On a quest to return to the glory days
Some 20 years after graduating from St. Andrew Technical High School (STATHS), Rayon Simpson is back at the downtown Kingston-based institution.
This time, he says, he is as an educator on a mission.
Simpson says he looking to draw on the support of the neighbouring community, as well as from within the school, to get his alma mater to deliver on its potential as an academic and sporting powerhouse.
Having taken office on January 9, the former STATHS student is, however, very much aware that realising his vision will require teamwork and has embarked on a strategy to get the necessary buy-in from all contributors.
“We are in the process of meeting with the relevant stakeholders and will be crafting the policy as we move forward. We will be reaching out to the church leaders, the relevant political arms as well as our main stakeholders — teachers and staff,” Principal Simpson shared with Arts & Education.
Located at 64 Spanish Town Road, along one of the main arteries of the Corporate Area industrial belt, the school, which sits in the heart of the inner city, has produced a number of sportsmen and women of note, as well as academics and the new principal has a plan to return STATHS to its glory days.
Simpson has a track record to give impetus to that transformation.
For starters, he is a part of the alumni, which has an edge, as he is aware of the issues that need to be addressed, and possibly how to address them.
Before taking over as the principal at STATHS, he has demonstrated excellent managerial capabilities from his experience as registrar with oversight responsibility eight community colleges, manager and training of a vocation training centre and also having served as principal of Belmont Academy in Westmoreland.
Holding a Master of Arts degree with distinction in Education, Simpson has also received professional training from Jamaica’s College of Professional Development for Principals and the National College of Educational Leadership, he has completed postgraduate studies in ‘Internationalisation of Education’ and Global Education.
This wealth of training has provided the STATHS ‘old boy’ with the requisite graduate level training in specific disciplines, as well as the value of multicultural approaches to education, which are of particular relevance in technical education.
These have provided him with not only graduate level training in specific disciplines but has also equipped him with practical educational management competencies, as well as with an understanding of the importance of multicultural approaches to education, which are of particular relevance to technical in general.
Consistent with this Principal Simpson has demonstrated the ability to pursue and realise strategic team goals and respond creatively to new challenges and opportunities. For this reason, Chairman Silvera Castro and the school board are committed to empowering the institution to help each student realise his or her goal of a solid secondary education.
“The Board of St Andrew Technical High School is of the opinion that this mix of leadership and quality management, creativity, and collaborative skills has positioned Mr Simpson to be the ideal principal at this time, with the assistance of the dedicated teaching staff,” Castro told Arts & Education.