023


Jener A. Pineda is awarded Mount Carmel School’s 2022-2023 Teacher of the Year during the school’s Catholic Schools Week: Celebrating Our Faculty and Staff Ceremony. (MCS)

Mount Carmel School participated yesterday in the national celebration of Catholic Schools Week and named Jener Pineda as its 2023 Teacher of the Year and Suzanne Jetnil as the 2023 Support Staff of the Year.

Besides Jetnil, Shyaralyn San Nicolas was named a finalist for the 2023 Support Staff of the Year award. The finalists for Teacher of the Year award included Zeno Deleon Guerrero, Tracy Taimanao, and Criselda Aldan.

The announcement of the awardees came about as Mount Carmel School is celebrating Catholic Schools Week and the theme of the day on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, was “Celebrating Our Faculty and Staff.”

The faculty and staff eligible for the awards were scored based on their performance, classroom observations, and involvement in extracurricular activities during the past year.

The 2023 Support Staff of the Year, Jetnil, has worked at Mount Carmel School for four years. Prior to her role as office manager, Jetnil also served as a third-grade homeroom teacher at MCS.

Jetnil is a product of Mount Carmel School, the Public School System, and is a Northern Marianas College graduate from the School of Education. Beyond her duties as a teacher and office manager, Jetnil has also assisted in organizational projects throughout the summer and is regarded as a kind and hardworking professional among her colleagues.

Suzanne Jetnil is awarded Mount Carmel School’s 2022-2023 Support Staff of the Year during the school’s Catholic Schools Week: Celebrating Our Faculty and Staff Ceremony. (MCS)


All the awardees during Mount Carmel School’s celebration of its faculty and staff stand for a group photo. In the photo, from left to right on the top row, are MCS president Frances Taimanao, MCS principal Filmah Buenaflor, MCS business manager John S. Blanco, MCS Parent Council secretary Mai Mendola, MCS Parent Council president Tina Crisostimo Tudela, MCS director of Institutional Development Victoria Deleon Guerrero, and MCS school counselor Tobed Smith. At the bottom row, left to right, is the 2023 Support Staff of the Year Finalist Shyaralyn San Nicolas, 2023 Support Staff of the Year Suzanne Jetnil, 2023 Teacher of the Year Jener Pineda, 2023 Teacher of the Year finalist Criselda Aldan, 2023 Teacher of the Year finalist Tracy Taimanao, and 2023 Teacher of the Year finalist Zeno Deleon Guerrero Jr. (MCS)


All of Mount Carmel School’s faculty and staff take a group photo after receiving their certificates of appreciation during the 2022-2023 Catholic Schools Week: Celebrating Our Faculty and Staff Ceremony on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023. (MCS)

“I feel very humbled to receive the award for Support Staff of the Year and I promise to continue to do my best in supporting my fellow coworkers and our students,” said Jetnil. “I would like to thank God for the blessings He’s given me throughout my life. I would also like to thank my family, friends, and MCS Family for their love and support in all my endeavors.”

The finalist for Support Staff of the Year, San Nicolas, is a teacher aide for the K4 homeroom. San Nicolas, otherwise known as “Ms. Shy,” has been with Mount Carmel School for two years and has been instrumental in organizational projects and activities at Mount Carmel School.

The third runner-up for Teacher of the Year was Deleon Guerrero, Jr. (2017 MCS AlumKnight). He serves as a high school English teacher, Theatre Club co-advisor, Student Council co-advisor, and the current faculty representative.

The second runner-up for the Teacher of the Year was Taimanao, who is currently a K5 homeroom teacher, a devout member of the San Vicente Parish, and an adjunct instructor at Northern Marianas College teaching elementary Chamorro.

The first runner-up for the 2023 Teacher of the Year was Aldan, who is a long-time MCS employee and has dedicated six years at MCS but taught at the Public School System for nine years. Currently, Aldan teaches English language arts, is a club advisor for Vox Knights and the National Junior Honor Society. As part of her community service efforts outside of MCS, Aldan serves a member of the board of directors of the Western Pacific Regions of the National Speech and Debate Association and the International Thespians Society. Aldan is regarded as a lively and beloved individual at MCS, often bringing smiles to the hearts of her school community.

MCS’ 2023 Teacher of the Year, Jener, was named a finalist for the award in 2022 during the Catholic Schools Week: Celebrating Our Faculty and Staff Ceremony. While this is Pineda’s fourth year at MCS, he brings over 20 years of educational experience and leadership.

Since joining the MCS team, Pineda has served in many capacities that continue to help the school fulfill its mission, “to educate the whole person to see with Christ’s eyes.” Beyond his duties as the math and theology instructor, Pineda is the campus minister, Faith Learning Community chairperson, Leadership team member, MCS choir advisor, religious retreat instructor, and coach for MCS Cross Country Team.

His service in the community includes being a lay minister in Kristo Rai Parish, a choir member, and lector for Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral. He is also the Mount Carmel Children’s Choir Coordinator and a member of the Couple’s for Christ.

“First of all, all the glory and praises to our Lord Almighty God who always strengthens me. Thank you very much for my family—my life and inspiration. Of course Bishop Ryan Jimenez for the divine guidance, the school board, and the leadership team headed by our very own Mrs. Frances Taimanao, my dear colleagues who I also offer this award for their hard work and dedication, our dearly beloved students—the reason why I am here—and parents headed by the Parent Council,” said Pineda.

“I am so thankful and grateful for this very prestigious award. This won’t be possible without the grace and love of God. He always strengthens and guides me in everything I do. Every day is always a learning and exciting experience with my students. In everything — love and serve the Lord.”

In addition to the special awards given, all Mount Carmel School employees were awarded certificates of appreciation. Other awards distributed include the Perfect Attendance Award, which was awarded to Francis San Nicolas. The last award given was the Service Award, which is given to employees who have served at Mount Carmel School for 12 years. MCS employees who are given this award become honorary “AlumKnights” of Mount Carmel School. This year, the Service Award was awarded to Tobed Smith, Filmah Buenaflor, and MCS president Frances Taimanao.

Taimanao commends all the awardees and employees for their commitment and dedication to Mount Carmel School. “Catholic Schools Week is a beloved time for the school as we get to celebrate all our community members that help make MCS successful. Today, we celebrate our employees who continue to dedicate themselves to providing a quality education for our students and embody our mission every day, ‘To educate the whole person to see with Christ’s eyes,” she said.

Catholic Schools Week is an annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States. 2023 marks the 49th year for the national organization to recognize the importance of Catholic education and all the efforts of its stakeholders at each Catholic institution. Mount Carmel School has participated in this celebration since 1995, making this the school’s 28th year celebrating Catholic Schools Week. (PR)

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