SDS CHIE: Epitome of Educational Leadership in Islam

By Esmael S. Mamalaguia, Ph.D.

There are three dimensional models of educational leadership with explicit overlaps: teaching with knowledge and understanding – educator, guiding with wisdom and values – prophet/leader, caring with responsibility and commitment – parent.

Indeed Schools Division of Cotabato City is so lucky to have one of its leaders who imparts knowledge with utmost understanding, ensures that all her people are well guided with wisdom and values, and someone who truly shows genuine care and love while enacting upon her responsibilities with a hundred percent commitment in the person of Schools Division Superintendent Concepcion Ferrer – Balawag, PhD, CESE.

SDS Balawag was once a teacher who was born on December 4, 1959 at Cotabato City. She is married to the present Schools Governance and Operations Division Chief, Dr. Pancho G. Balawag, Al Haj and blessed with four kids; Sharijane Cazandra F. Balawag – Dinayugan, Alliph Benzar F. Balawag, Alhamdeh Aaron F. Balawag, and Alih Huzzein F. Balawag.

She graduated as Valedictorian at Notre Dame Village Elementary School in the year 1972. Loaded with so much value for education, she enrolled and finished her secondary education at Cotabato City National High School in 1976. SDS Balawag is considered voracious for education that she was able to have finished Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Bachelor in Secondary Education in 1980 and 1982, respectively, all at Philippine Harvardian College.

Her quest for education did not end there. Because she was determined to grow professionally, she took and finished her Master of Arts in Education major in Teaching at Shariff Kabunsuan College, Inc. in 1996. She continued her educational endeavor by taking up Doctor of Philosophy major in Educational Administration at Cotabato City State Polytechnic College. She was conferred with the degree in 2015.

SDS Balawag’s journey to her spot of today has been a long and winding road. She started her career when she was hired as college instructor at her Alma Mater Philippine Harvardian College, Inc. where she stayed for several years before applying to public school after passing the Professional Board Examination for Teachers. She started as Local School Board teacher assigned at far flung area but she did not complain. She felt more fulfilled being able to help out those children from the community where civilization has just started to be visible. So she dedicated her time as Teacher 1 to Master Teacher 1 at that school presently known as Tamontaka Central School, Cotabato City.
Equipped with those genuine attributes of a true leader, destiny brought her to where she should be. She became Principal I of Krislamville Elementary School, Cotabato City and Principal II of Notre Dame Village Elementary School. With her dedication to work, DepEd opened higher opportunity as she rose to OIC – Assistant Schools Division Superintendent. It was a happy – sad moment for her as she was about to leave her beloved nest and venture to another community – DepEd Sultan Kudarat where she was assigned from May 2009 to February 29, 2010.

Indeed, Allah gives the right rewards for the good values and strong faith that a public servant lives up to. SDS Balawag was appointed as Assistant Schools Division Superintendent and brought back to her original nest – Schools Division of Cotabato City in August 5 2010 until June 21, 2012 where she was designated Officer – in – Charge of the Division Office after the retirement of Dr. Maruhom.
Her reassignment as ASDS and OIC-SDS of Cotabato City has been very challenging. Alhamdulillah because despite all those challenges, she was able to stand still just like a bamboo which represents the resilience of a Filipino.
Holding unto her ideals, she took and passed the Educational Management Test (Superintendent’s Exam), CESB Written Exam, and Career Executive Board (CESB) AC. She is now Career Executive Service Eligible. She also applied for full-fledged Schools Division Superintendent which, to her people, is so long an overdue, so that her receipt of the good news was more than a surprise.

It became more surprising maybe because it reached her in the most unexpected time. Chie Balawag was about to retire in bed when her cellphone beeped. The message was from a certain Christopher Bong Go, congratulating her because President Duterte has signed her appointment as Schools Division Superintendent effective March 21, 2018, which was confirmed because despite all those challenges, she was able to stand still just like a bamboo which represents the resilience of a Filipino.

Holding unto her ideals, she took and passed the Educational Management Test (Superintendent’s Exam), CESB Written Exam, and Career Executive Board (CESB) AC. She is now Career Executive Service Eligible. She also applied for full-fledged Schools Division Superintendent which, to her people, is so long an overdue, so that her receipt of the good news was more than a surprise.

It became more surprising maybe because it reached her in the most unexpected time. Chie Balawag was about to retire in bed when her cellphone beeped. The message was from a certain Christopher Bong Go, congratulating her because President Duterte has signed her appointment as Schools Division Superintendent effective March 21, 2018, which was confirmed by Regional Director Arturo Bayocot, CESO V through a phone call.

The Schools Division of Cotabato City works in a culture of passion and commitment, honed by Concepcion F. Balawag, Ph.D., CESE who communicates the department’s vision effectively to her team and continuously enhances their confidence and trust, thereby eliciting best performance from them. With these, Chie Balawag strongly guides the division towards excellence. This attitude towards excellence is heightened by her promotion as full-fledged Schools Division Superintendent. Yes, many of her people consider the promotion as an overdue; but for SDS Chie, its Allah’s perfect time because with all the circumstances she successfully endured, she can confidently say that she is already ripe for the position.

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