LASCO and The Ministry of Education (MOE) have chosen the finalists for the 2015/2016 Teacher and Principal of the Year. The 13 top educators were shortlisted from a record number of nominees, leading to six contenders for Principal of the Year and a surprising seven for Teacher of the Year.
LASCO and MOE have been saluting educators since 1997 — recognising them for outstanding performance and impact on education in Jamaica as well as for displaying exceptional contributions to the school community. The 2015/16 Awards Ceremony is slated for Tuesday, November 24 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.
For 2015, LASCO and MOE took a new and fresh approach to the nomination procedure. LASCO and MOE invited parents, members of the community and the wider public to submit the names of educators they felt, deserved to become the next Teacher and Principal of the Year. In previous years, only teachers, principals, or members of the school’s administrative bodies were allowed to submit nominations. This bold move highlights that the Teacher and Principal of the Year’s impact should resonate both inside and outside of the classroom, especially in the surrounding community.
The 2015/16 Teacher of the Year finalists represent educators with remarkable personal qualities as well as immense contributions to their field and community. They include: Shohreh Rose from Muschett High School; Nickashie Hardware of York Castle High School; Karen Smith Whyte from Santa Cruz Primary; Donna Reid and Tena McNish, both from Manchester High School; Effie Buckley-Walker of Spanish Town Primary School; and Winsom Johnson of Bog Walk High School.
Similarly, the six finalists for Principal of the Year 2015-16 are undoubtedly leaders by title but more importantly, beacons of change to those they inspire. They include:- Kandi Lee Crooks Smith of Allman Town Primary School; Norma McNeil from Pembroke Hall Primary School; Sandor Morris of Wilson’s Run Primary and Infant School; York Castle High School’s Raymon Treasure; Milbert Miller from Aberdeen High School; And Bridgeport High School’s Aston Messam.
During her panel interview at LASCO White Marl, teacher Donna Reid shared her informal title, “Vibes Master” given by her students and peers for her infectious energy inside and outside the classroom. Her career, however, did not start in the class room, but in the booming financial arena. In fact, Mrs Reid swapped her job in the magistrate’s office to become a teacher, as a means to help her children with their learning challenges and because she loves children in general. The vibes seeps into activity-based teaching, which includes co-operative learning, role playing, and greater use of technology.
By the same token, Raymon Treasure, Principal of York Castle High School since 2009, has led innovative changes to the curriculum, including introducing mandarin; starting the sixth form programme in 2014; and offering driver education on the syllabus, the first school to do so in Jamaica. Mr Treasure’s initiatives also include facilitating the ancillary staff sitting for CSEC subjects.
The Teacher and Principal of the Year Awards continue to be regarded by many as a hallmark of excellence in teaching. The finalists of this year’s programme continue to uphold the standards of outstanding educators who have given dedicated service to the education sector and the school community.
This year, the awardees will receive a host of prizes and awards. Teacher and Principal of the Year will each receive the champion trophy, $250,000 and an all-expense paid trip to the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) conference in Houston, Texas. The first runner up will receive a trophy, $150,000 and accompany the winners to the ASCD conference in Texas, while the third place winner will walk away with a trophy and $100,000. All finalists will take home plaques, LASCO Gift Baskets and spa gift certificates.