J’can appointed interim principal of underperforming Texas high school
Jamaica-born, Texas school administrator Nicola Myers Gardere has been named interim principal of Marlin High School in Marlin, an institution which has been struggling to maintain standard academic levels among its students. Last week a school district audit at Marlin High, located about 25 miles southeast of Waco, Texas, revealed that of 33 students in the graduating class, only five were eligible to graduate. The shocking announcement by Marlin ISD superintendent Darryl Henson, made national headlines in the US, with feature stories carried in the New York Post, CNN, FOX 5, Washington Post, Washington Times, NPR among others.
Myers Gardere will serve as interim principal for the rest of the school year. For the 2023-2024 school year, she will serve as the principal for two secondary campuses - Marlin High School and Marlin Middle School.
In the most recent Texas Schools report card, Marlin High was assigned a “B” rating – when compared to other schools with similar student populations and economic conditions. The report indicated that nearly all of Marlin High’s 229 listed students are economically challenged.
Myers Gardere, a graduate of Hampton School in Malvern, St Elizabeth comes to the table with impressive credentials. She is a doctoral candidate, an accomplished administrator and a bestselling author of Living Your Abundant Life Too and Restorative Discipline Practices for Today’s Educator. In 2022 she was named outstanding assistant principal of the year by the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals 2021-22 Region 12.
“In my first year, I was on the district’s academic team that assisted with moving the district from an F rating to a B,” she told The Gleaner.
She prides herself on being a committed servant leader.
“My organisation, Myers Gardere International Foundation, has partnered with my church – Open Fire International Fellowship Church in Killeen – to build a school in Sierra Leone ... We currently pay the monthly salaries for all the staff/teachers and feed the children a hot meal everyday,” she shared.
Myers Gardere said: “It fills me with great pride to be a successful Jamaican. The values that my parents Granville and Elaine Myers instilled in me provided opportunities that would not otherwise be afforded to me. Hampton School in St Elizabeth gave me a sense of school pride, and what it looks like to serve with honour and the utmost respect. I pray every student attending Hampton School will excel at the highest level, but most importantly graduate and serve with excellence.”
Her philanthropy also extends home as Myers Gardere has initiated several food drives at Mt Airy All-Age school in Jamaica, with some families also receiving financial assistance to cover extenuating circumstances. She conducts regular book drives to benefit students at Epping Forest All-Age, her alma mater. A community outreach event she organised last year catered to over 200 families from neighbouring communities, including Potsdam district where she was born. Families enjoyed live music and a hot meal, in addition to taking home complimentary bags of food.