Lasco Principal of the Year Wants to Share Best Practices

Photo: Marlon Tingling: Lasco Principal of the Year Wants to Share Best Practices

Story Highlights

  • Mr. Wellington was nominated for the coveted award by the education officers who serve Region 5, and after being shortlisted by the selection committee, he was interviewed and checks were done with the school and other community leaders before the final selection was made.
  • Mr. Wellington tells JIS News that his legacy project as Principal of the Year will be undertaken jointly with the Teacher of the year, Kerene Nelson.
  • Managing a population of 1,780 students and an academic staff of 96 can be demanding. However, Mr. Wellington says that despite earning the reputation of being a strong Principal, he does not “rule with an iron fist”.

St. Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) Principal, Keith Wellington, who is the 2016 LASCO Principal of the year, does not take winning the prestigious award lightly.

Mr. Wellington, who was recognised for his transformational leadership, which has, among other things, resulted in improvement in discipline and the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) pass rate, says he feels an obligation to work even harder and to empower other administrators in the education system.

“I see the award as validation for what I have been trying to do here at STETHS. It also means I need to share with my colleagues what I have been doing so we can see improvements across the system, and not necessarily just focusing on STETHS,” he tells JIS News.

“For me, now, I have to start thinking about how I can help others, to pull them up, and I really want to use this year and the time going forward to see how much my experiences can be shared with my colleagues and how much I can contribute to having a better education system,” he adds.

Mr. Wellington was nominated for the coveted award by the education officers who serve Region 5, and after being shortlisted by the selection committee, he was interviewed and checks were done with the school and other community leaders before the final selection was made.

He is dedicating the award to the entire school community, which has the unprecedented honour, this year, of producing the LASCO Principal and Teacher of the Year.

“They are basking in the glory… it is a reflection of the performance of the school, the persons who are here, and that we are doing something good. What this has done for us is to highlight the fact that we are a well-rounded school that promotes the holistic development of our student population,” he says.

Mr. Wellington tells JIS News that his legacy project as Principal of the Year will be undertaken jointly with the Teacher of the year, Kerene Nelson. This will be focused on encouraging the increased use of technology in the teaching-learning process in schools.

Mr. Wellington says he also plans to use the platform to encourage males, especially those at STETHS, to become “men of substance” by pursuing excellence in all that they do.

“What I have tried to do is to act as a role model for my male students. We have quite a number of students who come from single-parent homes where there is no father, so I try my best to provide my male students with an opportunity to see someone whom they would want to be like. For the most part, that is something we do consciously at STETHS.  I try to ensure that the boys have equal opportunity as the girls,” he says.

Managing a population of 1,780 students and an academic staff of 96 can be demanding. However, Mr. Wellington says that despite earning the reputation of being a strong Principal, he does not “rule with an iron fist”.

“I make sure that all my constituents are aware of what we are trying to do and people are able to buy into my vision. I think we are on the road to achieving a lot of things that we initially wanted to do, academic growth being the most important of them,” he says.

“We have spent a lot of time focusing on areas such as mathematics, physics, accounts – the numeracy subjects. As a technical high school, we also want to ensure that we carry out our mandate to ensure that students leave STETHS being able to do something not just with their academic certification, but with a particular skill set,” he points out.

Mr. Wellington took the top position at STETHS eight years ago, while he was in his mid-30s, but taught at the school for many years before his appointment.

He says he benefited from the counsel of previous administrators, such as Dorothy Samuda, who served as principal from 1999 to 2008; and former vice principals Paul Adams and Dr. Walton Small.

A son of Southfield in the parish, Mr. Wellington attended the Mayfield All-Age School, Munro College, and the Bethlehem Moravian College. He worked as a pre-trained teacher at Mayfield All-Age.

He obtained a Commonwealth of Learning scholarship to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Education at the Athabasca University in Canada and then did his Master at the Florida Open University.

The LASCO Principal of the year joined the STETHS academic staff in 1997 as a classroom teacher and was later promoted to Head of the Business Department, then vice principal and principal.

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