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From Munro master teacher to minister of education - the Ruel Reid story

Published:Friday | March 11, 2016 | 12:00 AMAndre Poyser
Ruel Reid (left), minister of education, youth and information, and state minister Floyd Green seem delighted taking up their posts at the education ministry on Tuesday.
Ruel Reid

Ruel Reid did not discover his passion for education until after he left university. In fact, he had, completed a first degree in management studies and had his eyes set on a career in corporate Jamaica - but something was missing.

To find the answers he was seeking to questions about his life's purpose, Reid decided to return to his roots in the hills of Malvern at Munro College. It was there that the answer became clear.

"Teaching was not really my first career choice, but I had a calling on my life to serve, and I decided to go back to Munro at a point when I was searching for what the Lord would have me do in terms of an area in which I would have the greatest satisfaction and impact. I thought that through education I would have the greatest impact, so I decided to join the staff of Munro in 1996," he said in an interview with The Gleaner.

From his 10-year stint as a master teacher and house master at his alma mater, Reid has steadily made the rounds in almost every area of leadership conceivable within Jamaica's education system.


Master teacher


He moved from being a master teacher to being Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) president, a school principal, and also served as adviser to Prime Minister Andrew Holness when he was the minister of education. Reid has also authored several textbooks, which are still being used by students today.

Reid shared with The Gleaner that Richard Roper, a former headmaster at Munro College, had a great impact on his life and groomed him for leadership. As such, it was no surprise to his classmates that he was appointed head prefect.

"As a student, they always told me I would become a prefect because they said I was behaving like the headmaster and the headmaster's initials were RBR and my initials are also RBR, so he was one of those positive role models in my life. He, along with one of my close teachers, Mr Horton Dolphin, helped to develop my own leadership potential and my own self-awareness," he said.

Now as the second Munronian, Burchell Whiteman being the first, to be appointed to serve as minister of education, Reid says that his sojourn through the education system has given him a clear vision for Jamaica's education system.

"I got to know all the areas of the ministry, all the issues, and again, with my practical experience of being a teacher, an administrator, having been a JTA president, I think I am more than qualified to understand all the different stakeholder groups and interests. And I am in a very privileged position to be fully aware of all the different elements that goes into the education system in Jamaica. I am equal to the task to ensure that I take everybody on board as we strive to move education forward in Jamaica," he said.


Education portfolio


Reid affirmed his belief that his assignment to the education portfolio has an aura of predestination and will provide him with an opportunity to fashion a new Jamaica.

"I am equally concerned about parenting and socialisation of our children and our people. Indiscipline impacts on learning outcomes and we need to have parents and children who understand the need to be punctual, the discipline to study and know that when you have exams you don't wait until the last minute to prepare. You have to be organised. So these are some of the things I am going to be speaking about ... there are the little things that impact performance and learning impacts," he said.