As community members debate issues like incorporating more Virgin Islands history into school curriculums, a new group of advisors will be there to provide guidance on the future of education in the territory.

Deputy Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley recently appointed members to serve on the Education Advisory Board after receiving Cabinet approval, he announced on March 11 in a press release.

“It is my hope that the Education Advisory Board will catalyse the collaboration necessary among all stakeholders to catapult the education system to the next level,” he said in the release. Dr. Wheatley is also the Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture minister.

Stacy Mather will serve as chairman of the board, and Kayron Todman will serve as deputy chair. The other members include Dr. Arlene SmithThompson, Derecia Scatliffe-Thomas, Willis Potter, Pastor Naaman Chalwell, Rochelle Lawrence, Corine George-Massicot, Hilroy George, Gracia Stevens, and Tammy Henry.

These academic advisors bring their expertise in areas including business, technology, vocational education, community development, educational opinions, religion, parent teacher associations, tertiary education, the sister islands, the legal community, and as principals or teachers, according to the press release.

The board advises on matters it deems connected to education, issues under the Dr. Wheatley’s ministry, and the promotion of education.

The members will serve for two years.

Dr. Wheatley announced in March 2020 that he planned to activate the Education Advisory Board, which was described under the Education Act 2004 but never actually formed.

At the time, he also stated that he was in discussion with the Teachers Task Force under UNESCO about a comprehensive education review.

He also entertained the idea of appointing a student as a “junior minister of education” to give input on reforms, and he planned to form a special committee to advise on special education matters, he said.