St.Maarten Academy P.S.V.E. staff is now in a very peculiar position with its leader, Mrs. Lavern Nelson. The principal of the Vocational section has been accused of many ethically dubious practices by the teachers and other staff members. She has divided the staff and created a toxic environment. Her actions at the school seem to compound the work related psychosocial problems on campus, which is very risky, because the students depend on the teachers for a proper learning environment.
Mrs. Nelson is accused of using her position of power, which is sanctioned by the schoolboard to victimize, single out, harass and demotivate teachers at the school. While teachers have been performing and achieving high results over the years, this year the results dropped from 89% (two years ago) to 65% passing. Unfortunately, her poor leadership skills has now trickled down to the major stake holders, the students.
If the teachers are demoralized, how can they perform their tasks optimally in the classroom and on campus? Due to Mrs. Nelson’s leadership approach, teachers are now distracted and disconnected from their leader and other teachers and most of all their students. Many teachers now see their jobs as an obligation rather than a passion. They cannot wait for school to be over to be away from that stressful environment. Going the extra mile is no longer an option. Survival is the focus.
Based on the ASEAN Guidelines on Good Industrial Relations Practices, Mrs. Nelson should treat all and not some of her teachers honestly, respectfully, openly and with integrity. However, during the 2nd meeting with the minister on Thursday August 30th, 2018, Mrs. Nelson stooped to a new low by engaging in poor industrial relation practices, poor judgement and violated the rights and trust of the teachers.
In an effort to destroy the character of some teachers who were chosen to represent the other staff members, Mrs. Nelson went into their personal records that was entrusted to her as a principal and published certain information such as personal e-mails, personal letters and personal statistics by projecting it on a screen for more than forty persons to view, including the Minister of Education, the Honorable Wycliffe Smith and his cabinet. Mrs. Nelson twisted the truth to taint the teacher’s characters, knowing that the teachers could not rebut during the meeting.
Her presentation was done in response to the 1st meeting, which was held the week before where those same teachers were chosen to represent the larger majority to express the grievances of most of the teaching staff and care unit. Unfortunately, this was done in efforts to protect the ones that were fearful of being victimized and singled out, which is a well-known unethical practice by the Seventh Day Adventist Principal, Mrs. Nelson.
Sadly, what was even more troubling about her actions, is the fact that she made several serious accusations against certain teachers and a staff member that were not even present during her presentation to defend themselves. This is unethical and morally wrong. This is the principal that says to her teachers, we are a team and a family. What is also noteworthy, is the fact that only seven of the thirty eight teachers and staff stood by her side.
In addition, Mrs. Nelson did an excellent job substantiating the teachers’ complaints against her. Instead of dealing with the heart of the issues of the staff, she chose to single out certain teachers the entire week prior to her presentation by issuing letters to them and also victimizing and slandering their names during her presentation.
Mrs. Nelson has achieved the highest achievement for a principal by demoralizing her teachers to save herself, while the school board applaud her actions.
As John Quincy Adams puts it, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” In addition to that, the best quality of leadership is unquestionably integrity.
Mrs. Nelson is a narcissists that has no ethical values, integrity and compassion as a leader and Christian.
Gregory Van Heke