Board of Directors

All corporate powers of Majuro Cooperative School are exercised by or under authority of the Board of Directors under the corporate bylaws. The board is a 9-member body: 7 of the Board members are elected by the parents who are in good standing at an annual election at the beginning of each school year, 2 of the Board members are appointed as at-large members from the community. Each person who is a parent or guardian of an enrolled student has the right to vote and to be elected to sit on the Board of Directors. Elected for two-year terms, three members are elected in ‘odd’ number years and four members are elected in ‘even’ numbered years, and the at-large members are appointed for 2 years. This practice, established by the bylaws (pdf), ensures that there is continuity in membership on the board and has been a stabilizing influence on the governance of the school. The Board of Directors meets regularly, generally once a month or more, to discuss school-wide issues and polices. A quorum of four members is required for a meeting to take place. In addition to the school board, the Principal of the school and also frequently the PTA president attends these regular meetings. The Parent-Teacher Association officers, who are also elected by the parents, supervise fundraising activities for the school and work with the Board of Directors on setting priorities for the school as well as providing feedback on school-wide issues.

Over the years, Majuro Cooperative School’s Board of Directors has involved people who are leaders in business, construction, finance, legal, health and other professions. The people elected to the board, in general, have a high-degree of skill in their respective professions. While most of the members do not have education backgrounds, what they bring to the table is the knowledge and experience of how successful/ functioning businesses operate, which has allowed the Board to develop a relationship with the administration of setting policies in support of school-wide learning results, while delegating the day-to-day responsibility of educating students in the classroom to the administration and teachers.

While the Board delegates all day-to-day management of the school to the Principal and the administration, it does evaluate overall operations at the school.

Among the most pressing issues for the Board of Directors are resources in support of school programs. For example, the need for renovation of classroom facilities was identified as critical by the Board of Directors during the 2001-2002 school year. In response to this urgent need, Board members prepared a grant proposal amounting to $79,807.00 for the renovation of all 11 classrooms. It was submitted to the Japanese Government for consideration by its Grassroots Grants program in early 2002. After review and discussion with the Japanese Embassy, the grant was approved and funding provided for the project at the start of the 2002-2003 school year. The Board and PTA, which included several members skilled in construction, then provided construction management, supervision and evaluation as the work was bid out to private sector construction companies to perform.

During the 2003-04 school year, the deteriorating teacher-housing complex was identified as a key issue for improvement because the quality of the apartments directly affects teaching hiring, which in turn affects the ability of the school to meet ESLRs. Board members worked together to produce a grant proposal and blueprints for construction of a new teacher-housing complex that was prepared and submitted to several potential donors for consideration. After taking out a loan from a local bank, and after raising funds locally, the project moved forward and was completed in the fall of 2007. In 2008 we added yet another housing unit for the teachers, and in 2009 we added a 2 classroom building for the middle school and a covered walkway between the elementary school and the cafeteria/office complex. In 2011 we added a high school building using a grant from the Japanese government.

The Board of Directors is constantly evaluating school matters during its regular board meetings. This is not a formal evaluation mechanism, but rather a part of the normal and ongoing functions of the Board. Reports are presented to the Board, generally from the Principal and the Finance Officer, but also at times from teachers (the Board opens all of its meeting to teachers). From these reports, discussions and evaluations are undertaken. When there is an issue that requires more in-depth consideration, the Board establishes a sub-committee to review the issue and then report back to the full Board for discussion and decision. In the past, Board sub-committees have been established to develop and define construction projects, for staff evaluation and recruitment, for implementation and construction of the high school, and to hear teacher/staff/student/parent grievances.

Majuro Cooperative School By-Laws in .PDF

Name Title Qualifications and Experience
Jack Niedenthal Board Member, President
Had served 11 years as a Board member. Trust Liaison for the people of Bikini. Former president of MCS PTA. Educated: University of Arizona, BS in Economics with distinction. Beta Gamma Sigma Honorary Business Fraternity.  He is also the founder of Microwave Films of the Marshall Islands, which has now produced 4 feature length films in Marshallese. He has 2 children at the school. This is his fifth year as President of MCS.
Mike Slinger Board Member, Vice President
Mike manages and owns TSL Enterprises which includes computer equipment and business supplies, the Entertainment Center, and a tropical fish exporting business. He also serves on the RMI Postal Authority Board. Mike served as President of the school from 2007-2009. Mike has 3 children at the school.
Bobby Muller Board Member, Treasurer
Gary Bithell Board member
Scott Howe Board Member
Had previously served 4 years as Board Vice-President. Owner of Joemar Construction and owns and operates Ace’s One Stop Take-out and Gas Station. Scott has 4 children at the school and has been an active board member for many years.
John Murphy Board Member
John Murphy is the Operations Manager for the Marshall Islands Journal and is serving his first year as a Board member. He has one child at the school.
James McCaffrey Board Member James works as a private attorney in the Marshall Islands. In addition to his Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Diego, he has an MBA from the University of Southern California. Before coming to the RMI, he taught 24 undergraduate and graduate courses at National University. He has worked for Lockheed Corporation and the RMI government in numerous capacities. He has 2 children at the school.
Bart Deemer Board Member
Florence Peter Board Member
  Florence is the Chairperson for the nursing program at the College of the Marshall Islands.  Born and raised in the RMI.

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