MP Lister On Dr Heatley: “Tell Him Get Cracking”

March 15, 2014

Speaking in the House of Assembly last night [Mar 14] Independent MP Terry Lister referenced the reports that Bermuda’s Commissioner of Education has been shortlisted for another job in the United States only six months after arriving in Bermuda, and told the Minister to “tell him get cracking.”

According to U.S. news reports Dr Edmond Heatley — Bermuda’s Commissioner of Education — has been shortlisted for the position of Superintendent of the Orleans Parish School Board in Louisiana.

Dr. Heatley, an American, took up the post in Bermuda on September 11, 2013, and the post on the Orleans Parish School Board website announcing the launch of the search for the new superintendent is dated October 23, 2013 — about 6 weeks after Dr. Heatley took up the post in Bermuda.

Audio excerpt of Mr. Lister’s comments

Speaking last night, Mr Lister said, “I like many others was shocked at the report today of Dr. Heatley being shortlisted for job in the States. When you get shortlisted, you have to apply well ahead.

“Dr. Heatley took up his job in Bermuda on the 11th of September, so he applied for this new post on December 11th? November 11th? October 11th? Or September 11th?”

“I got a little advice for you Minister, tell him get cracking….tell him get cracking. We want a commitment to our children, and if he is not prepared to do it, get cracking. And he’s already shown us he does not have it.

“Get rid of him,” added Mr. Lister.

We asked Education & Economic Development Minister Dr Grant Gibbons about these reports yesterday, and while Dr. Gibbons explained that Ministers don’t get involved in staffing issues as they are handled by the technical officers, he did say that “this is also something we just learned about today, and I haven’t a chance to talk to Dr. Heatley yet so I don’t know what his perspective is on it” and they have “not had any indication Dr Heatley plans to leave.”

We also asked Shadow Education Minister Walton Brown for comment, and he said if these reports pan out to be correct, it suggests a “lack of really firm commitment” which he called “disconcerting, as it means that his head is not fully committed and focused on the Bermuda students and our challenges.”

A subsequent report last night from the Louisiana press said, “One concern immediately surfaced about Heatley: He began his Bermuda job fewer than seven months ago. Newspapers on the island reported his colleagues were bothered he applied for a new job so quickly.” The report said the school Board member Sarah Usdin was “surprised to hear about Heatley’s recent arrival in Bermuda.”

Attempts by Bernews to get comment/clarification from Dr. Heatley yesterday were unsuccessful.

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Comments (61)

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  1. Longtail says:

    Surely Dr Heatley is in Bermuda on a contract. Instead of the uninformed, emotional and regretfully – it must be said – politically charged responses, what are the facts here? Just what are the terms of employment that he can be thinking of packing his bags so soon?

    • The Dark Knight Returns says:

      I do not blame Dr. Heatley at all. He saw an opportunity and he took it. He probably had never been to Bermuda anyway. I blame the Government who always thinks the answer to our problems is always beyond our shores. We have people right here who could have done that job and countless others. One thing that Bermuda keeps forgetting, there are problems everywhere in the world and every country is broken. I bet the Government does not learn from this. While we are on the topic I bet the person who is supposed to take over from the policeman who just retired will be a foreigner.

      • Speak Truth says:

        This position is considered more like that of a consultant. The conditions differ from a CS. This means it is not approved by the Public Services Commission and therefore the Minister does have a final say. This was a bad move by the Government and should have never been done.

        Once again Government bringing in two more high level post which will be filled by non Bermudian at Education. This is very troubling and speaks to our lack of value for our own people.

        No we do not need Heatley nor the other Two High Ranking Officers Recently hired at Education.

        Bermuda must begin to believe in their own and value their own. Education is too Top Heavy and recent changes by the Commissioner has made if even more top heavy. All needs to be put at the school level for real change to take place. Put folks in schools to help make effective impact on learning and teaching.

        Removal of Heatley is a small start.

        • BETTTY TRUMP says:

          Government should not have hired Dr. Heatley, and listen to the people of Bermuda. Now lets get on with re-shaping Education, and put the resources in our schools. How many Officers do you need to run a small school system as Bermuda? Too many folks focus on high positions, rather than the children. I am really concern for Bermuda’s future, we must give our young people the best !

