A Hopwood Middle School teacher who has been with the Public School System for over 10 years was recognized last Friday as the 2020 State Teacher of the Year.
Victor Cabrera, a Career and Technical Education teacher at Hopwood, was named the 2020 CNMI PSS State Teacher of the Year, with members of the Board of Education and PSS surprising him with the recognition during a professional development training session last Friday.
Acting education commissioner Jackie Quitugua said that PSS handed out the award earlier than is usual as they wanted the presentation to coincide with the celebration of National Principals Month, which is this month, and is a good way to motivate educators in the CNMI.
Board of Education chair Janice Tenorio said that Cabrera was a noteworthy candidate for State Teacher of the Year plum, with many students have recognized him as an excellent educator. In fact, she was surprised that Cabrera did not take up the nomination in past years in his capacity as a teacher.
“On behalf of the BOE, we would like to congratulate you for this award and we are confident that you will be a great representative at the national level,” Tenorio said.
BOE teacher representative and former State Teacher of the Year Paul Miura is confident in Cabrera’s selection to represent the CNMI at the national level.
Part of the honor accorded state teachers of the year is meeting the U.S. President the White House and getting together with other teachers of the year for trainings and seminars in the U.S. mainland.
Miura describes his own experience as “once in a lifetime and life-changing.”
Speaking later, Cabrera said he is honored to be accorded the same honors as other previous state teachers of the year and to be recognized alongside them. Cabrera thanked former HMS principal Jonas Barcinas, PSS associate commissioner of Accountability, Research and Evaluation Lynette Villagomez, and his longtime friend and fellow Hopwood instructor, Felix Rabauliman.
“I would like to thank Lynette Villagomez as she served as my mentor while I was teaching in WSR,” Cabrera said. He clarified that, prior to becoming a teacher, he was actually focused on business and it was Villagomez who convinced him to try his hand at teaching.
“I would also like to thank Dr. [Rizalina] Liwag for placing her confidence in me as State Teacher of the Year, but there are so many people that I am grateful for,” he said.
Cabrera has over 14 years of teaching experience, serving his first six years with William S. Reyes Elementary School and the next eight with Hopwood Middle School. Cabrera currently services as a CTE teacher.