Greaves: Only one way out for Jeff

Amaida Greaves.

Landing the job of Chief Education Officer was the only thing that would get Principal Jeff Broomes to leave the Alexandra School.

That’s what he told teachers at the St. Peter School, teacher Amaida Greaves testified today.

Greaves, the head of Alexandra’s Science Department for the past 18 years, was giving evidence at the Commission of Enquiry into Alexandra, held today at the Wildey Gymnasium, Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.

Attorney-at-law Hal Gollop, counsel for the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union, of which the teacher was a member, asked her: “Did he (Broomes) tell you that he applied for the post of Chief Education Officer?”

Greaves: “No. He did tell us at Alexandra that the only way he was leaving Alexandra was if he was going up as Chief (Education Officer); that was a while ago.”

This was after a period of questioning in which the witness said she believed correspondence Broomes had sent to the chairman of the school’s board of management, the Chief Education Officer and Chief Personnel Officer, might have harmed her chances when she applied and was interviewed for the post of Deputy Principal of Ellerslie Secondary School.

It followed a disagreement with the principal who was upset that Greaves attended two funerals in one week, in one instance without his permission.

Greaves said to the commission she was “from the old school” and believed “the principal is the principal and you should respect him”, but added that there were things he did that she did not approve of because they were not done in the right way.

The teacher also denied she and other senior members of the teaching staff at Alexandra colluded with chairman of the board of management Keith Simmons to undermine the principal’s authority.

She said she did not attend a meeting Simmons held with teachers in 2009, reportedly following a directive from the Ministry of Education and that there was minimal interaction between the board and teachers.

So much so, she added, that teachers felt Simmons and company did not care about their issues of complaint.

“Some of us don’t even know the people on the board,” Greaves said. “Recently he (Simmons) would say ‘How are things?’, but he never engaged us in talk about the principal or talk about the confusion that was going on in the school,” the teacher said.

“So much so that teachers thought ‘These people don’t care anything about us…’ Persons were complaining about that. He was as a person at least he was pleasant to us and asked how we are doing. We have had people (board members) who just passed us as if we don’t exist.” (SC)

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