July 28, 2021

Change in leadership announced for the Cayman Islands Dept. of Ed. Services

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Lyneth Monteith_DESOn Thursday 19th February, 2015 Acting Chief Officer, Mr. Christen Suckoo formally announced a change in leadership at the Department of Education Services which will take place 1st March, 2015.

Moving on after serving over 20 years in the Cayman Islands education system, Mrs. Shirley Wahler served at Cayman Brac High School from 1998 to 2007 and served as lecturer, librarian, registrar and head of general studies at the Community College of the Cayman Islands prior to that time. She became Chief Education Officer for the Department of Education Services in 2007 and led the reorganization of the secondary school system in 2010.

Remarking on her career within the Cayman Islands Ministry of Education, Mrs. Wahler said “I have been very fortunate to contribute and shape many changes that have taken place over the years in the education system of the Cayman Islands.”Shirley Wahler_DES

Mr. Suckoo said, “I wish to thank Mrs. Wahler for her dedication to the education system. I wish her all the best as she takes on new challenges in Saint Helena.”

Ms. Lyneth Monteith, current Principal at John Gray High School (JGHS), will take on the role of Acting Chief Education Officer. Ms. Monteith has a long history in the Cayman Islands Education System. She has spent the past 34 years as an educator with 26 of those in leadership positions across middle and high school. This has enabled her to gain experience at different levels of the system from classroom teacher through to senior leadership.

During this time she has worked in teams on curriculum development, local text book writing and various system changes. Worthy of mention is the change to the Schools within Schools System and all through high schools. In the case of the latter she was a part of the team responsible for leading the planning and implementation of this project.

Her involvement with education reform extends to being a member of working parties on national initiatives such as the National Strategic Plan, leadership training for Principals and Deputies and providing strategic advice on national policies and implementing same in her role as a Principal. Her ability to strategically plan for school improvement has resulted in the selection of courses of study on the curriculum which caters to the student’s needs. Additionally, her strategic planning has enabled staff to develop and hone their skills towards successful career advancement.

As the Principal of the largest high school on the island, her strategic visionary focus has led to improvements in academic progress in the school. Under her leadership the school’s external examination results have improved. Prior to 2010, the results for students achieving 5 level 2 passes were in the low two figure range. Today all JGHS students are entered for level two courses and the results, which improved by 7% in 2011, have continued to steadily improve. In 2014, the school was on target for the predicted percentage of 5 level 2 passes (including English and Mathematics), an achievement which has never occurred in previous years.

Ms. Monteith holds a Bachelor of Education from Leeds University, a Masters of Arts in Educational Management from Bath University and a National Educational Leadership Certification (NELP). She has also taken part in continued professional development and has certifications in project management, change management, and restorative justice.

Acting Chief Officer Suckoo stated, “I am looking forward to working with Ms. Monteith to build upon the strengths of the education system and tackle the areas of weakness that remain. Ms. Monteith has led John Gray through numerous improvements and although there is still more work to be done, I feel that Ms. Monteith has the experience and professional knowledge that place her in contention to lead the education system.”

He went on to say, “I believe people sometimes underestimate the amount of hard work and dedication that goes into supporting over 1000 teenagers to develop academically, socially, emotionally and physically. This is not an easy task but one that Ms. Monteith and her team at John Gray High School have continuously strived for.”

“Ms. Monteith has demonstrated the ability to be strategic, visionary and plan long term for improvement. She is well versed in the systemic needs and has demonstrated the ability to effectively lead towards continued growth of the education system in these islands. Her appointment to Acting Chief Education Officer is an important part of succession planning in the Ministry of Education as at the end of her acting role she, along with others in the education system, will have gained the necessary experience to be a viable candidate when the post is advertised” said Mr. Suckoo.

Ms. Monteith said “I very much look forward to the challenges of this position, but more importantly, I look forward to the opportunities to contribute to improvements and effect positive change in education services.”

Over the next few months Deputy Principal, Matthew Holmes will be leading John Gray High School and he will continue to be supported by Ms. Monteith and Senior School Improvement Officer, Roger Morris, from the Department of Education Services.

“The Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs wishes to thank Mrs. Wahler for her years of service and wishes her well in her future endeavors.” said Hon. Winston Connolly, Temporary Minister of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs. “We also welcome the announcement of the Acting Chief Education Officer, Lyneth Monteith and look forward to working together for future improvements in education services,” he said.

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