Ray appointed new education department boss

| 20/08/2021 | 32 Comments
Mark Ray, the new DES director

(CNS): Mark Ray has been appointed as the new director of the Department of Education Services (DES) after what officials said was a rigorous recruitment process. He takes up the job after working for the last seven years as DES Head of Business Services but coming on the heels of a six-month secondment to the Ministry of Education (MoT) as acting deputy chief officer.

Ray, who is originally from Barbados, will now be responsible “for leading the Department of Education Services in providing strategic direction and development of the government school education system and implementing national policies and initiatives”, according to a release about his appointment.

In his new position Ray will also lead the senior school improvement officers (SSIOs) in building government schools’ capacity to improve students’ progress and achievement across the ability range, and work with stakeholders to develop partnerships with social agencies, corporate, media and broader communities.

It is understood that Tammy Hopkins, who has been acting DES director for more than two years, will return to her position as SSIO on Cayman Brac, heading education on the Sister Islands. Adrian Jones, who has been acting SSIO, will return to his post as principal of the Layman E. Scott Sr High School, while Devon Bowen, who has been acting in that post, will return to being one of the two deputy principals.

MoE Chief Officer Cetonya Cacho congratulated Ray on his appointment. “He brings a wealth of knowledge to the role and is enthusiastic about building on the success of our education system. I wish him every success and look forward to working with him as we aim to provide the children of the Cayman Islands with a world-class education,” she added.

Deputy Chief Officer Lyneth Monteith, who formerly held the job of DES director, said Ray had proven himself to be an asset to the department. “I am confident that he will excel in this new post,” she said.

Ray said he was grateful for the opportunity to lead the DES team and gave credit to Hopkins. “I look forward to furthering the progress already set in motion under the leadership and support of the previous Acting Director Mrs Tammy Hopkins over the past two years, and contributing to the success of our students and ultimately, these beautiful Cayman Islands.”

Ray has a master’s degree in Instructional Technology and Media from Columbia University, a Post Graduate Certificate in Educational Leadership from University of London, and a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of the West Indies. He also recently completed level 3 Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) training and is currently enrolled in the ILM level 5 programme.

His career began in Barbados in 1996, where he was employed as a high school information technology and mathematics teacher. Throughout the next eleven years, he worked in several capacities within the education sector, including programme director in the Barbados Ministry of Education.

Ray came to the Cayman Islands in 2007 to take up the role of ICT integration specialist in DES and later the ministry. In 2014 he was appointed as DES head of business services, a position that he held until his recent promotion. However, in October 2020, he returned to the MoE for a six-month stint as acting deputy CO for Compulsory Education and Early Childhood Care and Education.

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Category: Education, Local News

Comments (32)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    As a teacher I have dealt with Mr Ray at various times in his role as Business Services. Or, should I say, tried to deal with. Not so great at communication and follow through. Hope he ups his game here.

  2. Anonymous says:

    He will not try to replicate Barbados as things there have been sliding downhill for several years

    Sad, as Barbados was truly one of the shining lights among the Caribbean Islands

    He left, so he should know

    Understand also that the cultural and social systems in Singapore and Finland are quite different – Cayman would have to replicate these before expecting the the same outcomes

    Community first, substantial social net, significant majority local population – don’t forget also, Singapore has had the same governing party for 50+ years

  3. JTB says:

    Any news about that exorcism fanatic in Red Bay ?
    Surely she must have been fired by now ?

  4. Anon says:

    Mark, do not let that Chief Officer and Deputy Chief Officer in Education sway you. Those two ladies haven’t a clue about steering that Ministry. They were both Principals and were horrible at it.

    Stay the course, manage well and listen to the school SMT’s and Teachers. LM and CC in the Ministry are clueless.

    Help us God.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I do know that there are at least two Caymanians in the education system that are equally educated, dedicated and right fitted for such a post.

    I have nothing against the man but it continues to show that it is not what you know but who you know that is alive and well in the Cayman Islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      Those persons that you are referring to, did they apply for the post ? You think that they would do well in the post, did they think the same of themselves? KMT…..

