by Donna Sealy and Shawn Cumberbatch
The Alexandra School separation plan has been set in motion.
But what some had anticipated merely to be the departure of the St. Peter School’s embattled head, has become the historic simultaneous reassignment of 40 teaching personnel, including 18 Alexandra teachers, and an equal number from 16 other schools to take their place.
Government today dispatched correspondence via special courier to embattled Principal Jeff Broomes, its contents giving notice that when school resumes on January 7 he will be transferred to Parkinson Memorial Secondary School, switching places with colleague Orson Alleyne.
Alexandra’s second in command, Beverley Neblett-Lashley, is also being transferred to Combermere School and that school’s current deputy, June Browne, will take her place.
Barbados TODAY confirmed these developments via several reliable sources, who revealed the Alexandra teachers being transferred not only included teachers who went on strike and had campaigned for Broomes to go, but some of those who publicly supported him.
That number includes Head of the Science Department, Amaida Greaves, the teacher who Broomes had accused of not teaching a class for an entire term. She will now be teaching at Harrison College.
Sources close to the Personnel Administration Division also said games teacher Roger Broomes would be dismissed from his teaching post at Alexandra.
Up to time of writing Barbados TODAY could not confirm how many of those to be transferred, including Broomes, had received correspondence, but sources said the ministry used two courier companies to deliver the letters, starting this morning to the teachers, who include eight Heads of Departments, three Senior Teachers, and Guidance Counsellor Cyrilene Willoughby who will take up a post at St. George Secondary.
Barbados TODAY has learnt that like Greaves, physical education teacher Sophia Ifill-Kirton, will now be teaching at Harrison College.
Other Alexandra teachers going to new schools included art department head Gail Streat-Jules (Christ Church Foundation), English department head Leslie Lett (Frederick G. Smith Secondary), Food and Nutrition Department head Debra Springer-Bryan and Senior Teacher in the English Department, Vernell Woods (Daryll Jordan Secondary).
Fiona Springer, Head of the General Studies Department and Abena Williams, an English teacher, will be at Ellerslie Secondary School, while Science teacher June Greaves and Physical Education teacher, Peter Vaughan, will be heading to Grantley Adams Memorial.
Senior Teachers Marcelle Catling and Suzanne Lovell are headed for The Lodge School; Alanda Sandiford, Head of Foreign Languages Department, to Deighton Griffith Secondary; Dwayne Bryan, who teaches Physics and Chemistry, will be switched to Coleridge and Parry School; Head of the Industrial Arts Department, McDonald Marshall, will be assigned to Princess Margaret Secondary, and Shurla Pollard Head of the Business Department is going to Alleyne School.
Personnel Administration sources also revealed that teachers being reassigned from other schools to replace the Alexandra 18 included heads of department Wayne Hinds (Foundation), Winston Brathwaite (HC), John Matthews (Deighton Griffith), Dawn Alleyne (Ellerslie), Rosemary Rudder (Frederick Smith), Ronald Jordan (Princess Margaret), Ronalda Edghill (Alleyne), and Rhonda Hinds (Daryll Jordan).
Other teachers now heading to the Queen Street, Speightstown, St. Peter school next term are Denise Sisnett (Graydon Sealy), Ann Reid (The Lodge), Sonia Griffith and Ellen Gittens (Grantley Adams), Mobibo Holder (CP), Patt Sealy (The Lodge), Nebia Sammie-Best (Ellerslie), Inez Taylor (HC), and Harriet Gittens (St. George).
Minister of Education Ronald Jones declined to comment on today’s development in what could be termed an ongoing saga which has plagued the northern school for a couple of years.
Mary Redman, President of the BSTU, which represents the majority of the teachers at the school, said she had only heard of the letters but had not seen any and would therefore wait until she did to comment.
“When I can see for myself and gather information as to what is really happening and know what we have to do from there, I have to have something concrete,” she said. However, a meeting has been scheduled for tomorrow morning with the teachers from Alexandra.
General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers, Dennis Clarke, one of Broome’s representatives, told Barbados TODAY that he was not “surprised” by the transfer of the teachers but was not willing to comment on their members.
“At the same time I don’t want to comment on Broomes’ situation until I see his letter, or the alleged letter of transfer because I regard it as an allegation, before I say my piece on the matter,” he said.
A source described the action taken at this time as madness making it clear that he had no problem with being moved from one school to another because he was employed to teach the nation’s children.
Broomes spent much of the afternoon in his familiar watering hole at Bow Road, Codrington Hill, St. Michael.
He was surrounded by drinking buddies, who were visibly upset at the presence of a Barbados TODAY team and other media. Broomes’ supporters provided a security cordon around the veteran educator, closing windows and doors and turning off lights, all in an attempt to ensure his photo was not taken.
It was comments made by Principal Jeff Broomes about teacher Amaida Greaves not teaching a group of fourth formers during the December 2 Speech Day last year that prompted more than 25 teachers to protest and call for his separation.
The strike lasted until January 22 after the BSTU met with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart. It was on January 23 that the Prime Minister announced at a press conference that the teachers would be returning to school.
He spoke again on April 19, announcing the establishment of a commission of enquiry, which started in July and lasted more than 30 days. Waterman handed in his report on September 21 which contained 15 recommendations, including Broomes’ separation, the transfer of his deputy and two other teachers.
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