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DOE director Matagi-Tofiga speaks at ASCC Faculty Convocation

Following her guest speech at an ASCC faculty conovocation, DOE Director Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga (second right) took a moment to chat with (l-r) student Ulelemaikalani Nate Kwon, science instructor Gopalan Murali and automotive instructor Fred Suisala.  [Photo: J. Kneubuhl]

For the third Faculty Convocation of the spring 2017 semester, Department of Education (DOE) Director Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga spoke before an audience of faculty members at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) on Thursday, March 30.

Known for her many years of public service, including a tenure as the principal of Tafuna High School, Dr. Matagi-Tofiga has also maintained friendships with many in the local educational community, and could be found immediately prior to her talk exchanging greetings with many in the audience whom she has come to know over the years.

Dr. Matagi-Tofiga explained that she would share the same presentation she has lately given to many of the DOE elementary and high school teachers and administrators on some the basic leadership skills a teacher must have.

“We should teach to make an impact, not just make an income,” she said. “Not only should we strive to make a positive impact on our students, but also to make our own learning a lifelong process.” The DOE Director shared that even with the important positions she has held, people in the community most frequently remember as their former science instructor and principal at Tafuna High School. “We can make the biggest difference in the lives of students during our times of one-on-one interaction with them,” she reflected.

The DOE director’s talk included her thoughts on the importance of working collaboratively with other faculty, taking advantage of professional development opportunities, keeping a positive attitude, and the crucial importance of staying healthy.

“She reminded the audience that college education begins from kindergarten, emphasizing the relationship between DOE and ASCC,” said the College’s Faculty Senate President Poe Mageo. “She also talked about having the passion to teach students. and claimed she’s better-known in the community as a chemistry teacher than as the DOE Director. She reminded the ASCC faculty that as in any workplace, teachers need to work as a team and build-up one another. Working in isolation would defeat the purpose of team spirit and networking.”

Following the conclusion of her talk, the DOE Director once again took the opportunity to personally greet many of the ASCC faculty in attendance.

“We’re grateful Dr. Matagi-Tofiga could spend this time with us and give us an insight into her own philosophy on education,” said Mageo. “Whether we teach toddlers or young adults, all teachers in American Samoa, as Dr. Matagi-Tofiga pointed out, have the responsibility of making the best impact they can on the lives of their students.”