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Middle School principals named

The new principals at Clearwater and Dellwood Middle Schools are at “a disadvantage” as they have just days to prepare for the new school year.

The Ministry of Education finally announced the two new appointments yesterday after keeping parents, teachers and students in the dark until the last-minute.

Levyette Robinson, who has 29 years experience as an educator, will be moving from Bermuda High School for Girls back to the public sector to be principal of Clearwater Middle School.

While Lisa Marshall will move from the Ministry of Education and put her 16 years experience to good use at the helm of Dellwood Middle School.

However, the Ministry is keeping tight-lipped about the deputy principal’s post at Clearwater Middle School. The press release issued yesterday made no mention of the deputy principal’s post and the Ministry did not respond to request for comment.

Mrs Marshall and Ms Robinson will take up their positions at their respective schools on September 1.

However, Mike Charles, general secretary of the Bermuda Union of Teachers, said principals usually returned to school about two weeks before teachers. The teachers will return on Thursday. Mr Charles said: “It’s a disadvantage for the principals and everyone else coming in this late. I suppose the Ministry has its reasons why it’s so late making the announcement, but we don’t really know what they are.

“I would hope that it was not their intention to be this late and I hope it does not happen again in the future”.

Ms Robinson, who has a Bachelor of Education degree from Queen’s University, began her career in 1979 as a teacher of French and English at the Berkeley Institute. She later received her Masters of Arts in Management and Human Resources from Webster University.

After three years of teaching, she took a leave of absence to pursue a different career and start a family. Her love for children and education brought her back to teaching, initially doing several months as a substitute teacher, which saw her teaching at several Primary and High schools.

She returned to Berkeley in 1986 where she continued to teach French, English and History, also working her way through several positions of responsibility during this tenure head of year, head of foreign languages, first assistant and deputy principal for ten years, and a six month position as acting principal in 2005-2006 when principal Michelle Simmons was preparing to open the new Berkeley Institute building. She was instrumental in helping the school gain its accreditation with Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools in 2007. Since 2007 she has worked as Head of Secondary at Bermuda High School for Girls. Mrs Marshall was the instructional leader for social studies at CedarBridge Academy from 2002-2008, where she also served as the athletics coordinator and co-curricular coordinator.

In 2008 she became a mentor teacher for the Bermuda Teacher Induction Programme and in 2010, she was seconded to the post of Chief Operations Officer for the Board of Education and also served the Permanent Secretary as a Policy Analyst. In addition to these roles within education she has served as the lead advisor for Youth Parliament Bermuda.

Minister of Education Dame Jennifer Smith welcomed Mrs Marshall and Ms Robinson to the principal’s ranks. She said: “As a new school year approaches, it brings with it the promise of new opportunities and new possibilities. These are two very strong and respected members of our teaching profession and I am certain they will bring their focus, dedication and commitment to each of their respective schools, which in turn will benefit our students in the public school sector”.

Shadow Education Minister Grant Gibbons had previously suggested the delayed announcement was leading to “mistrust and unease” and “undermined the credibility of two good schools”.

He said yesterday: ““I am pleased to finally see these appointments and I wish both Mrs Marshall and Ms Robinson success with their new responsibilities. I look forward to hearing an announcement in the near future regarding the deputy principal’s position at Clearwater Middle School.”

The top vacancies became available after Clearwater’s principal Carlos Symonds announced he was moving from the public to the private sector to head up Somersfield Academy and Dr Janette Musson retired as principal of Dellwood. Ms Robinson formerly worked alongside Mr Symonds at Berkeley. And the announcement of Ms Robinson’s sudden departure from BHS last week has had parents talking all weekend.

BHS Linda Parker fuelled rumours when she sent an e-mail to all parents on Thursday saying Ms Robinson had handed in her resignation that day.

The email read that it would take a few months for her to “restructure the secondary department” as: “Mrs. Levyette Robinson, has tendered her resignation as of today … She leaves BHS to take advantage of another professional opportunity. We will miss her very much. I ask you to join me in wishing her the best of luck in her new role”.

Mrs Parker added yesterday that the school “wholeheartedly wishes” Mrs Robinson all the best in her new role and “We look forward to hearing of her successes”.

Clearwater’s deputy principal Dr Derek Tully has also retired. Ministry bosses initially wanted the position to be an internal promotion and two Clearwater teachers are understood to have formerly applied for the position in June. But then in July, the Ministry announced the job was being thrown open to “the whole system” in a bid to get more applications.

Those who applied for the deputy principal’s job still do not know if they have been successful or not.

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Published August 30, 2011 at 10:15 am (Updated August 30, 2011 at 10:15 am)

Middle School principals named

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