Column: Remembering Charles “Bubba” Joynes

August 25, 2020

[Column written by Dr. Freddie Evans]

Charles and I had a myriad of things in common, our profession, our love of sports, and our fraternity, despite these commonalties, we were not particularly close. I am sure our distance was based in the reality that during Charles tenure as principal of Northlands Primary, I was either a Director, an Acting Commissioner or the Commissioner of the Department of Education.

Additionally, Charles inherited the existing Deputy Principal, my wife Gina Evans. Admittedly that is a tough space for a veteran educator in his first administrative assignment in Bermuda.

Although there was distance Charles was always collegial, warmly personable and professional. For me this space gave me the opportunity to observe Charles and these are some of the things I learned through my observations of him.

One of my most personal observation is of his relationship with his Deputy. My wife is intelligent, fastidious, determined, dedicated and loyal to a fault. Her professional lenses begins with and ends with “what’s best for children”. For a new principal, these traits can be intimidating. However, far from being intimidated, Charles
invested in and believed in Gina’s leadership. Together they were a powerhouse administrative team, that lifted the standards of Northlands Primary and ensured students of all abilities enjoyed the opportunity to excel.

Charles loved the children of Northlands Primary. Over the course of his tenure, I had frequent opportunities to witness Charles interactions with students. Whether dealing with a struggling reader, or mischievous or misbehaving student, Charles was always patient and poised. Even in extreme situations, Charles maintained his cool demeanor.

Charles made it a habit to greet every student, every morning, at the end of the parking lot. Charles was out front of the school rain, blow or shine to greet students. I clearly recall Charles umbrella in hand, marching to transport little ones from their parent’s car to their classrooms in the pouring rain, he did this even as his battle with cancer began.

Charles believed in the Bermuda Public Education System. Far too often in Bermuda, educational leaders, politicians and members of the public denigrate the efforts of the teachers in the public-school system. Regrettably those criticism are the easy default retorts of those who lack the knowledge or ability to understand the dimension of issues facing educators in the Bermuda Public Schools. Charles never fell into that trap. Charles celebrated and promoted the efforts of his teachers and in doing so empowered and inspired his teachers to consistently go above and beyond for their students. Charles wanted to ensure his children were enrolled in Bermuda Public Schools and his daughter Kree was a P1 student at Northlands.

Charles was the epitome of a family man. Charles literally beamed with pride when he shared the successes of his older sons or the accomplishments of Kree and Kruz. As he shared things, there was never an air of bragging, but the joy of the love he felt was tangible.

Charles loved his wife Lauren! Charles was proud of his wife and her teaching ability and accomplishments. Charles loved his nuclear family, and his extended family. His brothers, cousin and in-laws all loved Bubba too.

At the end of my service to the Bermuda Educational System, I found myself appreciatively indebted to Charles because of his integrity and fortitude. Charles was a member of the Bermuda Board of Education at the time of my dismissal. As you can imagine, it was an incredibly difficult time for me. Despite constant whispers support from a wide range of current and retired educators, no one offered any public support. The silence was depressing.

In the midst of the legal procedure, that I was shocked and amazed to learn that Charles on his own volition swore an affidavit to the court that was contrary to what was being described about my tenure. It was truly an amazingly act of courage against his employer and the Board. Maybe he did not know how unforgiving this environment could be, or maybe he didn’t care; I just know he had the intestinal fortitude and integrity to speak out when no one else did. For that act of courageous support, I am eternally grateful.

Charles loved our fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi. Whatever endeavor the fraternity undertook; Charles could be counted on to give his 100%. Charles was an organizing member of the local chapter of the fraternity along with Nelson Bascome, Charles Daniels and Greg Everhart. Charles was insistent if not driven to develop the
Kappa “Guide Right” programme; a programme that introduces young men to leadership, community service and fellowship. I never participated in Guide Right, not that I was opposed, but I felt through teaching, coaching and my community service, my cup was full. But Charles continuously encouraged Guide Right participation, because he believed the young man in our community needed that outlet.

Charles Joynes, a community leader, an educator, husband, father and a consummate gentleman, an example of achievement, like a celestial comet…Charles swooshed in and brightening our lives, and disappeared too soon.

Charles, may you rest in peace with the satisfaction of a life well lived.

- Dr. Freddie Evans, Member Board of Directors Bermuda Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.


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