Mount Carmel School announced this week that it had hired Barbara Merfalen as its new vice principal.
Merfalen comes to the school with degrees in education and about three decades of experience in K-12 and higher education as both an instructor and an administrator. Merfalen holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Elementary Education from the University of Guam, a graduate studies in Administration and Supervision from the University of Guam, and a Masters of Education in International Studies from Framingham University. In the 1990s and early 2000s, she taught in the CNMI Public School system, where she was eventually appointed to lead Kagman Elementary School as its vice principal. In 2006, Merfalen was hired as an instructor at Northern Marianas College’s School of Education. While at the college, she rose to serve as director for the School of Education and eventually as the college’s dean of academic programs and services.
Upon leaving Northern Marianas College, Merfalen was sought after by many organizations on island, but she decided to come to Mount Carmel School. When asked why she made that decision, Merfalen said, “I felt guided by God to return to my roots as an educator in early childhood and elementary education, but especially in a Catholic school.” In addition to her experience in education, Merfalen has been very active in her parish as a minister and as a Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) teacher.
Since coming to the school, Merfalen has been very happy. As she put it, “I don’t know how to put it in words, but it feels good being here. I feel respected, appreciated, and welcomed. It feels like home.”
Looking forward, Merfalen plans to improve instructional quality by helping faculty grow professionally. “Every student can learn, but I also believe that every teacher and staff can learn, including myself.” In particular, Merfalen intends to use and share research-based strategies for best practices in teaching and learning.
Merfalen also noted, “Just as the school’s mission is to educate the whole person to see with Christ’s eyes, I hope to also lead by example in how I treat my colleagues.”
School principal Frances Taimanao has worked with Merfalen before in the CNMI Public School System. “She accomplished a lot in starting our school community in Kagman, and she knows many of the other PSS veterans that are here at Mount Carmel School,” said Taimanao.
She added, “We all respect and love her and are so excited that she is joining our family!”
School president Galvin Deleon Guerrero is also very happy that Merfalen agreed to join the school’s leadership team. He said, “Mrs. Merfalen is an accomplished educator and leader who is respected by virtually everyone in our community.” He added, “She brings a wealth of skill, expertise, and experience that will undoubtedly help our teachers and students, and she does everything with a big heart and a warm smile.” (PR)