There’s a chance that John Raulerson may not finish the upcoming 2016-2017 school year at Marianas High School after he was given notice that his contract will no longer be renewed. His non-renewal was a big surprise since he helped put up a program that earned MHS numerous awards.
Raulerson teaches mathematics at MHS and is the coach of the Aeronautical Dolphins, the two-time national champion and five-time Pacific State Championship winner in the Real World Design Challenge.
The Saipan Tribune tried to get comments from MHS principal Cherlyn Cabrera, but she was off-island attending a conference in Denver, Colorado. She will return on Saipan on July 25. Even vice principal Bobby Cruz was overseas.
MHS vice principal Karen Alla said she could not say anything about the issue when the Saipan Tribune asked her for comment. “Per [CNMI State Board of Education] policy, information like that needs to go through the principal.”
“Ms. Cabrera is the one who could talk about and make a comment on the issue. Any other concern, we must wait for her return next week.”
Raulerson said he received his notice last Thursday and he has until Oct. 5, 2016, to teach at MHS. “She even told me to sign up for this year’s [RWDC] contest. That’s why I was surprised to learn that after two weeks, my contract is not going to be renewed.”
“I helped this kids, MHS students, win two national championships. They went up against schools that have a bigger population of students. And I came from Florida, which has more than 19 million people; why throw me a curve [ball]?”
He said that he spent more than 600 hours last year to help the Aeronautical Dolphins with their design and presentation. “Even after the Typhoon Soudelor, we’re working. We worked at the airport, at Mango Six, or any place where there is power.”
“The Aeronautical Dolphins is an asset to the CNMI. It helped put the CNMI on the map academically; that there’s this tiny island in the Western Pacific that has an aerodynamics program,” said Raulerson, who added that he’ll attend today’s Board of Education meeting to raise the issue of his non-renewal.
Raulerson said people in Washington, D.C. recognized the CNMI after the Aeronautical Dolphins’ first win and claiming a second national title further cemented their status as one of the teams to watch out for.
“Now I’m worried about the remaining members of the team. This [Aeronautical Dolphins] program has helped a lot of kids. No idea yet what’s my next plan. I might go to Kagman [High School] and combine students there with the remaining kids at MHS.”
On a positive note, Raulerson said a video of their Skywalker plane that was their entry in the last national finals would be shown to the Democratic National Convention on July 25 to 28 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
“This is the highest level of exposure in terms of education that these kids and the CNMI would get. Most of the Americans don’t know where’s Saipan or the CNMI. And they would be surprised to learn that there are kids from this island who are national champions.”
“There are kids on Saipan who are designing airplanes and learning more about aerodynamics and other [Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics] stuff. You will have a sitting U.S. President, Obama, and probably a future president [Hillary Clinton] in the convention.”
However, a former of student of Raulerson, who did not want to give his name to the Saipan Tribune, said he is not that great of a teacher since he only focuses his attention on the Aeronautical Dolphins and that’s why his other students are left behind with their lessons.