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From Tastee to KC

Dave Myrie is new principal of ‘Purples’

BY HG HELPS Editor-at-Large helpsh@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, September 07, 2012    

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EDUCATOR and business executive Dave Myrie is the new principal of one of the Caribbean's foremost high schools, Kingston College.

Myrie, whose appointment took affect on September 1, left his job as general manager of popular fast food company, Tastee Patties, to become day-to-day head of the school that has been without a principal since August 2010 when former outstanding Jamaica College footballer of the 1970s Herbert 'Herbie' Nelson left for unstated reasons. Nelson had served for only one year.

The likeable vice-principal Everton Burrell acted as principal for the second time, during the period.

Myrie also served as principal of Wolmer's Boys School with much success.

"I am extremely happy to be principal of Kingston College," Myrie told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

"Education is my passion and although I was out of the system for a while I continued to serve areas of education," added Myrie, a director of Racers Track Club, home of Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake.

Before his time as Tastee, Myrie, who was schooled overseas, was deputy chief executive officer and chief operating officer of Grace Kennedy subsidiary, Hardware & Lumber Ltd.

KC support groups, the Kingston College Old Boys Association and the Fortis Pavilion have already endorsed Myrie's appointment.

"The KCOBA congratulates Mr Myrie and wishes him well in what we anticipate will be a successful tenure at our alma mater," the association said in a statement.

"We pledge our full support and look forward to a great and fruitful working relationship.

"We also take this opportunity to thank Mr Everton Burrell, who acted in the capacity of principal, for holding the 'reins' and wish him well in his substantive capacity of vice-principal," the association said.

The 'Pavilion' was equally excited about the appointment.

"We pledge our unwavering support to him and his team, and anticipate a cordial and fruitful partnership," the 'Pavilion' said.

"The hard work and commitment of Mr Everton Burrell who acted as principal during the period, has not gone unnoticed. His services will still be rendered to the school through his role as vice-principal.

"Let's all work harmoniously and assiduously to ensure that Kingston College remains the standard by which all other institutions are measured," the 'Pavilion' added.

Myrie comes to the all-boys institution -- with locations at 2a North Street and 13 Upper Elletson Road in Central Kingston -- with a reputation of being a highly-competent educator and manager.

The new KC principal, who also serves as first vice president of the Jamaica Paraplegic Association, said that working with the youth and moulding lives was one of the most important things to him.

"Of all the money you make, changing lives is more important. I am back where my passion is," he said.

He had urged school principals more than a year and a half ago to "adopt more corporate-like principles in their management of schools, adding that there were far more similarities than differences between a company's chief executive officer and a headmaster.

"They use the same principles. As the principal, you are the CEO of that school and as the CEO, you are responsible for everything within that sphere," he told high school principals in his capacity as guest speaker at the launch of the Mutual Building Societies Foundation Centres of Excellence programme in January last year

"A critical skill that any leader must have is to set the culture of the school, and how you present yourself and how you dictate it will determine that.

"Therefore, if you are not going to tolerate lateness and you set that up from day one and it flows down to all of your people, then that culture is going to be embedded in your school."

He argued at the time that as the school's effective CEO, that leader ought to set targets, have a vision and send the message across in simple form so that it could be understood clearly.

"As a principal, you have to delegate a lot. However, you cannot delegate and leave it like that. You have to retain some of the responsibility to ensure that what you are delegating is being done," he said, adding that principals would be successful based upon the implementation of their visions.

"If the board members are the ones who set that focus for you, I think you have lost the plot because the board should not be micro-managing you as the principal of the school. You are the ones running the schools on a day-to-day basis, therefore, you are the ones who have to set the vision," he said.

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