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Published 21st April 2008, 10:30am

Three of Caymanís educators were recently recognized for outstanding achievement when the Education Ministry presented them with their awards for successfully completing the National Education Leadership Programme (NELP).

The NELP training programme is designed specifically for education professionals in, or seeking to adopt, leadership roles. Those who have been through the NELP programme agree that its rigorous demands put educators through their paces, bearing testimony to which, is the fact that this yearís successful trio were all that remained of the original eighteen who entered on the course two years ago.

Education Ministry Chief Officer and Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Angela Martins MBE, JP, who presented the awards said, "We are tremendously proud of the achievements of these three education professionals, who have demonstrated exceptional determination and ability by successfully completing the NELP." She added, "We believe firmly that the professional development of our educators is an essential strategy for building an effective education system, and that leadership potential must be harnessed where it clearly exists."

The three proud recipients of the NELP award were, Allison Wallace, Deputy Principal, Red Bay Primary School; Deborah Chaves-Thompson, Principal, Montessori-by-the-Sea; and Lyneth Monteith, School Leader of Leading Edge High School on the George Hicks Campus in George Town. Mrs. Monteith expressed her delight upon receiving the award, saying, "I have learned a great deal through NELP about best practices in effective school management. The course also introduces you to a lot of good ideas and really makes you think about the approach you take to leadership and delivering the needs of your students." She added, 'I think I speak for us all when I say we are very pleased that the Ministry has supported us in this way."

The NELP programme, which started in 2003, was developed specifically for the Cayman Islands and has to date been administered by the Education Standards and Assessment Unit, the government body responsible for conducting independent evaluations of Caymanís public and private schools.

Mrs. Mary Bowerman, Acting Director of the Education Standards and Assessment Unit, explains, "NELP is a challenging, practical programme based on best practices in real schools. It focuses on developing the leadership and management capabilities of principals and senior managers." The two-year programme was developed in partnership with the London Centre for Leadership in Learning in the UK and takes into account the particular needs of schools in the Cayman Islands. Mrs. Bowerman continued, "NELP integrates well with the current student-centred thinking in education in the Cayman Islands, because it benefits students directly by equipping school leaders with the practical skills they need to run institutions which focus on studentsí needs."

NELP provides its successful candidates with the equivalent of the UK's National Professional Qualification for Headship, which is compulsory for Principals in England and Wales. Topics covered by NELP include developing and implementing a vision, strategic and development planning, target setting, performance evaluation, team-leading, managing resources and meeting studentsí needs.

Mrs. Shirley Wahler, Chief Education Officer at the Department of Education Services, also reiterated the value of NELP in the professional development framework for educators. "Successfully completing NELP is a significant achievement. These three professionals are testimony to the level of talent we can boast to possess locally, and we hope to see greater numbers coming through the course successfully in future years. Strong and visionary leadership is the key to running an effective education institution. By helping to develop the leadership and management skills of our local educators, we can be sure that we are also developing the standard of teaching and learning delivered to our students."

The three proud recipients of the NELP award
The three proud recipients of the NELP award (from left to right): Allison Wallace, Deputy Principal, Red Bay Primary School; Lyneth Monteith, School Leader of Leading Edge High School on the George Hicks Campus in George Town; Deborah Chaves-Thompson, Principal, Montessori-by-the-Sea

From left to right: Lyneth Monteith, School Leader of Leading Edge High School on the George Hicks Campus in George Town; Vaughan Carter, Deputy Chief Officer (Education Ministry); Deborah Chaves-Thompson, Principal, Montessori-by-the-Sea; Mrs. L. Angela Martins MBE, JP, Chief Officer and Permanent Secretary (Education Ministry); Allison Wallace, Deputy Principal, Red Bay Primary School; Mrs. Mary Bowerman, Acting Director of the Education Standards and Assessment Unit