    • North West says:

      Unless it is stated in his contract, Dr. Heatley has every right to apply for a job elsewhere.This is common practice in the world today. Also if it is, contracts can be broken.

  2. Terry says:

    Probably ripping Bermuda off. Typical yank.
    Somewhere in his contract there is a big “if” and when and “due too” with regards to terms of.

    Get cracking is right.

  3. HAHA says:

    Did anyone think that ‘maybe’, he might have disclosed this in his negotiations for his current job??
    Everyone seems so quick to throw someone under the bus these days…..
    I’m sure if he was trying to decide which way to go, this won’t help.

    • Really says:

      According to the Education Minister, Dr. Grant Gibbons, he had no knowledge of this and he only found out about it from the media. Goodbye Dr. Heatley, you are truly wanted elsewhere.

      • ya mon says:

        You do realize that he wasn’t the Minister of Education when Dr.Heatley was hired.

  4. Unbelievable says:

    I’ll say it again, If he does leave because of a new job or we fire him or whatever, I suggest abolishing the post. It only ever brings debate and arguments and controversy. No one is EVER happy with the person who takes the job anyway. (and this goes back to the PLP era too. It’s not just this Govt).

    We have an Education ministry and Department, a ton of head teachers, principals, education civil servants, a Minister, a Junior Minister and an Education PS. You mean to tell me we can’t get education right with these people already?

    Save the six-figure salary for this post and put it towards scholarships.

    • Terry says:

      Well put Unbelievable.
      So much talent on island.
      And many that can rule with an iron fist and gloved with compassion for needs.

  5. Onion says:

    Dr. Heatley was hired by a board largely appointed by the PLP with no political interference by the OBA…

    PLP vs. PLP again.

    • Politics time again says:

      The only political commentary that should be made is upon hearing the news on Friday why didn’t the minister step out for five minutes make a phone call and ask if this was indeed true and perhaps a brief explanation. Then the minister could have addresses even a preliminary point in the House. Talk anout showing a lack of commitment the buck stops with the minister lets not make excuses. The commissioner is not a slave and if he wishes to go so be it but the minister must be ready to act where necessary. This is the future of Bermuda we are talking about.

    • boogiedownproductions says:

      Can you prove your point
      um just asking

    • boogiedownproductions says:

      Can you prove your point

  6. Triangle Drifter says:

    Why would he bail out of Bermuda so soon?

    Could it be that once here & seeing the shambles & the active political interference that is Bermuda’s education administration, he wants out. Perhaps he sees it as a lost cause without the will to change so there is no point in trying if he will be undermined at every turn.

    Just another possibility.

  7. Scadaffi says:

    Bermuda was just a sojourn.
    Can’t trust anyone these days-money money money.

  8. campervan says:

    Was he welcomed in and given support to get the job done?
    Was he ostracised and blocked by the “AME Education mafia”?
    Did he bail when he realised he wouldn’t be given free reign to change out the structural problems that plague the education system in Bermy?

  9. Valirie Marcia Akinstall says:

    Is this not the remit of the panel setup to vet all candidates, short-list and select the final new Commissioner of Education?

    So, why would the Minister of Education want to have even an informal conversation with Dr Heatley about his plans? Why not? To avert any potential legal complications.

    The new speculation should be investigated by the same panel that offered him his contract. And they should invite Dr Heatley in for a private meeting to probe into the veracity of the speculation, and all other aspects that may affect his contract flowing from their discussions. The panel should make their recommendations to the Minister on how they intend to proceed on behalf of the Ministry of Education.

    I could be wrong, but even an informal discussion with Dr Heatley by the Minister is a potential recipe for disaster. Americans are very litigious human creatures.

    London, England

    • Sandy Bottom says:

      Americans might be litigious, but any employment in Bermuda is governed by Bermuda’s laws. There is no reason why an employer wouldn’t ask an employee what is going on, if the employer becomes aware the employee might be looking for another job.

      The biggest concern shpuld be: why is this happening? What is it about Bermuda and its education system, its politics, its state of affairs, that would cause somebody in this position to potentially give up after six months? That should concern everybody. Instead I’m there will be reams of stupid bickering about whether or not a Bermudian should be hired in his place.

      • Valirie Marcia Akinstall says:

        @Sandy Bottom…

        Your first paragraph is obscure, the employer being whom, Dr Grant Gibbons?

