James Okoyo, the Ramba Boys High School head teacher, was voted the Principal of the Year at the close of the 43rd annual conference of the Kenya Secondary School Headteachers Association (KESSHA) in Mombasa. Mr Okoyo, who is also an ordained Anglican priest, has received other awards before in his home region. He has worked in the Nyanza-based school for eight years and was Friday recognised by other headteachers for improving the institution’s performance and establishing other successful innovations. The school has recently improved its academic performance and installed generators for power generation.
Last year, 269 of the 367 candidates who sat Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination at Ramba Boys High School scored a mean grade of 7.54, becoming position one in Rarieda Constituency. Ramba Boys was Siaya County’s second best-ranked school in the last year’s examination and number 99 nationally. “Even after receiving this accolade from the Anglican church, I still had one slot for the Principal of the Year Award cup,” he said when he made a presentation before the principals.
Okoyo won the prize for transforming the Siaya-based school by modernising its laboratories and launching greenhouses that produce the school’s food.
An elated Okoyo was Friday overcome with joy after the coveted recognition that comes with a cash prize and other eminent recognitions. Teachers broke into song and dance following the announcement of Okoyo’s triumph. Speaking to journalists early this year, Okoyo exuded confidence that the exemplary performance was a result of hard work that finally saw him beat principals from six counties to carry the region’s mantle to the national level. Okoyo, 50, said: “The school’s student population has significantly increased from 860 in 2011 to 1,664 in 2018. The student mean score has also improved steadily, from 7.54 in 2016 to 7.7 in 2017,” he said. Okoyo said he had striven to ensure curriculum implementation was effective, among many other interventions aimed at enhancing excellent academic performance. KESSHA chairman Kahi Indimuli announced Okoyo’s recognition. An elated Okoyo walked away with a Sh100,000 prize, books from the Kenya Literature Bureau and a return ticket for two to any local destination courtesy of Jambo Jet. Long Horn Publishers also donated books worth Sh250,000 to the Principal of the Year. The first and second runners up in the principals’ category – Florence Ngarari and Jerida Mwangi – were gifted with Sh75,000 and Sh50,000 in cash respectively. The Teacher of the Year Award was won by St Theresa’s Tar Tar Girls’ National School’s Elijah Ogoti from West Pokot, while the Innovation Teacher of the Year Award was won by Maxwel Ayieri from Karuri High School.