The LASCO Chin Foundation, in collaboration with other stakeholders, recognised 130 educators for their impact on education in Jamaica and their exceptional contributions to the school community through its annual Teacher and Principal of the Year Awards.
Held under the theme, ‘Quality education reconceptualised in the digital space,’ the award ceremony also declared three educators top awardees for the 2023-2024 Teacher, Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Teacher, and Principal of the Year titles.
Franklin Burrell, master teacher of chemistry and department head at the St Andrew High School for Girls, was awarded Teacher of the Year.
Burrell, who has served as an educator for more than two decades, was described by the foundation as an educator who is passionate about the integration of modern technologies in education. He has qualifications in artificial intelligence literacy and online and distance education and has received numerous awards for his contributions.
The TVET Teacher of the Year Award went to Ilene Cohall-Bailey, home economics teacher and department head at The Manning’s School.
The foundation described Cohall-Bailey as a logical and creative professional in her continuous pursuit of improvement and innovation. Cohan-Bailey was recognised for consistently inspiring and motivating her students to excel.
Principal of the Year went to Rayon Simpson of Belmont Academy, who was described as a visionary leader committed to nurturing critical thinking and problem-solving skills within his students.
According to the Lasco Chin Foundation, under Simpson’s leadership, Belmont Academy has transformed into the top-performing value-added sixth form in Jamaica. The school officially received the title after the Task Force of Education Report in 2022.
Borzana Jones, master teacher of geography at the Manchester High School, was also presented with the prize for Popular Vote, with over 9,600 public votes on Instagram.
The award ceremony was held in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Youth (MoEY) and the Jamaica Teaching Council (JTC).
The Teacher, TVET Teacher, and Principal of the Year awardees shared in a prize pool of $525,000. Third-place finishers received J$25,000, second-place finishers received J$50,000, and the winners each received J$100,000.
The top awardees received plaques and gift baskets courtesy of LASCO. They will also attend the 2024 Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Conference in Washington, D.C. from March 22 to 25, 2024, to enrich their professional development.
Executive chairman of LASCO Affiliated Companies, James E. D. Rawle, in his remarks, highlighted the importance and need for quality education to Jamaica’s development and evolution of practices, as well as the importance of inclusivity.
“Over the years, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Youth and the Jamaica Teaching Council, modifications have been made to the nomination and selection processes and procedures and in other aspects of the programme. The clear idea is to innovate and renovate to expand to become more inclusive and be more effective,” said Rawle.
According to the foundation, the awards ceremony showcased the innovative approaches adopted by teachers and principals in embracing digital tools to enhance the quality of education, from interactive online lessons to the creative use of technology to ensure social stability and security.
“As the achievements of some of Jamaica’s outstanding educators are celebrated, LASCO looks forward to a future where quality education continues to evolve in the digital space,” the foundation wrote in a release.