        I am merely pointing out that if termination is the option then legally we must terminate in accordance with both his contract AND the law.

        Honestly, we do not know what Dr Heatley’s reasons are for continuing to seek employment elsewhere; are they personal or professional reasons? But what we do know is that he continued to seek employment immediately after signing his contract to be Bermuda’s Education Commissioner. And, although he has done nothing wrong, he has placed his commitment to Bermuda’s education system in severe doubt and effectively undermined the faith and confidence in him from his most ardent supporters.

        This man is a very seasoned, politically savvy executive who has faced far more challenges than our education system; he has faced down firestorms of controversies. Honestly, we do not know what the underline issues (with him) are here, so let’s not assume that the fault line is the challenges of our education system. Yet, now we have to sort out HIS problem AND the education system – where does it end? He was employed to sort it out, NOT compound to its problems!

        The immediate issue, Dr Heatley’s commitment and future in Bermuda. Once that is resolved, we will know the next logical steps to take.

        Education’s greatest asset may well be its collective workforce of university lettered graduates (BAs BScs, MAs, MScs, PhDs), and it may well be its greatest pressure point. They are very intelligent, talented, ambitious and eager for upward mobility. Can someone – Bermudian – make a difference in the position of Education Commissioner? Well a Bermudian made an extraordinary difference as the current president of Bermuda College.

        As I said earlier, Dr Heatley was employed to sort out the problems, NOT compound them. We have a right to be angry and disappointed, but putting those emotions aside, we must now make this a seamless transition, with or without Dr Heatly.

        Conversely, if the position is closed out then where does central power centre? With the education department? The PS? The Minister? Or should more powers be devolved back to the individual education institutes and less with the Ministry?

        Leach Scott MP should be elevated to Minister of Education.

        London, England

  10. Bob Barker says:

    I’ve got an idea: Let’s do the usual and hire some unqualified bloke who nobody would consider hiring anywhere else. That way they won’t leave!

    (sarcasm, in case you didn’t notice!)

  11. Scotty says:

    It is unimportant what Dr. Wheatleys reasons are for applying for another job, his long term commitment is obviously not to Bermuda’s students in the government school system. He has been paid plenty to do the job and students do not deserve such a lack of commitment from someone in this position. Fire him and abolish the post. It is bureaucratic and a total waste of money. Dr. Grant, make a decision and let the OBA see that this is something that can be done! Please do not then change your mind, as has become the norm with your party.

    • Terry says:

      See my comment/s ^.
      Money. Palm trees et al.
      Now back to the US and Gulf Shrimp.

  12. Time Shall Tell says:

    So basically controversy follows(or is caused by) him yet again….

  13. nuffin but the truth says:

    This man should NEVER have been given this job…I have been saying it since day one.
    He has a shady past and he’s NOT Bermudian.


  14. HeyBye says:

    I questioned the choice of an American from the very start,to oversee a educational system that is based on the British standard.
    Let this be a lesson for a future choice.

  15. Back of Town says:

    MOE, if you are willing to pay $20,000 for my child, can I have at least $5000 to put my child in a private institution that has more stability please?

    If this is true, this is ridiculous. I would hate to loose Ms. Lisa Smith at HSPS, but she, and Dr. Gina Tucker (I am sure there are others) are very capable of serving the country well in this post. They are committed to Bermuda, to our students.

    • Stop just stop says:

      Based on what? Can you please give an example how either of these principals can lead more than one school on a management platform, has the ability and financial aptitude to be trusted with the public purse, has a proven track record of implementing strategies that have benefitted an entire educational system, with results to back it up……go ahead I have my entire life for you to answer these for me…….”because I like her” is not a valid reason for someone to be in this post.

    • Sandy Bottom says:

      What we need is the absolute best person we can find in the world overseeing education. We need the best person. Not the best Bermudian.

    • drunken ursula says:

      Lisa Smith yes a well rounded principal she be a great candidate for commissioner…Dr. Tucker I think NOT…..

  16. SMH says:

    Dr. Tucker can do it! Enough already.

    • Fed Up Bermudian says:

      Really??? Ever wonder why she was removed from Victor Scott? You think it was because her ‘talents’ could be put to better use in the Ministry HQ? If you do, then I have a bridge to sell you. Sure, put her in. Then the Bermudianization of our school system will be complete, the rapture will occur, and this will truly be heaven on earth.

