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Educator receives PM's Medal for 37 years of service

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

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AFTER almost four decades in the teaching profession, former principal of St Thomas and St Andrew Technical High schools, Dr Phillip Wilson has been awarded the Prime Minister's Medal of Appreciation for Service to Education.

The educator, who also served as vice-principal at Denham Town High School and teacher at Papine High School, was presented with his award during a ceremony held at Jamaica House, recently.

“I am a lifelong learner who vowed that I would give back to education. It is a good feeling seeing someone recognise you and what you have done over the years,” Dr Wilson said.

The retired educator spent 37 years in the profession — 17 years as a principal and the other 20 years as a classroom teacher.

“It's the love that I developed working with the parents and the kids that motivated me to continue for so many years; and I felt that I was a successful person, helping to create other successful persons. I am a believer in education; education will change your life,” he stated.

Dr Wilson, who is a past student of St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS), said that while he enjoyed his role as a teacher, being a principal exposed him to all aspects of running a school.

“My going back to STATHS was something that I cherished, as it brought back a lot of memories for me,” he stated.

During his tenure as principal at the school, Dr Wilson introduced a number of initiatives aimed at enhancing the learning experience for the students.

The measures he implemented included the introduction of gender education, where boys were taught mathematics separately from girls, an initiative which yielded a 13 per cent increase in passes at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate level.

Additionally, he secured sponsorship for the perimeter fencing and playing field at the school as well as sponsorship to build and equip the gymnatorium. This resulted in increased students' performance at the ISSA Boys' and Girls' Championships and Penn Relays.

He was also the founder of the S W Isaac/STATHS Annual Invitational Track and Field Meet.

While at the St Thomas Technical High School, Dr Wilson established the sixth-form programme.

He also introduced the Grade 11 extension programme, which targeted students from the parishes of St Thomas, Portland and Kingston who were out of the school system due to pregnancy or expulsion. “This I consider to be one of the best things I have ever done for students,” Dr Wilson said.

He said that many of the students who participated in the programme were able to overcome their circumstances, “going on to tertiary institutions and coming back as teachers, and this is all because they got a second chance”.

Dr Wilson also served as an education officer at the Ministry of Education, where he was seconded for a year.

During his tenure, he supervised 10 technical and vocational departments as well as supervised and coordinated the National Curriculum in Technical and Vocational Education.

In addition, he played an integral role in the development of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Manuals for Schools at the Ministry of Education.

Outside of his role as an educator, Dr Wilson, who is also a justice of the peace, is very involved in the community.

He served as zone chairman for the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA); chairman of youth football and board member of ISSA; president of the Association of Principals of Technical High Schools; and mentor to the Pre-University Men's Programme (PUMP) at The Mico University College.

The educator said he also conducted seminars in pedagogical development for teachers in St Thomas, Kingston, and St Andrew.

The former principal has received numerous awards, including the Social Development Commission certificate of merit for Contribution to Youth Development in St Thomas, and the HEART Trust/Ministry of Education Certificate of Merit for Effective School Management.

— JIS


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