AMERICAN SAMOA SCHOOL OFFICIAL RESIGNS

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By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa, (Samoa News, Aug. 29) - The first
cabinet member of Governor Togiola's administration has offered his resignation
after months of media reports of abuse and cronyism within the Department of
Education (DOE) and the School Lunch Program administered by DOE and weeks of a
Select Senate Investigative Committee (SSIC) probe into the allegations.

The embattled (DOE) director, Dr. Sili Kerisiano Sataua handed
in his letter of resignation early yesterday afternoon to Governor Togiola
Tulafono "for the best interests of the Department of Education and the
American Samoa Government".

A government official said last night that Dr. Sataua was not
asked by Governor Togiola to resign.

Whether or not the governor had "officially" accepted
Dr. Sataua's resignation could not be confirmed last night.

The Governor's legal counsel, Henry Kappel could only confirm
that Dr. Sataua did hand in a letter of resignation but said he had not seen the
letter.

The resignation comes 24-hours after a lengthy closed door
meeting on Wednesday between Dr. Sataua and Togiola.

What was discussed remains unclear but DOE sources said that
after the Sataua-Togiola meeting, the DOE director met with DOE deputy
directors, only two of which showed up, and informed them of his decision to
resign.

Dr. Sataua's resignation also comes amidst the threat by the
U.S. Department of Education's threat to cite the local DOE as a "high
risk" agency.

Governor Togiola Tulafono considers the USDOE threat very
seriously especially in light of the outstanding issues, which he did not
describe, going back to March 2002.

Efforts to reach Dr. Sataua at his office late yesterday
afternoon and last night at his home, were unsuccessful.

Before being confirmed by the Fono as DOE director in the spring
of 1999, Dr. Sataua was the late Governor Tauese's Chief of Staff from 1997, the
first year of the Tauese/Togiola administration.

In submitting Sataua's nomination to the Fono, Tauese said at
the time, "I have full confidence in his ability to manage this most
important department."

"I expect to see great strides in the development of our
education initiatives for the benefit of the youth of this Territory to better
prepare them for the challenges which lie ahead," Tauese noted.

Dr. Sataua has dedicated almost his entire adult life to the
development of education in the territory and holds a doctorate degree in
Education, with emphasis in higher education administration.

He also earned a master's degree, specializing in curriculum and
instruction.

Before joining Tauese's staff, Sataua was the Educational
Consultant for the Department of Public Safety for two years and prior to that
he was DOE's Assistant Director of Curriculum & Instruction.

At press time, no word was received from the governor's office
on the appointment of an acting director.

September 5, 2003

Samoa News: www.samoanews.com 

 

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