Kani established Teacher Academy at MHS in 1989
The Senate has presented former educator Joan Bloedel Kani with a resolution to honor her “exemplary and outstanding services to the people of the CNMI.”
Kani established the Teacher Academy program at Marianas High School in 1989 during the term of Education Commissioner William S. Torres. The Teacher Academy continued until its closure in 2009 when the Public School System and the Northern Marianas College reached a compromise that would transition the program to NMC.
During a Senate session Friday, Senate President Victor Hocog (R-Rota) and Senate Vice President Jude U. Hofschneider (R-Tinian) and the other senators handed the Senate resolution to the 89-year-old Kani, who was with her husband, some family members, former and current Public School System officials, and former students.
Hofschneider introduced the resolution.
According to the resolution, Kani has selflessly dedicated her career to serving the needs of the local education system “at a time when the future stability of providing for a meaningful educational foundation for the youth was [in] jeopardy.”
William Torres said he couldn’t help but think of the over 400 students that have matriculated under the Teacher Academy program, majority of whom are still with the Public School System.
One of Kani’s students, Glenn Muña, actually became Education commissioner, Torres said.
“To me, that’s the epitome of this [Teacher Academy] program under your leadership. It is a program that is infused with cross-cultural perspective. This is a program that is dedicated on a personal level. It is a program that infuses passion and commitment for the life of an individual,” Torres said.
Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada said Kani not only touches lives but the hearts of many today. “Just like a spark that turns into a flame, your selfless energy of love and care for education has illuminated a torch to bring light to the hope and vision of the CNMI and the students of the CNMI,” Ada said.
He said the CNMI greatly respects and honors Kani’s accomplishments. “Thank you for living a purposeful life and that now, I can say that the CNMI Public School System is way better than before you came to Saipan,” Ada said.
Kani was born in the mid-western state of Wisconsin in Shiocton. At the age of 6, she and her family relocated to Portland, Oregon. She attended Oregon College of Education University for three consecutive years where she obtained a teaching certificate at the top of her class.
She continued her academic excellence as the top student when she received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Lewis & Clark College-Portland, Oregon in 1954.
She began her lifelong goal as an educator at Milwaukie Elementary School in Oregon from 1954 to 1962.
She and her family moved to Monmouth, Oregon to raise her three children where she continued her career in education on a part-time basis, supervising student-teachers of then Oregon College of Education, now known as Western Oregon University, from 1965 to 1975.
In 1978, Kani’s first husband, a Western Oregon University professor, was offered a job opportunity to become president of the Northern Marianas College. Although the job offer was declined and they returned back to the U.S. mainland, Kani came back to Saipan in 1982 where she taught at Hopwood Junior High School as an English teacher until 1984. In 1984, Kani met Jose Kani, a local Carolinian artist who would become her husband and lifelong companion.
Joan Kani and her family then moved back to Monmouth, Oregon, where she obtained her Master of Science in Education from Western Oregon University in bilingual education in 1986.
Joan Kani and her family returned to Saipan and continued her educational career at Marianas High School as an English teacher, from 1986 to 1988, where she established the Exploring Education program.
In 1998, Kani was recognized in “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.”