Broomes back in action

by Kimberley Cummins

Jeff Broomes is back on the job and settling in comfortably.

This morning, in the midst of the still unsettled contentious Alexandra School transfer issue, Broomes reported to the Parkinson Memorial School for his first day in his new role as head of that school.

Parkinson Memorial School’s new principal Jeff Broomes.
Parkinson Memorial School’s new principal Jeff Broomes.

In an interview with the media at the Pine, St. Michael institution this afternoon, a smiling Broomes said he was ready to get on with the job. He said the students, staff and old scholars were very welcoming and he expected to develop and strengthen new and existing relationships with people at the school.

Now in his 38th year in education, he said he did not expect any animosity at the new school. Stating that in every organisation there “will be differences of opinions”,†he stressed “there is absolutely no way that my views singularly will be the view”.

The 59-year-old said his approach for Parkinson will be similar to that taken at the previous four schools he taught — to put children first.

“My life is about the children and that won’t change… I will always believe in a student-first approach — that is who I am. I will always believe in children encouraging children to do service to the school and the country,” he said.

“I will still be the professional educator that I am. I will be honest and up front with people. I will still be looking to do whatever is best for the interest of children and my country generally. I have already sought and received a copy of the school’s strategic plan by which I will be guided in many ways. These will guide me.

“There is absolutely no way that I will expect to take Alexandra and transport it to Parkinson. That would be a monumental mistake, but there are some guiding principles that I will have that I will always carry wherever I go. I don’t want to jump the gun and say that Jeff Broomes bring these ideas…

“We must understand that the school’s history will play a part as we go forward. I have learnt a lot about people, about trust, respect, sense of decency. I have hurt, my family is hurt, I have taken advice from the person who I see as my advisor, my daughter, who has told me: “Daddy close that chapter knowing that your children at Alexandra love you and they know what good you have done for him, move forward and do the same at Parkinson’.

“When I sit down and really think about it maybe the children at Parkinson need me more now than the children at Alexandra do. This is the fifth school that I have worked at and I won’t pretend — I miss Alexandra children, I totally loved them but I also love St. James children, I also loved the children from The St. Michael School and I absolutely love the children of St. Lucy Secondary.

“What says that I cannot love the children of Parkinson Secondary?” the educator added.

Broomes was previously principal of the Alexandra School for a tenure which was filled with controversy involving teachers there represented by the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union. This included industrial action, which eventually led to the convening of a commission of enquiry into the school’s management.

Sole commissioner, Frederick Waterman, made recommendations that included separating Broomes from Alexandra. Last month Government issued letters to the principal and 19 others at Alexandra notifying them of their transfers to other schools.

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