Leighton Johnson to vie for JTA president-electThursday, April 15, 2021
BY ROCHELLE CLAYTON
WAKEFIELD, Trelawny - Principal of the Muschett High School, Leighton Johnson, has thrown his hat in the ring for the post of president-elect of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) for the 2021-2022 administrative year.
“I am promoting the teacher; I am promoting the development of education and a system that is 21st century-ready. I am promoting the teacher as the agent of change who is creative and innovative. The teacher who knows his or her job and willing to go beyond the call of duty to ensure that no child is left behind; that is what I want to promote,” said Johnson, who has more than two decades in the field of education.
He stressed that, if elected, he plans to lobby Government “to have teachers reclassified to bring us back to 80 per cent of market,” foster partnerships with Government and private sector organisations in a bid to secure additional scholarships and grants for teachers and their children so that they can further their education.
“If I am elected president-elect, there are several things that I am desirous of implementing and my running for the presidency this year is simply to represent the teachers. I believe I have a God-given mandate to represent the teachers to the very best of my ability,” Johnson told the Jamaica Observer West.
He explained that his leadership style is one that he believes is fitting for the position of president-elect.
“The kind of leadership that I bring to the table is one that is sincere, selfless, and strong. It is my intention to inspire my colleagues to transform the education sector. I am inspired to transform this nation by ensuring that our education sector becomes the model for every other sector in our country,” he argued.
“I am inspired to ensure that as a nation, we can work together by identifying the strength in every teacher and use that strength to fix whatever challenges that are within our classrooms. I am inspired for transformation…I bring sincere leadership, selfless leadership and strong leadership. That is what our nation needs at this time. That is what the Jamaica Teachers' Association needs.
Johnson's manifesto, which speaks to the current issues and the plight of teachers, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, seeks to alleviate and find solutions to these issues.
“The presidency will allow me to collaborate with my colleagues in identifying the solutions to many of our challenges that we face at this point. The point is that currently we are existing in a very difficult context. There is not much of a model for us to emulate in terms of how schools are to be managed and structured at this time,” he said.
Johnson, who has been principal of the Wakefield, Trelawny- based school for 10 years, told the Observer West that he boasts a stellar involvement in the JTA, dating back to 2001.
“My involvement in the Jamaica Teachers' Association started in 2001 while I was employed at the Nazareth All-Age School (in Manchester) as a new teacher, and there, I was taken to the Northwest Manchester District Association meeting by my principal, at the time. I became very involved. And then I became the assistant secretary for the district association for the year 2002-2003,” Johnson disclosed.
He went on to become president of the Northwest Manchester District Association from 2004 to 2006 and then president of the Manchester Teachers' Association, where he served in that capacity for a year.
Having moved to the Race Course Primary School in Clarendon in 2007, the principal then became a member of the Vere District Association and the Clarendon Teachers' Association.
His last move, which took him to the Trelawny school, has not altered his passion for advocacy, he said.
“When I moved to Trelawny in 2010, I became actively involved in the Queen of Spain Valley District Association. Currently, I am the president-elect for the Trelawny Teachers' Association, so in August I will be the president of the Trelawny Teachers' Association,” Johnson told the Observer West.
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