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Principal deserves some credit

English teacher Vernell Woods.

Principal Jeff Broomes deserves some of the credit for the success of the Alexandra School in recent years.

English teacher Vernell Woods today disagreed with her colleague Leslie Lett, head of the school’s English Department, that the St. Peter learning institution had done well “in spite of” Broomes and not “because of” him.

“I think the principal has to be credited for some of what has happened, so it can’t be in spite of,” she told the Commission of Enquiry into Alexandra’s administration and management.

The witness also said she did not think learning at Alexandra and the professional co-existence of teachers there was as bad as suggested in the 2010 Inspection Report on the school.

“I think we were professionally co-existing, I am talking about members of staff. In spite of everything learning has gone on,” the teacher testified.

But Woods was disappointed with the way the same report and related instructions from the principal were treated by some teachers.

The teacher pointed out that Broomes did not distribute the full report, but that each teacher was presented with a compact disc containing the draft findings.

“Reports were made available at the office and you could go and get it when you wanted to read it,” she added, while being examined by Barbados Secondary Teachers Union counsel, Hal Gollop.

She said some teachers found the whole matter comical and laughed about it.

“I saw Mrs. Springer-Bryan do it, I heard Mrs. Leslie making comments about ‘You know we have problems’ … I am saying that the way they did it, it was to create comedy,” Woods stated.

“I don’t know why they laughed, but the suggestion (from Broomes) was that you could either brainstorm and come up with suggestions…”

Asked by Gollop how such brainstorming could be possible when previous evidence suggested the principal was not open to ideas that did not originate with him, the witness said there was evidence that Broomes was open to ideas.

She pointed to a meeting where the school’s strategic plan was discussed.

“There is one session that is fresh in my mind yes…, the junior members of staff, the principal and I, we were looking at the way forward for the school and the other members of the admin staff were to meet together to brainstorm,” she pointed out.

“The other members of staff were suppose to meet and then they were to come together and report. I was with the younger people because I was a junior member of staff at the time,” she added. (SC)

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