    • Anon. says:

      Knowing “Caymanians” who are equally educated, dedicated and in your mind right fitted for the job means nothing if they didn’t apply for the job or have the aptitude for the job. Many are qualified on paper and don’t have the common sense of a fly and are even worse at managing people.

      Who is deemed to be “Caymanian” these days?

      Do you know that he doesn’t have status now just because he was born and raised in Barbados?

      I have seen several expatriates come here and include themselves in our culture, they care about our children and in some instances do more to educate our children than some “Caymanians” who were born and raised here.

      Also, a lot, obviously not all, of “Caymanians” have “crabs in a bucket” mentality and if they are at the top, they will fight to keep others down rather than outstretch their arm to help them.

      Congratulations on your promotion Mr Ray!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Please continue the trend of education improvement and follow whatever that headmaster is doing at John Gray. I can’t remember a time when a government school has a better rating than a private school.

    • Anonymous says:

      7.34am Agree and yet Juliana still has JGHS Principal on short-term contract. He’s like the 32 year MRCU Pilot who the Ministry didn’t renew and then needed.

  7. Say it like it is. says:

    I have never met Mr Ray, but he must good to get so many accolades on his new appointment, despite not being Caymanian. Congratulations, Mark!.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I had the pleasure to work with Mr. Ray for a few years prior to my departure from the Cayman Islands. Aside from being extremely capable and well qualified, Mr. Ray was one of the nicest and genuine supervisors to work for. Not at all surprised by Mr. Ray’s success and appointment. Congratulations, well-deserved. Nice to see that the right decision was made. MV

  9. Anonymous says:

    Musical chairs with Education Department leaders while our children continue to suffer!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Not really.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mark is a very nice guy no doubt.
      He must nevertheless recognize that so long as Caymanians are taught by third world regional teachers, they will remain in that category.
      Bring in UK Canadian teachers to raise standards, which is after all what CIS and Cayman prep have done.

      • Anonymous says:

        10.12am Correct. Triple C also deteriorated after hiring most teachers from JA when at one time they had none. Same with CTMH Doctors hospital and HSA. I swear cheap labour is going to be the death of us.

      • Anonymous says:

        Just not Canadian teachers. The standard of education there is terrible.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Caymanian’s sit by and don’t get the education to take these rolls. You all are doomed in your own country!

  11. Junior B. says:

    Congratulation to a dedicated and hard working educator. Keep the flame burning brightly ever!!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Congrats. He’s a good guy, with sound judgment.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I congratulate Mr. Ray, and hope that he will be open to is replicating Finland or Singapore, rather than his native Barbados, if world class education is our goal.

    Failing that, look closer to home. CIS or Cayman Prep are both far better than anything anywhere else in our region.

    • C'Mon Now! says:

      You do realize that Barbados has one of the highest levels of literacy in the world and by some accounts spends close to 20% of their budget on education.

      We could learn a bit from them as well.

    • Angus says:

      5:42. A really good appointment.

      Mark just needs to follow John Gray they have the same rating as Prep and CIS

      You are right these schools a far better than anywhere else in the region.

      Let’s now focus on recruiting the best teachers.

    • Anonymous says:

      Idk if you’re genuinely that stupid or just being a troll.

    • Anonymous says:

      5.42pm We should follow Barbados if world class rducation is our goal. I’m also glad we recruited from somewhere other than Jamaica. When Police used to come from Barbados we had much better calibre of officers.

      • Anonymous says:

        If you teach only CXC’s your teachers will come from countries that have CXC’s. Singapore, Finland, and Switzerland are not amongst them. Hiring the worlds best gets a little hard at that point.

      • Anonymous says:

        You understand there are countries with much better education systems that Barbados? Why not try to replicate those? Why not go tor THE best, not the regional best?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes – I mean my kids have left school, but I do follow the exam
      Results etc still. Prep often outperforming many of the most prestigious schools in the world. The fact that JGHS got the same rating as prep, CIS and ST I is a joke and shows how ridiculous the inspection system is in my opinion.

      • Anonymous says:

        Please remember also that Layman E. Scott Sr High School and Lighthouse School also received good ratings from OES.

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