Private school’s leadership struggles roll on

| 31/08/2021 | 84 Comments
Martin Nugent

(CNS): The problems of leadership at the costly private St. Ignatius Catholic School are continuing as the 2021/22 academic year starts after the new principal, who was employed in March, has not returned. After just one term Martin Nugent’s contract has been terminated, CNS has learned, following complaints about his behaviour at a social event, though no link between the incident and his departure has been officially confirmed.

Nugent took over the school, which has 80 staff members and about 700 students, after a disappointing inspection for the $12,500 per year school and in the wake of a catalogue of management problems.

Now his own departure is adding to those leadership woes. While the reason for his departure appears to be well known among parents and staff, the school has declined to comment officially. In correspondence with parents the school has said that the situation is under investigation, but without outlining the reason why, it said that Nugent is not coming back.

Despite telling Cayman Current, an online education blog, earlier this year that, “Hopefully I’ll be here a long time,” the British teacher was here less that six months in the $100,000 per annum job.

According to a letter sent to parents following the employment of Nugent, the parish administrator, Father Naveen D’Souza SAC, said he was selected from 25 candidates, and after “careful review and analysis, in-depth interviews”, he emerged as “the top choice out of the highly competitive and qualified group of professional educational leaders” for the recruitment committee.

He was recruited at a time when management problems and allegations over financial mismanagement had driven out the former head, Emily Alexander, and led to the resignation of at least seven teachers in 2020.

The most recent inspection rated the school just ‘satisfactory’ due to the catalogue of leadership problems, even though the teaching and achievement of students was rated ‘good’ and ‘excellent’. Inspectors found that, despite the excellent teaching, governance fell short of best practice, that management decision-making wasn’t fit for purpose and this lack of effective governance was destabilising the school.


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Comments (84)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Once the Nuns left and the church & school began being lead by the Diocese of Michigan, instead of the Diocese of Jamaica St. Ignatius has has slow but steady decline…

  2. Anonymous says:

    I chose to send my child to CIS to pretend i was wealthy rather than to St Ignatius to pretend i was a believer. These days I find myself praying for money.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, such salacious news is usually believed first, whatever it may be said to be, when in reality it is usually a smoke screen that is employed to torpedo a person’s tenure, and often bears little or no reality to what has actually transpired and the real reasons for a persons departure. Such tactics are undoubtedly calculated, designed and orchestrated by office political pundits who have an agenda of their own ( such as a power play) and not in the best interests of the students, parents, alumni or school.

    A certain media house seems hell bent on targeting this school and this unfortunate saga once again damages the students, whose interest are the real ones we should all have paramount.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It’s a good school but has a very toxic teaching body. As a former student, I’d know. Our old priest, who was also head of school, treated the staff like garbage. He once yelled at our old receptionist in front of visitors and fired her on the spot, causing her to run out of the front office in tears. He was also the reason for many other teachers leaving. It seems that, even in his absence, the institution still presents issues. Luckily, they seem to be providing top exam results, even in these conditions, so applause to these students!

    • Anonymous says:

      As a parent of a student at SICS, I agree with your comments 100%. I have often said that the priest needs to stay in the church and serve crackers and wine and let the EDUCATORS run the school. XXXX Although this school has issues, I am sure that it isn’t the only school that does and as has been said, the primary focus MUST the education, welfare and protection of our children.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Only Father Ted can save them now.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Meanwhile the school continues to provide a great education and has outstanding examination results again this year I am told. To me that is the acid test as the financial folks say.
    Watch for the results in the press.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Very sad to learn the state of affairs. Excellent school. My children did their primary at st ignatious followed by Middle and high school and became professionals.Thx to then teachers and managent. Pray God to restore its status.

  8. Anon says:

    The religion test

    It’s simple for me .Would you let your young child go into the vestry on their own with a Priest f? yes or no ?

    That’s why my kids don’t go to a religious school.Especially catholic

    • Anonymous says:

      Would you let your child fo to an American school or mall? Mass shooters have been known to use them as killing grounds too. It’s not a religion test at all, just some stupid pointless empty statement, the only purpose of which is to stir up hate.

