St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) walked away with top prizes at the 16th LASCO and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Teacher of the Year and Principal of the Year awards on Tuesday, November 29.
At the ceremonial luncheon at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, Kerene Nelson was announced the 2016/17 Teacher of the Year, and the 10th presentation of Principal of the Year went to Keith Wellington.
In the teachers’ category Joseth Kerr-Timoll of Holland High placed second, and Pelechia Rodney-Vernon of John Rollins Success Primary placed third, while principals Prim Lewis of Aberdeen High (and formerly of Schoolfield Primary) and Keisha Hayle of Padmore Primary placed second and third respectively.
Nelson, who has been teaching for almost 20 years, holds a Master’s in Education Administration, Certificate in Technology Integration in Secondary Schools, and Bachelor’s of Education Degree in Spanish.
Her passion leads her to explore and research new ways to capture her students’ interest while guiding their personal development. Her effervescent style resonates with students, parents, and fellow faculty as she innovates interactive, technology-based resources and lesson plans in the classroom and counsels families on best practices for higher learning.
Wellington has spent half of his 25-year career at the helm of STETHS, motivating his staff to excel and improve on their talents and contribute more to national development.
His students have also reacted positively to his performance-based strategy.
Utilising gender-based career and personal development counseling, Wellington’s strategies improved the GPA of both the boys and girls; almost doubled the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate pass rate; increased the academic and sports oriented achievements; and last year as many as 10 students received technical scholarships to the University of Technology Jamaica.
Wellington holds a Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction from Florida International University; Bachelor of General Studies - Arts and Science, and a Certificate in Computing and Information Systems from Abathasca Open University; and a Diploma in Secondary Education from Bethlehem Teachers’ College.
The two educators topped the 13 finalists who vied for the titles of Teacher and Principal of the Year 2016–2017. The finalists were selected after an intense two-month screening process, which included school visits and panel interview by senior staff members of the Jamaica Teaching Council, the Joint Board Teacher Education, University of Technology and National College for Education Leadership.
Both the LASCO Teacher and Principal of the Year nominees were judged on classroom competency, commitment to education, professional development and community involvement. The Principal of the Year nominees were further evaluated on the basis of visionary leadership, and instructional leadership.
Peter Mark Chin, in his first address as Deputy Executive Chairman, LASCO Affiliated Companies, said honouring the teachers and principals is at the core of LASCO’s vision of “caring for our fellow man”.
“Collectively, the LASCO corporate programmes contribute over $18 million annually, including funding the many community-level enhancement projects that awardees embark on during and after their reign. This significant investment underscores LASCO’s commitment to Vision 2030 — to make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, do business and raise families,” Chin told the room of elite educators.
The top three in each category received cash awards among their prizes from LASCO. The winners received a trophy and a cash award of $250,000 and will be attending the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Professional Development 2017 conference in Anaheim, California. The second and third place winners received $150,000 and $100,000 respectively, trophies and other prizes.
Teacher of the Year Kerene Nelson will take over the ambassadorial duties for 2015/2016 Teacher of the Year Nickhasie Hardware from St. Ann-based school York Castle High; while 2015/2016 Principal of the Year Kandi-Lee Crooks-Smith from Allman Town Primary will pass on her mantle to Keith Wellington.