Tinian businessman Philip Mendiola-Long yesterday was sworn into the 16th CNMI Board of Education in their office conference room on Capitol Hill, effectively completing the board.
BOE legal counsel Tiberius Mocanu yesterday officiated the oath-taking of the fifth and final voting member of the board, gubernatorial appointee Mendiola-Long, after former Tinian representative to the BOE Florine Hofschneider declined to seek reelection citing personal reasons.
In an interview yesterday, Mendiola-Long noted that he has yet to set his goals and aspirations for the Public School System, however, without first making his first rounds to all schools in the CNMI to get a “hands-on” experience for possible improvement policies.
“It’s going to be difficult to set goals at this point,” Mendiola-Long said yesterday. “…I want to learn as much as I can and learn where the BOE is going toward at this point and add my experience and background to anything we [would be] discussing,” he said.
Mendiola-Long is chief executive officer for Tinian-based Bridge Investment Corp.
“At this point, the priority is to consume as much information as possible to learn about PSS, its administration, and its operations and then have the ability to set priorities and goals based on that,” he said. Mendiola-Long further noted that he already set up a meeting with Education Commissioner Glenn Muna to conduct tours on the schools under PSS.
“I’d like to do research first…I’ve got to consume and study first,” he continued.
Janice A. Tenorio, 16th BOE chairwoman, in an interview yesterday noted that she is looking forward to working with Mendiola-Long. She added that she already has plans to assign Mendiola-Long and BOE freshman Andrew Orsini into specialized committees to maximize their contributions.
“With Mendiola-Long’s business background, he can contribute in regards to [things] that all the other boards or unaware of,” she said, adding that most BOE members have minimal business backgrounds.
Former chair Marylou Ada and Orsini were in human resources, while Rota representative, retired sergeant major Herman Atalig, was previously a teacher. Tenorio herself was in customer service and is currently an executive at a major local telecommunications company.