      • Anonymous says:

        8:01 are shootings taking place on the island? I’m sorry, maybe I’m thinking of some other place.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s simple for you because your view is simplistic and narrow minded.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not sure who you are writing this post but your comments are so damn screwed and skewed. Please tell me/us how many of the school shootings in the USA in the past 10 years have been at a religious or even Catholic School- I dare say the number is minimal if at all. And haven’t students at Govt schools here in Cayman not been found in recent years with knives and other weapons. Your sort of comments makes me wonder about the human race sometimes.

  9. Anon says:

    Sadly this once wonderful school started to show its cracks quite some years ago. Any of those teachers who chose to question the management were labeled trouble makers. Very very sad to see its decline, it still has many wonderful teachers and an awesome student body. Hopefully it will turn itself around again with a few simple changes at the top.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Congrats to the teachers who were brave enough to not tolerate what I heard was abhorrent behaviour. I’m sure they must have feared for their jobs, but having a good leader for them and the students was more important. We should also give some credit to the people in power who had the guts to do the right thing despite the fact that it would temporarily put the school in a bad light.

    • Hubert says:

      When you try and bring about major change in education at any educational institution on island, you piss off vested established interests.

      This is the reason why we are going nowhere with education on our island.

      The losers are our children and our society as a whole in the long run.

      • Anonymous says:

        That’s so true!

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh yes, and certainly not limited to schools, but any organization with small minded people who will stop at nothing to remain as is.
        The comments by 12:23pm summarizes it very well.

  11. Proudcivilservant says:

    Meanwhile our civil service schools are being rated as good.

    How could the private sector let this happen.

    • Anonymous says:

      By handpicked inspectors. Pull your head out.

      • Anonymous says:

        So now when the Govt schools are improving it couldn’t be hard work eh? Oh it’s the Caymanian corruption at play. For your information majority of trained inspectors are expat and there is a mix of inspectors that work in Govt schools and private schools. Pull your head out!

        • Anonymous says:

          Boy you fool.

          • Anonymous says:

            How so? Are you saying my statements are incorrect? If so, how are they incorrect? Do you actually have anything intelligent to add to the debate or is this the sum total of your abilities?

        • Angus says:

          4:57. Thank you. Unfortunately when the Inspectors who are mostly international Inspectors led by an experienced expat Inspector rate a Government school GOOD the Inspectors are corrupt and the teachers are incompetent but when they rate a private school Good the Inspectors are praised.

          What a sad world 4:13 live in.

          • Anonymous says:

            4:13 knows how it go. Locally appointed inspectors, who themselves have failed in the public education system, will never be objective.

            In addition, planned inspections with lead time for the institutions to prepare and get their house in order are completely pointless, both for public and private schools. It’s an embarrassment for those who can’t even do that.

            Want to have a little fun. Make the inspections truly random and unannounced.

            Didn’t think so.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Why are there religious schools anyways? It’s like mixing oil and water.

    “today class, we’re going to discuss how carbon dating works”

    *cue angry parents*

    “Today class we’re going to teach how you can survive inside of a whale”.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because in the West we have democracy and choices. You can choose to be religious or not. No one forces you to choose a religious school.

      • Anonymous says:

        That’s not enough for the atheists. They need religion removed completely with no freedom to practice. The hypocrisy is unbelievable as you also need to have faith that no God exists.

        • Anonymous says:

          I need no faith to be an atheist. Just my brain.

          • Anonymous says:

            Could you use your brain to recreate conception through birth? Perhaps shift, or shorten, the burden on women?

        • Anonymous says:

          If you want to take the Bible literally and believe in something you have no proof exists, that’s your problem.

          Some of us rather observe and accept reality for what it is. Instead of you worrying about atheists, maybe you should focus on figuring out why you believe in something that you can’t prove exists. Do you struggle with logic? Critical thinking? Why do you believe one fairy tale is historically accurate and true while everything else is made up pagan mythology.

          If christians would just humble themselves and accept that other people don’t need to buy into the abrahamic desert delusions, this world would be so much better.

      • Anonymous says:

        But surely any school has to actually teach the truth, things that are real and proven. Calling these religious institutions schools is not really accurate if students come out with a distorted and incorrect view of the world based on ancient religious teachings.

