‘Reimagine, reengage and reopen’: PSS conducts virtual leadership training

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(PSS) — The Public School System held on July 30 its first-ever virtual leadership institute that is in line with its “Reimagine, Reengage, and Reopen Plan” to ensure a safe and smooth Sept. 8 reopening of public schools.

PSS will implement a hybrid approach which is a combination of remote and face-to-face instruction.

There were 90 participants in the virtual training sessions, and they include the school district’s key management team members, the Board of Education members, school principals and vice principals, program leaders and other educators

“This was a…historic event for PSS, and it was a success,” Commissioner of Education Dr. Alfred B. Ada said.

He said in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic, education leaders “must seize the opportunity to reflect on what has been learned, and what matters most.”

He added, “[This is about] education reimagined. As leaders we must rise up and be aware of the change [and challenges]. How will we choose to respond? We have the opportunity to help students maintain a high level of learning; we have the opportunity to creatively manage the issues while building a bridge to a reimagined education system.”

Board of Education Chairwoman Janice Marie A. Tenorio said the “Reimagine, Reengage, and Reopen” plan  highlights the goal of sustaining educational opportunities for over 10,000 public elementary, middle and high school students on Saipan, Tinian and Rota.

“With the hardworking PSS team led by your commissioner, Dr. Alfred Ada, and the support of our BOE, we are here to discuss creative and innovative ways needed to maintain classroom teaching and learning,” she said. “The key here is engagement — bringing everyone on board which you all have been doing.”

The keynote speaker was Maisie B. Tenorio, who has helped many men, women and children through her advocacy efforts and in her role as a founding member of the Northern Marianas Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.


From left, Dr. Bobby Cruz, Lorraine Catienza, Jonathan Aguon and Le’ah Murphy moderated and hosted a virtual leadership training institute for Public School System educators. PSS photo

PSS Senior Director of Curriculum and Instruction Jackie A. Quitugua talked about “Leading Change: Building a Purposeful Community.” This is about “Change starts with me and we!  With PSS educators’ rich experiences, knowledge and skills combined it gives every educator the courage and clarity to meet and welcome change.”

“[This is a] call to reflect on what our past taught us so that we can achieve our PSS organization’s full potential as we move forward and reimagine our schools, our CNMI PSS. Let us reimagine, reengage to our purpose and produce outcomes that matter to all,”  Quitugua said.

Koblerville Elementary School principal Naomi Nishimura and Dandan Middle School principal James Sablan talked about culture while other education leaders  discussed the importance of rebuilding a healthy organization/school culture while “leading during a time of change.”

“This is about a sense of community and cooperation as we prepare to open the next school year,” principals Nishimura and Sablan said.

Newly appointed PSS Program Director for Mathematics Dr. Rizalina Liwag talked about “Input & Flexibility.” This is about understanding a widely respected research conducted by the education think-tank Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning or McREL on school leadership responsibilities while managing change.

“Input and flexibility are the two leadership responsibilities that correlate managing change,” Dr. Liwag said.

Why “Communication Still Matters Today” and its impact on academic achievement as outlined in McREL’s meta-analysis on the 21st century responsibilities of school leaders was presented by Senior Director of Accountability Research and Evaluation Lynnette Villagomez.

Virtual training participants were also provided with information on “how to communicate with teams, stakeholders, and the community during a crisis such as Covid-19 to foster trust and calm.”

Francisco M. Sablan Middle School principal Cherlyn Cabrera Osung and Saipan Southern High School principal Vince Dela Cruz spoke about the leadership tenet “order” —  or how the school district must maintain “order in time of chaos.”

A session on relationship based on MCREL’s meta-analysis on the 21 responsibilities of school leaders and Dr. Brene Brown’s book “Daring to Lead,” which is a New York Times bestseller, was presented by Dr. Yvonne R. Pangelinan, Dr. Jennifer Furey Maratita, Laura Kyonka and Josiah Kyonka.

Dr. Pangelinan is PSS’ senior director for student and support services. Laura and Josiah Kyonka are mental health specialists while Dr. Maratita is a licensed mental health counselor.

Outgoing Associate Commissioner for Administrative Services Kimo Rosario delivered the closing remarks.

 “Despite two back-to-back deficits, crisis caused by two disasters, and now the Covid-19 pandemic, you, our PSS leaders, are still here. Yes, you educators are passionate to serve and this is why you are still here. You have led PSS remarkably,” Rosario said in his closing remarks.

The day-long PSS Virtual Leadership Institute was moderated by Dr. Bobby Cruz and Lorraine Catienza while  Jonathan Aguon and Le’ah Murphy were the official hosts for the virtual training.



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