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PSS names interim principals for MHS, Da’ok Academy

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THE Public School System has appointed interim principals for Marianas High School and Da’ok Academy.

Former MHS principal Christine Tudela will serve as interim principal of Da’ok Academy while its former principal, Jonathan Aguon, will be MHS interim principal.

The reassignment was issued a day after the Board of Education received a petition from MHS teachers and school staff who sought Tudela’s removal as principal.  But there was separate petition by another group of teachers and students who wanted the BOE to retain Tudela.

During the public comment portion of the BOE meeting on Tuesday, MHS counseling staff member Mindy Castro said 40  of the 60 teachers and school support staff at MHS wanted Tudela removed as school principal.

She added that 33 teachers, all four counselors, three of the five main office personnel, and 50% of the maintenance department staff had signed the petition against Tudela.

“We cannot all speak at the same time, but we can let these numbers speak for themselves. Only at MHS are the staff suffering under the principal. Only at MHS did a principal threaten her staff to file for leave because she did not see their names during training. Only at MHS where [staff] stopped…meeting [with] the principal [only] to finally have one because the commissioner of education demanded it. Only at MHS where the principal is trying to make students sign her own petition against the staff she is supposed to lead,” Castro said.

“We shared with [Tudela] our concerns — some were addressed, but majority were dismissed and ignored,” Castro said.

They also brought their concerns to the commissioner, but Castro said he sided with Tudela. “So now we bring our concerns to the board.”

Longtime educator James Feger told the BOE: “I can speak out of experience because I have been a classroom teacher, vice principal, and a principal — it is not easy to handle the job of being a principal.”  Everyone should work together, he added.

Feger has been with the school system since 1983.

An MHS teacher, Gina Aguilar, defended Tudela who has been working hard since she became principal in July.

“She is such an amazing administrator. I saw how she talks with the parents and helps them….I don’t understand why they are saying all these things about her,” Aguilar said.

She said they must remain professional at work. “We have a contract with PSS…let’s just do what is expected of us.”

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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