        • How to Talk to a Narrow Mind says:

          So, atheism has the truth??

        • Anonymous says:

          Do you believe an apple fell to the ground because of gravity? It is a rule of science used to explain and govern. It is not the ‘truth’ at all, but we accept it and live by it, they are referred to as Newton’s laws. Einstein had a different explanation, but Newton got there first.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes teach them the truth.. including the science teachers, who should ensure that they present theories as theories and speak of the many fanciful assumptions underlying those theories, which those that try to say that religious schools are teaching fairy tales never admit are still unproven theories, you know like evolution and the Big Bang. Look it up.

          • Anonymous says:

            “A theory is a well-substantiated explanation of an aspect of the natural world that can incorporate laws, hypotheses and facts.”

            Um how about you let scientists focus on the pursuit of science and you go ahead and focus on your pursuit of willful ignorance, quietly please.

        • Anonymous says:

          Ok Genius, please explain our existence. Specifically, please explain how that “something” that we came from was created – it couldn’t have always existed; it had to come from something.

      • Anonymous says:

        Unless of course you are an expat and can’t get your child into CIS or another non religious school.

    • Anonymous says:

      If that’s what we want for our children then we should not be dictated to by anyone!

      • Anonymous says:

        How dare anyone challenge us shoving unproven and man-made dogma into our children’s heads! It’s our right!

    • Anonymous says:

      Oxford, Cambridge and most of the US ivy league schools were founded by Christians

      • Anonymous says:

        As were most wars for the last thousand or so years

        • Anonymous says:

          War goes back way beyond Christianity fool. It is man that makes war, not religion. They might do it in the name of religion, but it is still mankind. But hey let us not let facts get in the way of opinion. Was the Afghan war, Iran/Iraq war, 1st world war, 2nd world war, Libyan war, Falklands war, Rwandan genocides fought in the name of Christianity?

          • Anonymous says:

            Pushed forward by ‘god fearing’ nations. Apparently they don’t believe the commandment ‘thou shall not kill’ applies to them unless they’re pulling the trigger themselves

      • Anonymous says:

        Hundreds of years ago, when people believed all sorts of things that society has moved on from – like slavery.

    • Anonymous says:

      My public school teachers reinforced having good manners, but that was a long time ago, probably well before your time.

      • Anonymous says:

        My public school teachers had a belt and a switch and weren’t afraid to use them. Something to consider.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you’re not religious, then don’t put your child in a religious school. As simple as that.

  13. Anonymous says:

    kudos to those teachers for putting aside the drama of their leadership and delivering excellent teaching to the students. Those of us that are currently under poor leadership knows that not a small feat.

  14. Anonymous says:

    D’Souza is the problem

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s the understatement of the century. Unfortunately for a great school he is tearing that school and the Catholic community apart!

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh here we go again, the mob gearing up for another round of blame the Priest. He is not the problem you set that want to take over the school instead of recognizing that you are parents not educators are the ones that are tearing the school apart. Heaven forbid a brown-skinned man be in charge of the organisation.

        • Anonymous says:

          Many of us parents at the school fully agree that there are parents of a certain mentality at the school trying to take it over – and we are all getting very frustrated with those people and their desire to ruin our school and to demoralize our kids.

          Let the school sort out staff issues. It’s long over due. No issues with my child’s education and how the priest has shed light on the nonsense people are trying to get away with.

          All this article shows is the school was prepared to make tough decisions. I hope they can make some tough decisions on some of the teachers and trouble-making parents because they have soiled the school with their perverse personal agendas.

        • Anonymous says:

          What does it have to do with the race of the priest? That is not the concern here. Stop it with the race-baiting.

    • Anonymous says:

      As a parishoner and a parent with kids at the school I completely disagree, but then again I don’t work for him.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s true but he only picked up a mess left behind by Fr. Suresh. The last few priests have torn apart the community and it has been ran more like a business than a caring church school community.

      My respect to the stalwarts who have stuck it out Ms. Campbell, Mr. Donoghue, Mr. JUNIOR (BIG UP THE CRICKET MASSIVE)

      Class of 2011

    • Anonymous says:

      Jesus is the problem.

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