Sat | Jun 25, 2022

Five teachers die in seven days, minister says 'big shock' to system

Published:Tuesday | May 17, 2022 | 4:47 PM
Antoinette Banton-Ellis, principal of Vere Technical High School in Clarendon, died on May 12, 2022. -Tameka Gordon photo
Ann Marie Johnson Lindo, vice principal of Duncans All-Age School in Trelawny died on May 12, 2022. -Contributed photo
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The teaching profession in Jamaica has been hit by the sudden deaths of five teachers in the last seven days. 

Education Minister Fayval Williams gave the count in a statement today in which she expressed "deep sadness" and extended condolences to the immediate families and school communities of the deceased teachers.  

"These passings have been tragic blows to their families," Williams said, adding that "the sudden death of our teachers whose dedicated service covered the primary to the tertiary level has also been a big shock to the education system."

Who were they:

1. Gregory Williams, mathematics lecturer at the Portmore Community College in St Catherine (May 11): Joined as assistant lecturer in 2008. Permanently appointed in 2016. Taught mathematics in the associate degree programmes. 

2. Antoinette Banton-Ellis, principal of Vere Technical High School in Clarendon (May 12): Gave 32 years of service to education, starting at Cross Primary and Junior High as a pre-trained teacher. Worked at several other schools before joining Vere Technical as principal on October 1, 2017.

3. Ann Marie Johnson Lindo, vice principal of Duncans All-Age School in Trelawny (May 12); VP since 2016. Joined staff in 1998 and taught general subjects to grades 4, 5 and 6 with a special passion for mathematics and science.

4. Carlos Gordon, a grade six teacher of One Way Prep School in Kingston (May 14): Taught at the school for 16 years covering grades 4, 5 and 6.

5. Donnalee Wright, of Tarrant High School in St Andrew (May 16): Taught English language across several grades since 2019.
 
“Their inspirational guidance and dedicated service were well appreciated, especially in the discipline they brought to their subject areas and how they interacted with students, parents and colleague educators,” Williams said.

Representatives from the Education Ministry's Guidance and Counselling Unit have been meeting with the schools' administrations, offering counselling and other support.

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