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Story Highlights

  • Oneal McLeod, a teacher at Godfrey Stewart High School in Westmoreland, is the 2016 Mathematics Teacher of the Year 2016.
  • Mr. McLeod was selected as the winner from five national finalists. A total of 107 primary and secondary school teachers from across the six education regions were nominated.
  • The Ministry is observing March 6 to 11 as National Mathematics Week under the theme: ‘Math Counts.’

Oneal McLeod, a teacher at Godfrey Stewart High School in Westmoreland, is the 2016 Mathematics Teacher of the Year 2016.

He was named as the winner of the coveted award during the National Mathematics Forum on March 8, at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.

“Words can’t explain how I am feeling right now,” said an elated Mr. McLeod in an interview with JIS News following the award ceremony.

“I really love teaching. I love helping students and this will serve as a motivation for me as a teacher going forward, so right now, I feel really overwhelmed,” he added.

He said the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information-led competition, served as an opportunity for teachers to highlight their strengths, while also sharing best practices.  He vowed to continue being an inspiration to his students.

Mr. McLeod was selected as the winner from five national finalists. A total of 107 primary and secondary school teachers from across the six education regions were nominated.

His prizes include a one-year membership to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), which is the world’s largest organisation concerned with mathematics education, as well as a trip to San Francisco for the NCTM 2016 Conference.

Debra Morrison Muir of the Jessie Ripoll Primary school was runner-up. Other finalists were Marlon McKenzie of the Holy Trinity High School; Karen Hartley of Bethabara Primary; and Nerissa Stephens from Little London Primary.

The contestants were observed teaching mathematics lessons by members of the regional and national mathematics teams as well as education officers.

They were also interviewed by a panel of judges on mathematics teaching and learning and discussed effective strategies to address the needs of struggling learners. Individuals were scored based on these interactions.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Maurice Smith, urged the finalists to offer mentorship and guidance to other teachers.

“I challenge each of you to find someone and mentor that individual. Look that person smack in the face and say ‘I am not happy with your level of performance…I will help you to grow and strive and help you to become (better),” he said.

Dr. Smith also encouraged the teachers to continue being passionate about Mathematics and motivate students. “Your legacy is not what will take place in this room today but more so how you will prepare and groom and develop and replicate yourselves in others,” he pointed out.

The Mathematics Teacher of the Year Award is in its third year and is sponsored by the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS).

The Ministry is observing March 6 to 11 as National Mathematics Week under the theme: ‘Math Counts.’