Posted - 09/02/2003 : 08:31:20 AM
| Lee retires after 21 years
BY MARK CUMMINGS Observer staff reporter
Saturday, August 30, 2003
LEE...underneath that nice and gentle is an iron lady, because I can't be pushed around; I work according to principle
MARTHA BRAE, Trelawny -- When the new school year begins next week, the 42 year-old William Knibb Memorial High School in Martha Brae, Trelawny will be without its principal of 21 years, Margaret Lee.
Lee, who started teaching at the co-educational institution in 1975 will, as of September, embark on a three-month pre-retirement leave before going on full retirement.
Diana Wynter, a former principal of the Port Antonio High School in Portland, will replace her.
"I am leaving happy," the soft-spoken educator told the Observer . "I am very happy that I was able to steer the school to the point of it being able to meet the challenges of the 21st century."
Starting her stint at the institution as a teacher of mathematics and geography, the Micro Teachers College and University of the West Indies graduate, worked her way up through the ranks -- becoming senior teacher, head of the mathematics department and vice-principal, before assuming the top job.
"When I was asked to take up the position as principal in 1982, I took it with some reservations but I also thought that it was an answer to my ambition. When I started out as a teacher I did say that I wanted to reach the pinnacle of this profession," Lee explained.
When she took up the post, she said, there were persons both inside and outside of the school community who doubted her ability to run the institution.
"There were some very negative persons around, in terms of their perception of my ability to run the school. Some said I was too soft, some said I was too nice and gentle," Lee noted.
"But I tell you, underneath that nice and gentle is an iron lady, because I can't be pushed around; I work according to principle," the strong disciplinarian said.
Under her stewardship, the school, which was founded by Baptist pastor, Stephen James, grew at an alarming rate, particularly at the turn of the 1990s.
"In the 1990s we achieved a lot at the school. We restored our science laboratories, upgraded the playfield, expanded the auditorium and institute a reading laboratory," the outgoing principal added.
During the latter part of the decade, a new classroom block was added.
But as the physical plant expanded, so too did the school's population.
Now, the institution which started with 41 students has a population of just under 1,200 and a teaching staff of 50, including two guidance counsellors.
Over the years, William Knibb performed creditably in the areas of academic and sports.
For instance, in 2001 and again in 2002, its students received exceptionally good passes in the CXC examinations, which resulted in five of them receiving national awards for their performance.
CXC examination results were also very good this year.
In the area of sports, the school won the under 16 football competition in 2001 and last year its football team were first runners-up in the DaCosta Cup competition.
The school has also produced outstanding athletes such as world 200 metre record holder Usain Bolt, Marvin Anderson and West Indies 'B' cricket team member Lorenzo Ingram.
According to Lee, the school could not have performed so well had it not been for the support of the Parent Teachers' Association, the teaching staff and members of the wider community.
C. Paul Earle (Pablo)