Principal of New Forest Primary Gets PM’s Medal of Appreciation

Photo: R. Fraser Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (left), presents the Medal of Appreciation for Service to Education to Principal of New Forest Primary and Junior High School, Arnaldo Allen, during a ceremony at Jamaica House on June 21.

For 33 years, Educator, Arnaldo Allen, has been moulding young lives and helping to enhance the education system.

He began his teaching career in 1984, and in 2009 he was promoted to the leadership of the New Forest Primary and Junior High School in South Manchester.

Eight years later, he is among 40 outstanding teachers who received the Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation for service to education, on June 21.

Mr. Allen’s journey into education began when a friend asked him to do a short stint teaching Mathematics and Physical Education as a substitute teacher at Prospect Primary School in South Manchester. It didn’t take him long to realise that he had found his passion.

Quietly equipping young minds to fulfil their purpose, Mr. Allen was astonished when one afternoon a lady from the Office of the Prime (OPM) rang his office. He vividly remembers the conversation.

“Good day, are you Arnaldo Allen? I am calling from the Office of the Prime Minister. Do you have a minute?” she enquired.

“Once you are calling from the Prime Minister’s Office, I have morethan a minute,” Mr. Allen replied, not suspecting at the time that he was one of 40 teachers who were selected for the Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation for Service to Education for 2017.

His family and friends are ecstatic with his award. For them, he is a celebrity. Notwithstanding, he is taking the honour graciously. “I am heartened by the award. To be recognised in this way is a blessing. I accept this on behalf of team New Forest,” Mr. Allen says.

“One of my greatest experiences was assisting in the development of several boys in grade two, who could not read or identify the letters of the alphabet, to eventually go on to pass the Grade Four Literacy Test after being sent back to grade one,”  he tells JIS News.

“We have seen our literacy score move from 64 to 94 per cent and numeracy from 43 to 83 per cent,” Mr. Allen reports.

“Every student can learn if given the right opportunity. We don’t believe in leaving anyone behind,” he adds.

Asked about his longevity in the field, he attributes this to his motto: ‘If I can help somebody as I travel along, then my living will not be in vain’.

“Don’t enter this august vocation aiming to be the bandleader, but rather a team player,” Mr. Allen advises.

“I see myself as a servant, a public servant. That’s the mindset one needs to have in this vocation,” he says.

Mr. Allen tells JIS News that he intends to continue making his contribution to Team Jamaica in his position as Principal of the New Forest High School.

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