Tudela is 2023 Teacher of the Year

Posted on Nov 24 2022

2022-2023 Teacher of the Year Donovan Tudela, center, poses with 17th State Board of Education members Andrew Orsini, Herman Atalig, and Maisie B. Tenorio, during the Education Day celebration yesterday at the Saipan Southern High School campus. (LEIGH GASES)

Donovan Tudela, a mathematics teacher at Saipan Southern High School, has been named the 2023 Teacher of the Year during yesterday’s celebration of Education Day, which returns after a four-year hiatus, coinciding with the CNMI Public School System’s celebration of its 34th anniversary.

The celebration, held at the SSHS campus and lasting from morning until the afternoon, also saw the announcement and presentation of several awards, including the 2023 State Level “Of the Year” awards, the School Level “Of the Year” awards, and the student winners in the essay, theme and logo contests. A tent decorating contest was held as well, which was won by the Head Start Program.

Tudela said after the event that he felt overwhelmed after being named the Teacher of the Year, “but I know it was because of the hard work that I’ve put in and also as well as the support of my family and my colleagues—most especially my students. I feel very inspired to come to work each and every single day, because I do have that huge support system behind my back and with each day that comes, I take that as a learning opportunity to get better from the previous day.”

Over 1,000 CNMI PSS employees—the 17th Board of Education, teachers, support staff, teacher aides, instructors, counselors, librarians, custodians, maintenance, bus conductors, office and admin workers, and the like—from Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, gathered together for this year’s celebration under the theme of “The Heart of Education Beats with Resiliency, Flexibility, and Unity.”

Among the other honors awarded yesterday were the Instructor of the Year, which went to Jennie Magofna; the Teacher Aide of the Year is Carleen Lizama; the Librarian of the Year is Catherine Borja-Flores; the Counselor of the Year is Frankie A. Rabauliman Jr.; and the Administrative Support Staff of the Year is Stanislao “Stanley” Limes.

The 2023 Education Month theme winner is Logan Zane T. Atalig, a 4th grader of Sinapalo Elementary School; the 2023 Education Month logo design winner is Ashley Kyle E. Cayabyab, a 10th grader of Dr. Rita Hocog Inos Junior Senior High School; and the 2023 Education Month essay winner is Ysharei Lizama Sanje, 8th grader of Dandan Middle School.

Gregory Borja, chairperson of the 17th CNMI State Board of Education, said in a statement that the celebration of Education Day and its theme “marks the changes in the way we as educators have stood against obstacles and challenges that affected our students’ learning in the past few years in order to ensure their success as members of our island communities.”

Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada said in a statement before the celebration that this year is a special year because it marks the first year toward recovery. “We are able to celebrate Education Day together as one school system for the first time again in years. Although we are still in recovery mode, the spirit toward the light is still bright. Today’s celebration unifies us in every way.”

The event was also attended by both Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, who are coincidentally opponents in tomorrow’s runoff election.

The celebration was held yesterday as there were no classes  and was an early start to the Thanksgiving holiday break.

Leigh Gases
Leigh Gases is the youngest reporter of Saipan Tribune and primarily covers community related news, but she also handles the utilities, education, municipal, and veterans beats. Contact Leigh at leigh_gases@saipantribune.com.
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