Celebrity Welcome – Howard Salmon (Right) is congratulated by a parent and a group of students (left) on winning the Lasco Principal of the Year Award for 2017-2018, early Tuesday, December 5, 2017, at his school Mandeville Primary and Junior High School. (Photo Credit: Jhanielle Powell)
Since 1997, Lasco has been collaborating with the Ministry of Education to salute educators, recognizing them for their outstanding performance and impact on education in Jamaica. On Monday, December 4, 2018 Principal of the Mandeville Primary and Junior High School, Howard Salmon, was awarded the well sought after Lasco Principal of the Year Award for 2017- 2018. Salmon, has been credited with reducing student indiscipline by 18 percent while increasing student attendance by 20 percent according to The Gleaner.
We often see the man behind the trophy, but what is the story behind the man? Howard Salmon was born in Balaclava St Elizabeth. He is the last child of ten children for his parents. For his elementary training, he attended the St. Gabriel’s Academic institutions and then graduated to become a student of the Maggoty High School. By the late 80’s he was ready to consider choosing a lifelong career. While he had several options such as becoming a male nurse, a prison warden, a police officer, he was encouraged to become a teacher by his mentor. Advice which he accepted.
“It was because of the high recommendation and influence of Don D. Hewitt, former principal of the Balaclava High School (now Roger Clarke High School) and two-time president of the Jamaica Teacher’s Association, that I was inspired to go to Church’s Teachers College (CTC) and to start my training…,” Salmon expressed.
Since leaving CTC, he has been very busy and has furthered his education at institutions such as Mt. Saint Vincent University, University of the West Indies, and Western Carolina University. He also served as principal of several schools such as Albert Town High School, Chantillou Primary School, Christiana Leased Primary and Infant School, Christiana High School. In 2012 he began to serve the Mandeville Primary and Junior High School where he still serves. He currently serves as a mentor and coach for the National College for Educational Leadership (NCEL), he is also a trained professional by the National Educational Inspectorate and serves as chairman on several school boards.
The St Elizabeth native went on to say, “Education choose me. I see it as a vocation, not a profession. That’s why these accolades and awards have been bestowed upon me today. It was a calling on my heart… to make a difference because it (teaching) was my first love.”
When asked how he felt about being named the fourth principal of the year he responded by saying “It feels like any other day. Because guess what? Each day, through their (students) hugs, through their calls, through their smiles I feel elated and very accomplished. So today I feel accomplished. That’s why I said it is like any other day.”
He went on to say that being surrounded by persons who are willing to work past the 8 am to 5 pm workday keeps him motivated. He expressed that being in one’s calling does not make provision for a holiday. “The call,” he says “is to make a difference, a positive change in the lives of persons we come upon.”
Howard will continue to inspire and motivate all those he meets, keeping in mind the younger generation who is the future. He knows the future is busy but with God on his side, a song in his heat and a passion for change there is nothing that will stop him.