Judi Won Pat takes charge at charter school - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Judi Won Pat takes charge at charter school

Posted: Aug 10, 2018 4:51 PM Updated:

She's the senator behind the charter school law, and now former legislative speaker Judi Won Pat is taking charge of Guahan Academy Charter School. This happening as GACS not only faces budget cuts, but still lacks accreditation.

It's been about four years since someone last took the helm as the Chief Administrative Officer of Guam's First Charter School. The last CEO of Guahan Academy was Donna Dwiggins. Now former Speaker Judi Won Pat, once chair of the education committee who had a direct hand in passing Charter School law back in 2008, is taking lead.

"That will now be my responsibility," she said confidently. "I want to make sure, if I see something great that's happening or in the past I will let everybody know, so I can alleviate that fear to let them know we're just as good if not better than some other schools."

Won Pat is eager to prove Charter School Skeptics wrong. Citing student academic success that she believes sets charter schools like GACS apart, adding her thoughts on GACs failure to achieve accreditation within the five years required by law.

She continued to tell KUAM News, "I know the law is the law and they're only talking about accreditation, and they totally dismissed Dr. Sablan's evaluation of our school. I'd like to lay all the fears out there in the community that GACs has not failed in terms of its academics in teaching and learning."

According to Won Pat, the primary reason for WASC withholding accreditation "has to do with their facility and the fact they couldn't make payment to the owners of the building". Finance another major issue she hopes to tackle with new CFO Wilfred Aflague, former head of GDOE who retired from the AG's Office.

In fact, she agrees with Superintendent Jon Fernandez's concern, sharing, "About one-third of the kids are coming from other (schools) outside of DOE, so if a private school student goes to a charter school you're taking money away from our school. They shouldn't be robbing one to pay the other.

"All of the monies for GDOE and the charter schools comes from the General Fund, it would be easy for the Senators then to just delink."

Won Pat is optimistic her leadership will be a positive change for GACS, saying, "We have to be able to be held accountable because this is a public school and I certainly don't want to taint everything I have done in the past because of some financial problem."

GACS is scheduled to start school on August 27.

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