Wed | Jul 8, 2020

Career-driven, but all about family - meet Davia Johnson-Newman

Published:Sunday | March 1, 2020 | 12:00 AMTamara Bailey - Sunday Gleaner writer

Manchester, Jamaica:

Traditional gender roles of women assuming the nurturing tasks of the home, and men working to finance the family, are still held dearly by many individuals. But, mother and educator Davia Johnson-Newman is proving every day that 21st-century women can do it all.

“I am a mother of two children – a four-year-old boy and a six-week-old girl – and I have been married for the past five years. Creating that perfect balance between work and family is sometimes a challenge, especially since the job of principal is such a multifaceted and demanding one. I am always working – always thinking of ways to improve the systems and processes at the institution. Since lately, though, I have been trying as best as possible to have that cut-off point in the evenings where I devote that time to my family, especially since my children are young and need a lot of attention at this point.”

Johnson-Newman has been an educator for the past 14 years, and has been steadily climbing the ladder of success, fuelled by her passion for serving others.

“At the tender age of 15, I was enrolled at the Church Teachers’ College, where I specialised in double option mathematics. Three years later, I completed my Bachelors Degree in Mathematics education, and then went on to study for my Master’s Degree in Education at the St Mary’s University of Minnesota, in the United States.”

Having worked at the Ministry of Education Youth and Information as a mathematics specialist for over four years, focussing on providing technical support for the implementation of the National Comprehensive Numeracy Programme (NCNP), through the monitoring and training of School-Based Mathematics Teachers (SBMTs), Johnson-Newman is now the principal of the Alston Primary and Infant School in Clarendon.

“I am a firm believer in lifelong learning, and so I am always researching and trying to keep abreast with what is happening in the education system. I have done several courses, some of which includes supervisory management with The University of the West Indies; data operations levels one and two with the HEART/Trust NTA; theology courses and math courses – one of which includes the Singapore method to teaching mathematics.”

Throughout her career, she has been engaged in numerous professional development sessions with various stakeholders in the education system, and completed several motivational sessions with individuals of varying age groups.

Church Commitments

Not only does the woman of worth contribute positively to national development and her family, but to the cause of the Creator.

“I have devoted a significant part of my life to the work of the Lord. I have served in the capacity as youth leader in my church for five years. As a youth leader, my team and I coordinate various fund-raising activities to work on projects within the church and designing, implementing, and launching a youth mentorship programme at the church. I have served in the capacity of Sunday school teacher, and have been a member of the youth choir. Currently, I am the coordinator for the church’s welfare committee.”

As one of the musicians at church, Johnson-Newman said an experience when her father called upon her suddenly to play the keyboard, has given her biggest lesson to date.

“Believe in yourself is one of my biggest lessons to date. I have had instances in my life where in order to achieve, I had to believe in myself while at the same time, remind myself that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me...”

In her leisure time, she can be seen playing sudoku, writing songs, and making solid plans for her future.

“My plans for the future would definitely include working closely with the young people in my community by developing and implementing programmes that will help to empower them; devoting myself more to the work of the Lord by taking the message of Christ across this country; and working assiduously towards achieving my vision at Alston Primary School, which is to create and maintain a culture of excellence,” she ended.