Last day on the job for Underwood - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Last day on the job for Underwood

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - After three years as the head of the Department of Education, Dr. Nerissa Bretania Underwood says her goodbyes to her staff as she sets off for retirement. During her tenure she was well-received by people she worked with.

Governor Eddie Calvo said, "It was a pleasure working as partners in education for our kids. I felt like we've lost a very good public servant and someone who has been focused on the education of our children. To Nerissa, I want to wish her Godspeed, God bless her, and I look forward to seeing her in some other capacity in serving our people." DOE Facilities and Maintenance Manager Billy Cruz worked with Dr. Underwood closely over the years during its most challenging times, through Public Health inspections and school closures he says she was always there.

He noted, "Dr. Underwood was a very supportive superintendent. She supported our division 100% whenever we needed help she was always there to give us what we need, our tools to ensure we do our work the way we're supposed to."

Working as her deputy was Taling Taitano, who now assumes the role of interim superintendent. She said, "I just want to thank Dr. Underwood and Arlene for their contribution to the department and I wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors."

Today was bittersweet for Underwood. She will miss her students, but looks forward to spending more time with her family. She is proud that during her term as superintendent, graduation rates increased and 77% more students are staying in school. "We're very pleased with accomplishments we've made and we've also updated our content standards and performance indicators," she told KUAM News. "We have also started the development of our criterion reference test that will be implemented fully next school year, so in terms of curriculum I think we've made big strides now we're working on facilities."

Earlier this week we reported that the two candidates vying for the superintendent position are George Washington High School teacher Salvador Avilla and Governor's Education Advisor Vince Leon Guerrero. One thing is for sure: whoever is selected has some big shoes to fill, thanks to Underwood.

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