JIS News

Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Mary Ann Nichols, is the 2006/07 Civil Servant of the Year.
A first time nominee, she topped a field of nine candidates to take the award, one of the highlights of the Jamaica Civil Service Association’s activities for Civil Service Week 2007. The week, which runs between November 18 to 24, is being celebrated under the theme: ‘The Civil Service: The Career of Choice for National Development’.
Mrs. Nichols was one of 229 recipients of long service awards presented to persons, who have served the public sector with distinction for upwards of 25 years at the Jamaica Civil Service Long Service awards ceremony held at the National Indoor Sports Centre on Wednesday (Nov. 21). Of the awardees, 20 were from the Ministry of Education.
In an interview with the JIS News, Mrs. Nichols, whose career spans 32 years, said she was pleased to have been chosen for the award, and dedicated it to her colleagues and the Ministry.
“I feel quite elated to accept this award, because I think for a long time the Ministry of Education has been working very hard and I don’t think there has been enough public recognition for the work (of the Ministry), especially by education officers. So I am accepting this award on behalf of all education officers, teachers at all levels, and the Ministry of Education,” she said.
Mrs. Nichols, a specialist in early childhood education, and guidance counselling, rose through the ranks from basic school teacher to her current position of senior education officer in charge of secondary schools in Region Three, comprising St. Ann, Trelawny, and a section of St. Mary.
Her tenure included stints as a teacher at Catadupa All-age School in St. James, Port Henderson Primary School, and Principal of the Rehoboth Basic School in Portmore, St. Catherine between 1975 and 1990.
Mrs. Nichols has been a guidance counsellor and education officer since 1990, serving initially at the Caenwood Centre. She is scheduled to take up a position as Acting Regional Director for Region Two shortly.
“I came right up the ranks; I worked my way up for 32 years, and my tenure in education has been very rewarding,” she pointed out, adding that her personal and extended family and colleagues have been supportive.
Mrs. Nichols said she plans to continue serving in and giving of her best to the public sector for as long as she is able. “I have a philosophy, which says ‘I want to be more than an ordinary servant’. So, I will do the extraordinary to make our country proud any where I go,” she pledged.
Other awardees were from the Ministries of Agriculture and Lands; Finance and Planning; Health; Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade; Housing, Transport, Water & Works; Industry, Technology, Energy & Commerce; Labour & Social Security; National Security; Local Government & Environment; Office of the Cabinet, and the Post & Telecommunications Department.
Governor-General, His Excellency, the Most Hon. Professor Sir Kenneth Hall and Lady Rheima Holding Hall and Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Carlton Davis headed the officials in attendance. The ceremony was chaired by Olivia Grange, Minister of Information, Culture, Youth & Sports.