  17. campervan says:

    Technically it should be “Tell him ‘to’ get cracking”
    Oh boy we really do need a Minister Commissioner of Education. Inna?

  18. Rockfish#1and#2 says:


    There is no way in Hades that the overpaid, grossly underworked, clock watchers employed at the MOE will allow anyone to disrupt their easy, not accountable to anyone, work (?) days.
    Many of them seem to feel that their Doctorates mean they no longer need to work hard.
    The Minister needs to have a no holes barred conversation with his staff( including the Secretary to the Cabinet) and get rid of the dead wood.
    Our children deserve better!

  19. Coffee says:

    We should’ve kept his salary a secret !

  20. Cleancut says:

    MP Lister On Dr. Avis Glaze:


    • Cleancut says:

      Don’t worry terry, come next election, the PLP will give you your “SAFE SEAT”

  21. Tony Brannon says:

    Putting ANYONE in charge of a broken system is INSANE

    Terry Lister talks about a commitment to our children, then that requires a complete shakeup in Education from the Administration to the qualifications of the teachers (they should all have Masters degrees)
    Finland is #1 in the world…..We should take lead from the BEST !

    KIDS want to be INSPIRED……

    Education Leadership: Will Richardson at TEDxMelbourne

    Follow this blog:

    • Infidelguy says:

      That’s just ridiculous! There is nothing wrong with aspiring to higher educational standards, but requiring every teacher to have a masters degree will not automatically translate into good teaching skills. Are you also willing to pay more for a teacher with a masters degree because they don’t come cheaply!

      Yes, Finland’s education is excellent but what you fail to point out is that their education system is 100% funded by the state. Are the people in this country willing to pay more taxes so that every child has equal educational opportunities?

      Like every country in the world, Bermuda has its challenges with education and there are no panaceas.

  22. Tony Brannon says:

    HEATLEY cuts arts programs, sports….
    Berkeley community members denounce plan to hire Edmond Heatley

  23. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    “Spare the rod and spoil the child”.

    Bring back the Oleander stick, you will not need the Board of Education.

  24. Time Shall Tell says:

    Outsource they said, it’ll be fun they said….

  25. bluebird says:

    So we have discovered that we are not the “CENTRE OF THE UNIVERSE”
    so please stick your heads back in the pink sand.

  26. Infidelguy says:

    They should have never hired Heatley in the first place. The government had ample warning about this guy but decide to ignore the negative reports on him.

    This time OBA government, put a Bermudian in this position. If you fail to do this, I can only assume that you have no confidence in the abilities of your compatriots.

    • Sandy Bottom says:

      Why should there be any confidence in the Bermudians already there? It’s a freakin mess.

      • Infidelguy says:

        Well, they put a foreigner there and that didn’t make a difference. So what do you have against your own people (assuming that you are a Bermudian) from holding that position? I’m sure there are Bermudians just as qualified and capable of doing the job as good or better than any foreigner.

        Never judge a book by its cover!

        • Sandy Bottom says:

          You say never judge a book by its cover, yet you think the position must be filled by a Bermudian. You’re the one prejudging the candidate by their nationality.

          If we need to look for a new person, the position must be filled by the absolute best person we can find. Any other approach will just fail our kids for more years. Our kids deserve the best we can find, not the best Bermudian we can find.

        • Triangle Drifter says:

          Have you looked at the success record of the DOE in oh…say….the last 40 years?

          Seen any stunning achievements or has it mostly been a pile of excuses & reports?

  27. Crispy says:

    No expat can have 100% commitment to Bermuda, because Bermuda does not have 100% commitment to the expat. Pretty basic. Right now I am sat next to a guy who has put 20 years into Bermudian society. I’m almost 10. Both if us can be kicked out on a whim. So tell me, why should we have “commitment to Bermuda” when we get treated like dirt in return?

    • Infidelguy says:

      You make absolutely no sense!

      Yes, you can be “kicked out” but I doubt that it would be done on a “whim”. In fact, considering that you have been here for 10 years and your friend for 20 years seems to be self-contradicting to your assertions.

      Assuming that you and your friend have been compensated for your services all these years, how is it that Bemuuda has not been “committed” you?

