James M. Rayphand has thrown his hat in the ring and will be running for an elective seat on the Board of Education, representing Saipan.
Rayphand, who is the executive director of the Northern Marianas Protection & Advocacy Systems, Inc., said it makes sense “for me to try and contribute” at the Board of Education level, having spent much of his adult life working in and around the local education system.
“I suspect that other members of the Board will find me to be a sensible colleague with some direct insight intao and practical knowledge of our Public School System,” he said.
A father of four (two who attend colleges in the United States and two who are in primary school in the local PSS, Rayphand said, “My kids have been the central focus of my life over the course of the last 20-plus years and I owe a great debt of gratitude to our Public School System and the numerous people throughout for their parts in raising them with me. I really can’t imagine parenting without the support I’ve gotten and continue to get from our schools’ support staff and teachers alike.”
Rayphand began his professional career as a classroom teacher at San Vicente Elementary School where he would later become vice principal and eventually acting principal for a few years before accepting a job with the NMPASI.
NMPASI, among other things, provide direct representation for students with disabilities in their efforts to secure “free appropriate public education.”
Additionally, Rayphand sits as a voting member on the Special Education State Advisory Panel and the Interagency Coordinating Council, both of which are mandated advisory boards for Part B and Part C of the Special Education Program within PSS.
“Like every other member of our community, I have a vested interest in our education system,” he said. “I consider it part of my inherent responsibility to ensure that it continues to provide appropriate educational and other training opportunities and that it stays responsive to the needs and desires of the community in pursuit of its objective to develop our community’s human potential.”
As a hobby of sorts, Rayphand runs a small pig farming operation.
“It’s important for me that our kids, in addition to getting a solid academic experience through school, also get the hands-on experience of practical, physical labor at home,” he said.
“As you might imagine, I’m big fan of vocational education, though not necessarily as an alternative to academics but rather as a supplement. I think too many of us tend to think of the two as being mutually exclusive when maybe we ought to be figuring out how to better intertwine them.”
Asked about what he hopes to accomplish as a member of the BOE, he said, “Maybe this will sound too simplistic, but we need to keep in perspective the intent of our BOE, which is simply to formulate policy in order to appropriately administer a public education and to exercise control over the Public School System through the Commissioner of Education. That’s what I intend to do. But, what that takes is a willingness to listen to the needs from inside the system, a capacity to understand and relate those needs to the interests of our students and then be able to facilitate a consensus in order to provide for those needs. Again in the simplest of terms, that’s what I intend to do.”
For people wanting to help either with his campaign or with efforts to improve our education system, he asks that they share their ideas on what they view as being needed to make our education system stronger or ideas about what they’d like to see from the BOE. People can reach him directly at via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/votejimboe/. (PR)