Focus on principals | Adjoa Dawes – The Lord guides her
She is a committed woman of God, dedicated, and ensures that work is done in a structured and organised way. She develops a professional community of teachers, and she works with the teachers to create a collaborative focus on student learning. This lady also shapes a vision of academic success for all students.
Adjoa Dawes is the principal of Emmanuel Christian Academy on 2 Olivia Road, Kingston 8.
"Miss Dawes fosters an effective working relationship with teachers and all stakeholders," says V. James, one of the kindergarten supervisors.
According to Mark-David Messam, a former head boy of the school, "Miss Dawes is a good principal and the children respect her a great deal because of how she speaks to and responds to them."
Born in Ghana, West Africa, Dawes came to Jamaica at age nine and made the island her home.
What of her interesting unusual Christian name? "My parents gave their children the names of the day they were born," she said. "So Adjoa means the girl born on Monday." Her brother, Kojo, was born on a Tuesday.
Dawes attended Shortwood Practicing, St Hugh's high School, and the University of the West Indies, Mona, where she majored in Spanish and minored in French.
She taught at St Andrew High School for girls for a number of years. There was no advertisement in the papers for a post, but she walked in and asked for a job, applied, and was favoured with the job.
"I think that the Lord provided the job for me," Dawes said. "I truly believe that."
At St Andrew High, she taught English, drama, and Spanish. She also did a stint of teaching Spanish (fifth form) at St Hugh's High. "This was during the era when students were given the opportunity to teach," she said.
Was teaching her first love? "I can't tell you that. I thought I was going to be a translator," she said.
Dawes comes from a family of educators.
"My father was a teacher/lecturer at the University of Ghana. When he came back to Jamaica, he became the director of the Institute of Jamaica for a number of years," she said.
Her mother was a teacher; her grandfather was a teacher; her brother is a teacher/lecturer at Nebraska University; and her sister is a teacher at Immaculate Conception High school.
There is an axiom that says, "Those who love teaching help others love learning," which she follows.
"I remain in it because I believe it is a gift that God has given me, the gift of teaching, not just in the classroom, but outside of the classroom," she said.
That is part of the reason that whenever Dawes recognises a special gift in people, she is bold enough to tell them.
Dawes has been at the Emmanuel Christian Academy for over 13 years.
"Just being around the children makes me happy," she said. "There will always be changes in the school, but the children make it a worthwhile experience."
Dawes has implemented numerous programmes to enhance the positive and the development of both the staff and the children of this institution and supports various activities of the PTA.
Whenever there is a sports event, she makes the time to cheer the students on.
Emmanuel Christian Academy Motto: "Emmanuel God with us."
Number of children on roll: 595 classes from nursery to grade six teachers; over 50 teachers.
- The author is a guidance counsellor at Mona High School, St Andrew.