By RASHAD ROLLE
PARENTS of students attending a school in Long Island are concerned that the new principal is not experienced enough to take on the post – and question whether political connections had anything to do with the appointment.
Lower Deadmans Cay Primary School will replace its current principal, Darold Wells, with a new principal to mark the new school term.
The Tribune understands that Mr Wells’ replacement is a woman who previously taught at the school and has experience teaching at a private pre-school.
The president of the school’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA), Tanya Cartwright, 33, said: “I have an eight-year-old son. He’s been going there from kindergarden. He’s going to grade four next month. My kid has never been in her class, and it’s not that I have a personal vendetta against the lady. My concern is this is only her third year teaching in the government school. I don’t think she has the experience to handle teaching and being a principal.”
“I know another person had applied for that position once after being a teacher for nine years, but she was denied because they said she lacked teaching experience, so how is this woman being given the job when she has even less experience?” Another parent, Carla Burrows, the former president of the school’s PTA committee, said she was concerned about the appointment and how it might have come about.
“There are a lot of disgruntled parents,” she said. “I heard the district education officer received about 25 calls about it on the first day the appointment was announced. I think she is not qualified for that position because she’s only been teaching under the Ministry of Education for two years.
“They say she been teaching in the private school area, but her teaching experience is only about five years. My impression of seeing her is that she seems a little disorganized. I’ve spoken to parents who weren’t satisfied with her teaching their children. I am concerned with her teaching my children for grade 6, so I wouldn’t even talk about principal. I have nothing against her personally, but there are so many way more qualified persons for the position. The persons at the Ministry of Education office in New Providence told me they don’t understand how this is happening when I called. My first opinion on this is that It’s politics. It’s who she knows. That’s why she got the position over people who are more qualified. Her father is what they consider a PLP general, so obviously he spoke to who he knew.”
One parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said the appointee’s “parents are very political and strong PLP’S. It’s sad to say but it’s still about who you know in this day and age. She had her own school, a pre-school. I think that’s her calling. She’s very, very good with little children. But she didn’t even get her teaching degree from the College of the Bahamas; she got it from Success Training College.
Speaking to The Tribune, Long Island MP and FNM deputy leader Lorretta Butler-Turner noted that Long Island students are known for their strong academic performance and that parents fear their students’ grades could be affected if an unsuitable principal were selected.
“Whether she’s experienced or not, the bottom-line is we have qualified teachers who understand the curriculum and we believe they’ve been overlooked because of this individual,” she said, adding: “With her being a new teacher, she has not proven she is adept to working with others.”
Meahwhile, Director of Education Lionel Sands has thrown his support behind the new appointee.
He said: “The post was advertised in The Tribune and The Guardian. Persons who applied went before the Public Service Commission.
“Once each person meets the minimum requirements, they are considered. The commission was responsible for appointing the person and they approved the appointment. I support whoever is hired because they would’ve met the requirements.”
The Tribune was unable to contact the new principal for comment. Mr Sands refused to release her contact details.