      Get real!!


    • Ms. Scott says:

      With all due respect no country has to have commitment to an expat. As a foreign worker you are supposedly bought in to do a job where that country lacks adequately trained people to do . . .hence one knows as an expat worker in any country that their employment doesn’t last forever, or at least it shouldn’t. The question that arises, is what do you and your friend do that you have both been here for 20 and 10 years respectively, that a Bermudian is not in a position to do by this point?

    • pebblebeach50 says:

      WOW…What fool of an expat who gets treated lick dirt sticks around for 10 years? Probably the bigger fool that sat around for 20 years and was treated like dirt…fools hanging out with no other option I suspect.

  28. clearasmud says:

    If ever there was a government department that would benefit from a private sector approach it is the DoE. The time has come to get the politics out of education much like they are attempting to do with tourism. I actually don’t think that the tourism experiment will work simply because they have never clearly articulated what the problems were and how this new structure will fix it. That said I am still of the view that we cannot continue to change Education Ministers ad hoc and still expect success from that Ministry. Education is even more important that tourism and we cannot afford to fail.

  29. Tony Brannon says:

    Education is not a factory…

    Bermuda: we are hoping that Education becomes the most important thing for the future of our island nation.

  30. Tony Brannon says:

    If you care about EDUCATION…..WATCH THIS….

    More on need for change in education from Will Richardson
    Posted: 15 Mar 2014 05:37 PM PDT
    “If you want school to be test prep that’s fine, but please realize you don’t need schools any longer for test prep…(online) kids will get personalized self paced curriculum where they can pretty much get prepared for the test…I understand why we go for better…most of us are products of the system and we can relate to what better means…we have taken the same tests that our kids have taken and forgotten the same answers that our kids are going to forget as they go through school..We know the system…the system worked pretty well for a few decades…but right now this system is KILLING our kids. It is taking all the imagination, all the creativity, all the initiative, all the engagement right OUT of them”
    “It is time now we stop trying to do schools better and we start trying to do them differently…schools in the form they were constructed are no longer relevant to our kids’ lives in terms of places to get information and knowledge. Information and knowledge are everywhere…we have to reenvision schools for a different purpose and that purpose is more meaningful, more important, more difficult in a lot of ways..schools for our kids have to be places of deep enquiry, where they are solving real world problems because they have a lot of problems that they will need to solve..places where we can help them find their passions and support those passions so that they can become the life long learners in this context that we all want them to be..and none of this is the stuff of test prep, all of that is the stuff of life prep”
    “Do we want our kids being prepared for their futures by a system that hasn’t fundamentally changes in 125 years?..We have to take back this conversation about education from the businessmen and the politicians..and we have to scream to whoever is listening that test prep and learning are two very different things and one has been lost at the expense of the other right now and this is not acceptable for our kids…The system was built for a world that no longer exists”
    Another TED talk about the need of reforming education to adapt to the many possibilities of the modern world by Will Richardson. He has been blogging about the intersection of social online learning networks and education for the past 10 years. He is a former public school educator for 22 years, and is a co-founder of Powerful Learning Practice, a unique long-term, job-embedded professional development program that has mentored over 3,500 teachers worldwide in the last four years. Extremely interesting and inspiring talk, please take the time to watch.

  31. Relax says:

    Folks, from all accounts Dr. Heatley is doing a commendable job as Commissioner. He has actually moved us from TALKING about what needs to be done to DOING what has been recommended. He is personable and lends great support to the Leaders of the school and the staff. He has demonstrated commitment to the ongoing professional development of our teachers and administrators and has set very high standards for all.

    I do NOT have a problem with him beginning to candidate elsewhere because most professionals know that at his level it can take a year or more to land a substantive post. He is wise to continue to seek out opportunities beyond Bermuda for when his term here is completed because 2016 is around the corner.

    It is also important to note that he has to deal with the constant politics that impede his ability to concentrate on doing what he has been hired to do. I would not blame him for moving on prior to the end of his contract and recommending one of the brilliant Bermudians he has had the opportunity to observe to succeed him in this role. I wish him well and commend him for what has been accomplished already under his leadership.

  32. North West says:

    Unless it is stated in his contract, Dr. Heatley has every right to apply for a job elsewhere.This is common practice in the world today. Also if it is, contracts can be broken.