Dionne Wells-Hedrington Named Education Commissioner, Promises to 'Build Back Trust in Public Education'

Education Published On August 03, 2022 10:48 AM
Elesha George | August 03, 2022 10:48:38 AM

Dr. Dionne Wells-Hedrington was named commissioner of Education by Governor Albert Bryan Jr. on Wed. Aug. 3, 2022. By V.I. CONSORTIUM

Dr. Dionne Wells-Hedrington, current V.I. Dept. of Education Chief Operations Officer has been nominated as the new education commissioner for the U.S Virgin Islands by Governor Albert Bryan. 

“I think today we have a commissioner that takes on a department with good experience, well-rock education and a deep, deep passion of the Virgin Islands. That is why I am so proud today to announce Dr. Dionne Wells-Hedrington as the next commissioner of education in this Virgin Islands,” Mr. Bryan said to an online and radio listening audience.

The former educator was named on Wednesday morning, five days before the start of the 2022/2023 school year.

However, Ms. Wells-Hedrington says the short time will not deter school from opening on August 8th. She believes her tenure in education has adequately prepared her for the fast-pace role – having last held the position of chief operations officer of the V.I. Dept. of Education. 

“It gives me a total perspective of the whole educational experience of a child,” she remarked, adding that “So, even if this announcement comes five days before getting ready for school, I have been intimately involved in the process. We’ve done extensive walk-throughs. We are still working and we will continue to work once school opens."

She also gave assurances to reform and rebrand public education in the territories while boasting of being “public-school proud."

“I’m a product of the public school system. I stand proudly before you all to pledge my commitment to the people of these Virgin Islands to build back the trust in public education,” she said.

Ms. Wells-Hedrington is faced with a multitude of challenges in her new role including fixing the physical facilities, improving school curriculum, managing online learning and above all dealing with administrative qualms between the Dept. of Education and the Board of Education. 

Nonetheless, Mr. Bryan threw his support behind the former educator, confident that she would bring about the change needed in public education. 

Ms. Wells-Hedrington's assignment as new education commissioner comes a little over a month following the resignation of Ms. Racquel Berry-Benjamin, who served in the position for three years from 2019.

Assistant Commissioner of Education Victor Somme acted as commissioner in the interim.

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