By Lori Lyn Lirio
THE Rotary Club of Saipan named Northern Marianas Trades Institute Chief Executive Officer Agnes McPhetres as 2018 Citizen of the Year.
In a phone interview with Rotary’s Double Past President Curtis Danco, he said McPhetres was awarded during the club’s induction of officers and directors at Aqua Resort on June 30.
“She has established herself as pioneer of education. She brought education to the highest level and she continues to do that even in retirement. She continues to serve the education system and very knowledgeable with all her experience,” Danco said of McPhetres.
Each year, the club’s council of past presidents selects the Citizen of the Year from a list of nominees.
“When she was nominated, it was unanimous that she would be recognized as Citizen of the Year. She got great vision. She is very resourceful,” Danco said, adding “education continues to be important in the community and it showed in what she is doing in the NMTI.”
McPhetres is also an active member of the Rotary Club of Saipan. Danco said it was not a requirement to be a member of the club to be able to get such award.
“A lot of our Citizen of the Year awardees were not members of the Rotary. You just have to be an outstanding individual in our community and recognized by your peers,” he added.
“Agnes McPhetres deserved that honor. She was very humble when accepting it. She continues to work hard to the program that she represents and we just appreciate what she has done in the community,” Danco said.
McPhetres advocated education to the CNMI youth as she believed that institutions of higher education across America serve as the economic driving force for their respective communities.
McPhetres dedicated most of her life to the education of students throughout the Pacific Islands as she served in different positions including classroom teacher from 1956 to 1967 at Mt. Carmel School on Saipan; principal of St. Cecilia’s School in Moen, Chuuk from 1971-1972; executive director of the State Vocational Advisory Council from 1972-1973 for the Trust Territory government; and assistant director of education for the Department of Education under the Trust Territory government from 1974- 1977.
In 1979 to 1983, she served as the CNMI’s associate superintendent of schools. From 1983 to 1999, McPhetres served as the first president of the Northern Marianas College. Through her leadership, McPhetres and her team were able to get the newly founded NMC accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in June 1985.
After retiring from NMC, McPhetres came back and accepted the role as CEO of the NMTI with the aim of training local people with trades skills to address the CNMI’s problem of work shortages.
In getting the award, NMTI Continuing Education and Workforce Development Director Ross Manglona said “it was a proud day for us at NMTI because it demonstrates that our leader carries herself in the community with utmost prestige and is always willing to help our community. [the award given by the Rotary club] speaks volume of her leadership.”