The teacher once considered Principal Jeff Broomes’ “blue eyed boy” at the Alexandra School, and with whom he had a “cordial” relationship, today intensified calls for him to be given his marching orders.
Head of the St. Peter school’s English Department, Leslie Lett, said the relationship between his boss and staff was “beyond repair” and “separation” was the best solution.
As far as he was concerned the principal’s leadership was “toxic”, caused “convulsions” and he should go.
He expressed the view while testifying at the Commission of Enquiry into Alexandra, when it continued at the Wildey Gymnasium, Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.
With his evidence being led by the tribunal’s junior counsel Michael Yearwood, the senior teacher, who has taught at Alexandra since 1992, said it was past the point of no return with Broomes and the school he has headed since 2002.
“Not with the practices that I have seen characterise the principal, not with the leadership practices, practised by the principal, espoused by the principal,” he said.
“As a thinking human being who happens to be a member of a union I am saying separation.”
Asked by Yearwood what he meant by separation, the former teacher of the year at Alexandra and nationally said: “Removing that which causes the disharmony, which is the practices of the principal, removing him from the environment of the Alexandra school. He also believed it would be unwise if the principal was put in charge of another school.
“No, because from my understanding and from people I have spoken to, this principal has a record of convulsing every organisation that has the misfortune of his involvement, this is what I have heard and what I have seen at the Alexandra School. I have no reason to disbelieve or doubt it,” he said.
Lett said he and Broomes “have enjoyed a cordial relationship” and that “as an English teacher he has assisted me, he has given me idea about the teaching of English”.
He added, however, that the principal’s public persona and his leadership of Alexandra were vastly different.
“As a teacher he had helped me, no one can deny he is a good English teacher. But the difficulty would come with Mr Broomes not as an English teacher, but as a principal and I am thinking that there is a vast difference between the image of Uncle Jeff and the reality of Master Jeff. And that is the persona I find he adopts as a principal. Here he is not very tolerant of views that do not coincide with his,” the witness told the commission.
“I would say it (the relationship) was one that was not as tempestuous as with other heads of departments, but he has castigated me wrongly and has criticised me and he has questioned my concept of leadership.” Despite, this Lett said other staff thought “I could speak to Mr. Broomes and Mr. Broomes would listen to me”.
Yearwood asked if these individuals thought he was Broomes’ blued eye boy, to which he replied: “They thought that.” (SC)