JTA hails contribution of former regional officer
Evelyn Tugwell, former regional officer of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) in western Jamaica, has been hailed for her "immeasurable contribution and impact on the education sector and the community" in a career spanning almost half a century.
Her commendation came at the recent presentation of the association's highest accolade, the JTA Roll of Honour Award, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel. She is the 46th recipient of the award, which has been conferred on some of the nation's most outstanding educators.
The citation, which described her as "the quintessential administrator and advocate for teachers' rights", traced her journey to educational excellence dating back to her becoming the first child from the district of Lilliput, and the fourth from Mt Zion Elementary School in St James, to pass the Common Entrance Examination.
Highlighting her 20-year tenure as regional officer with responsibility for more than 200 schools in St James, Hanover, Westmoreland and Trelawny, the citation noted Evelyn Tugwell's understanding of the industrial relations code; her fearless and even-handed manner in addressing teachers' concerns; and her ability to diffuse potential conflicts. She knew most of the more than 700 teachers and principals by name; served on several school boards; and established strong relationships with stakeholders in the wider community.
Prior to her appointment as regional officer, Tugwell served, initially, as a classroom teacher, and then, as vice-principal at Anchovy Comprehensive High School. She took up her first teaching assignment in 1970 at the Green Island Junior Secondary School, now Green Island High School, and subsequently became the youngest-ever principal at her alma mater, which was upgraded as the Mt Zion All-Age School.
A long-standing member of the JTA, Tugwell, who is a former Anchovy District Association president and St James Parish Association president, now serves on the association's general council and central executive.
She is the recipient of the JTA's Edith Dalton James, Golden Torch and 50th Anniversary awards, as well as the Prime Minister's Medal of Appreciation for Outstanding Service to Education.
At the community level, she serves on the Governor General's Achievement Award Committee, the Parish Advisory Committee of the St James Parish Council and the Board of Management of Sam Sharpe Teachers' College, among other institutions. She was presented with the parish council's Sam Sharpe Award in 2014. Tugwell is also a deacon at the Mt Carey Baptist Church.