Education Department Appoints Dr. Sharon Speir

April 17, 2014

The Department of Education has appointed Dr. Sharon Speir to the position of Assistant Director of Early Childhood Education [ECE].

A spokesperson said, “Dr. Speir has a wealth of knowledge and experience which will be used to lead a renewed focus on high quality early learning programmes and services for young children.

“Dr. Speir will oversee the Early Childhood Education Section of the Department of Education which includes the Child Development Programme, Government Preschools, Childcare Quality Assurance, consultative support services to primary schools on early childhood education, and early childhood special education.

“A former Superintendent for Early Learning and Childcare in Northern Ontario, Dr. Speir held responsibility for Early Learning and Child Care as well as Special Education Programmes and Services.  She has also been responsible for indigenous education, mental health, research review, and management of data for student achievement.

Dr. Grant Gibbons, Minister of Education and Economic Development, said, “We are very pleased to have Dr. Speir on board. We have earmarked Early Childhood as one of our areas of strategic focus and it is essential that we have the necessary experience and expertise to lead this.

“Dr. Speir has garnered this experience and I am looking forward to working with her as we make a renewed investment in services dedicated to our youngest learners.”

“Over the past four years, Dr. Speir led the implementation of the Ministry of Ontario’s vision of Early Learning for four and five year olds. Under her leadership, the Rainbow District School Board implemented the new Ontario early learning programme using the Reggio Emilia philosophy as inspiration. Dr. Speir and her team were recognized provincially as leading in this area. The Reggio Emilia philosophy is an innovative approach to the education of children.

“Dr. Speir has worked directly with children ages 18 months and up, and supervised programmes for young children both in child-care and in public schools. She has worked as a kindergarten teacher, a primary consultant, principal of primary-junior schools, and as an area superintendent of primary, junior and senior schools.

“Her qualifications include an undergraduate degree in Child Studies from the University of Guelph with a specialization in Early Childhood, a Masters in Curriculum Studies from the University of Western Ontario and a Doctorate in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning with a specialization in teacher development from the Ontario Institute of Education Studies, University of Toronto.

“Her contributions to the field of early childhood education include building partnerships with community agencies for the purpose of integrating services for children and families for children, 0-3 years of age. While working in public education, she collaborated with child-care and preschool educators to build a common vision of early education and to facilitate transitions for student with special education needs.

“With community partners, she created an outreach strategy through community neighbourhood networks to promote the participation and involvement of underserved children and their families in community services.

“Dr. Speir has worked with teams of primary teachers on collaborative inquiry projects to build continuity between preschool and primary grades with emphasis on documenting and analyzing children’s learning through a teacher as researcher stance.

“She has also written articles contributing to the field of early learning including “What does it mean to collaborate?”, “The Outdoors: A provocation for Early Learning”, and a book for school administrators titled The Principal as Early Learning Leader.

“Dr. Speir will work closely with Ms Chezia Calloway, the recently appointed Assistant Director, Student Services to ensure the high quality delivery of special education programmes and services for young children in the Bermuda Public School System.”

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Comments (11)

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  1. Nancy Wilson says:


    Another bad decision by the OBAubp government. Once again a Bermudian has been overlooked for a post. I am sure there are qualified Bermudians for this post. There was NO need for the government to look overseas to have this position filled. It looks like the OBAubp are seeking only overseas applicants, rather than filling these jobs with Bermudians. Have they not learnt anything from the HEATLEY fiasco?

    This is another outrage wrong decision by the government. When will Bermuda value its own people over overseas non-Bermudians? Looks like we still have a long, long, ways to go yet..

    This is backward step by the government.

    • Maire says:

      Why is it another OBA bad decision. Isn’t it not an all Bermudian HR Department? Isn’t it their responsibility to interview and appoint the most qualified and appropriate individual for the position. I’m a Bermudian and I’m sick and tied of people saying that it is the OBA that has made a bad hiring decision when on all the interviewing panels there are supposed to be qualified and educated Bermudians making these critical decision. Don’t blame the OBA, blame your so called educated Bermudians for the bad decisions that they have made.

      • Speak Truth says:

        Another poor attempt to remove the responsibility of Education from the Government. Education is the responsibility of the government and at the end of the they will be held accountable for the lack of success or failure of public education. The CS merely carry out the wishes of the government. The Govt directs the path of public education. Do not be so gullible to believe that the Government has no say. That is a line they want you to believe in an attempt to remove themselves from being held responsible.

  2. teacher in the know says:

    Canada ranks the highest in terms of educational accomplishments in countries where English is spoken, whilst America ranks as the lowest. I am glad to see that the ministry has finally hired someone from a country where they have good practices and great teachers. The sooner people accept that Bermudian students are competing against the best in the world, the sooner we can get on with on with the business of improving standards. The same people to b**** about foreigners are the same people who would happily accept overseas scholarships for their family members and friends, not once considering that that they contributed NOTHING to that scholarship or country. Get over your insular mind and hire the best educators worldwide. Canada is a great place to start! Tired of reading your xenophobic diatribe!

    • Speak Truth says:

      Many Bermudians are also educated in Canada. Therefore they should be given the same job opportunities as a non-Bermudian. Why make it sound like Canada is rank very high in Education, when in fact they are not.

      The government will be held responsible for education as it falls under their mandate in this country. The CS merely carry out the wishes of the Govt of the day. The overall outcomes of Education stops with the Government of the day.

      The buck stops with the Govt and so as a result they will be marked by the outcomes or lack of outcomes in Public Education. It is something that few if any governments can escape.

  3. teacher in the know says:

    Check the info yourself… it has been pretty much like this for years. First English speaking country is CANADA with the USA at the bottom of the league.

    The majority of teachers in the public school system have not trained in Canada but in the USA.

    • Speak Truth says:

      Get off your kick about English speaking countries. CANADA IS NOT NUMBER ONE IN THE WORLD in Education. Bermuda needs to meet the standard of the country that is number one regardless of if they speak English or not as that is the highest level.

      Stop with protecting the wrong actions and decisions of this government. Seldom do these folks bring anything new to the table. Often ideas come the Bermudian who are already in these post. Often they are at a lost of the culture and Bermudian context. They only benefit by earning monies they would never make in the homeland. They seldom bring anything orginal or outstanding to the system for our children. This is a bad move foward.

  4. SMH says:

    Disgusted! There are qualified Bermudians for this post! Remember the Bermudians were not interviewed under Wendy McDonnell’s watch, endorsed by Warren Jones, sanctioned by the Board and rubber stamped by PSC. This is a middle management position not senior! Clearly, on both these foreign appointments the BPSU should have stopped them. SMDH….out comes my union dues.

    • Speak Truth says:

      Well said these post should not have been given to non Bermudians. No matter how some want to spin it,is wrong and once again the government had made another big error.

      • Speak Truth says:


  5. abby cadabby says:

    In actual fact, the PISA results reflect the province of Alberta to be exact.