CNMI: U.S. Education Officials to Visit Commonwealth Schools


Guam – Deputy Assistant Secretary of Education for Elementary and Secondary Education, Dr. Carl Harris, will visit numerous schools on both Tinian and Saipan, while in the Northern Marianas next week. Harris and Special Advisor Crystal Martinez will also spend time in conversation with parents, students, teachers, principals, and PSS and government officials, as well as with members of the community at large during the visit. The officials are here at the invitation of Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan.

“Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and members of his senior staff have embarked on a Learning and Listening Tour to hear directly from Americans all over the country what they think about our schools,” Sablan explained.

“Every time I meet with Secretary Duncan I invite him to bring the Tour to the Northern Marianas. So, I am very glad that we will now have this opportunity.

“Dr. Harris will be here to listen and learn about us. But he works in policy and strategic initiatives under the Secretary. So this will also be a time for anyone interested in education to hear directly about this administration’s vision and goals.”

The Department of Education officials will begin their visit on Tuesday, October 12th, in introductory meetings with PSS and CNMI government officials, and with the press to talk about the purpose of the visit. Later, the visitors will get their first look at CNMI schools, going to Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary School and Tanapag Elementary School on Saipan. Harris is himself a former teacher, principal, and school superintendent.

On day two of the tour, Harris and Martinez will sit down for serious policy discussions with PSS leadership and school principals. This will be a time to hear in-depth from local educators about the most pressing issues facing schools in the Commonwealth and about their recommendations for the federal government’s role in raising educational achievement here.

A forum with high school students at Saipan Southern High School later on Wednesday will focus on college readiness. One of the Obama administration’s stated in goals is to return America to number one in the world in the number of college graduates.  

On their last day in the NMI, the officials travel to Tinian to visit Tinian Elementary School and Tinian Junior/Senior High School and meet with students and faculty there.

That evening, October 14th, at 6:30 p.m. Dr. Harris and Ms. Martinez will attend a town hall hosted by Congressman Sablan and the Public School System.  This will an opportunity to listen as Dr. Harris describes the Department of Education’s vision for the future of American education. The floor will also be open for discussion, so the general public can share thoughts with the visiting officials. The town hall will be held at Fiesta Resort and Spa – Hibiscus Hall.