Leading the way – Principal working hand in hand with staff to provide knowledge and encouragement that facilitates learning
DPI, Guyana, Friday, October 5, 2018
As the country recognizes and celebrates with teachers, we also recognize the principals who work each day to develop and empower their teachers, meaningfully engage with parents and families, and ensure their schools are learning environment where students can reach their full potential.
Nine years ago, Nirmala Somwaru-Hussian a country girl from East Berbice Corentyne, at age 31, became the youngest Headmistress in the country and on October 11 she will celebrate 25 years as a proud educator.
Hussain, like many other great educators, said she never wanted to or thought of becoming a career educator. Her dream, she thought coming out of school, was to be a state prosecutor, to help champion justice.
Nevertheless, she decided to start teaching right out of high school at age 16 to start earning, until she sorted out the path to becoming a prosecutor.
However, after getting into the classroom and seeing how she was able to make an impact on the lives of others she realized the difference she could make in the lives of many more – as a teacher and kept returning every day wanting more.
“The joy of seeing students become successful in life is what motivates me each day to continue teaching”, she says.
Even though she holds the position as the HM of the Corentyne Comprehensive High School (CCHS), she also tutors English A and B as she feels in the classroom is where she makes the most impact.
It was this passion which caused her to leave her appointment of an education officer in 2007 to return to the classroom.
Being purpose driven, she continued on her quest for education despite attaining higher heights. From a trained teacher, she quickly became a ‘Grade A’ Graduate Headteacher, possessing a Diploma in Arts and General Studies, Bachelor of Arts, Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration. In 2017, she got her Master’s in Business Administration.
“My influence in the classroom was more relevant than a desk job, I can touch more lives. Plus, I am not only a HM, the bond with the children is unbelievable and I have the most amazing staff”.
According to Somwaru-Hussain, she along with her staff set out to transform the CCHS using the best advice she ever got from her father – a retired headmaster; “You are a human first then a principal, be a leader with a heart”.
When she started in 2010, the school was getting a little over 60 per cent in Grades 1-3 passes at CSEC. Presently, the school has earned the number four spot in the Region with 81.3 per cent passes, the highest the school has ever achieved. In addition, in 2013, CCHS was placed in the spotlight when they produced the Region’s top student in Keesha De Souza, but Somwaru-Hussain’s ultimate goal is to achieve 100 per cent passes from grades in 1-3.
Outside of the classroom, the school has also performed well in other areas such as athletics having earned the Champions of Champions title, earning top spots in Cricket, Volleyball and boasts one of the best organised annual ‘Ms. Compri’ Pageant.
A role model, philanthropist and mother figure to many, her advice to students, especially girls, are “Do not be swayed by perpetrators out there. If you do, you will only destroy yourselves and bodies. There is a time and season for everything. Know that Education paves the path to a better life. Enjoy your school days. Focus on what is important and you will achieve greatness but most importantly believe in yourselves and you will achieve greatness.”
As for her fellow teachers who make untold sacrifices every day she says: “I want to encourage all teachers to give of their best. Teaching is a noble profession and we as teachers, ought to uphold that degree of nobility”.
Story and Image: Nafeeza Sakur