The following is a press release from the Deputy Governor’s Office:
Deputy Governor, the Hon Franz Manderson, has announced the transfer of Chief Officer Cetonya Cacho to a new role within the Office of the Deputy Governor.
“I am pleased to announce that from 1st July, 2022, Ms. Cetonya Cacho, will be transitioning from her Chief Officer role within the Ministry of Education, into a key strategic position within the Office of the Deputy Governor,” Mr. Manderson stated. “As our Strategic Operations Officer, Ms. Cacho will be joining a busy and high-performing team. Her skills, competencies and experience gained as a Chief Officer will enhance the capacity of my office, and ultimately help our team deliver a variety of key strategic projects and services across the Civil Service.”
Earlier in the year, Chief Officer Cacho expressed her desire to work beyond the scope of education and to utilise her skills, knowledge and experience to engage in projects across the broader Civil Service.
An immediate area of focus for Ms. Cacho will on be the policies and strategies needed to ensure the effective operations of the Child Safeguarding Board. “This Board has national-level responsibilities for developing strategies, plans, policies and procedures that improve the safeguarding of our children in the Cayman Islands,” said Mr. Manderson. “Ms. Cacho’s educational background and experience will prove essential in this area, particularly as the Board implements a new organisational structure and launches wide-ranging programmes and transformational projects to enhance our child safeguarding work.”
Among other duties, Ms. Cacho will be charged with identifying and coordinating activities across the Civil Service that drive innovation, collaboration and delivery of Government’s priorities at pace. She will also be leading efforts to improve the timeliness and quality of responses to key governance and management recommendations from the Auditor General and the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee.
“I very much look forward to Ms. Cacho joining our team” Mr. Manderson stated.
Ms. Cacho thanked the Cayman Islands Government for the opportunity to serve her country as Chief Officer for Education during one of the country’s most difficult times. She added, “My entire Civil Service career has been dedicated to education. It is a field for which I have great passion and interest. Over the past two years especially, I have invested an incredible amount of personal time in the Ministry. This was in an effort to help ensure that our children were safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, learning loss was minimised, and our students could make significant progress when they returned to in-class learning. I am proud of the education response during the height of the pandemic and as we continue to manage COVID in our community.”
“Chief Officer Cacho has played an integral part in the operations of the Education Ministry for many years,” remarked Minister for Education Hon. Juliana O’Connor-Connolly. “I have had the pleasure of working closely with her since being appointed Minister of Education in 2017 and always held high regard for her ability to lead. I thank Ms. Cacho for her sterling contribution to education and wish her the best in her future endeavours.”
Ms. Cacho’s transfer takes effect on Friday, 1 July, and Deputy Chief Officer Ms. Lyneth Monteith will act as Chief Officer for the Ministry of Education.
Background information on Chief Officer Cacho
Ms. Cacho began her career as a teacher after graduating from the University of Miami with a double bachelor’s degree in elementary education and psychology.
She further completed a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Southampton, where she focused on Higher Education Management and graduated with Distinction.
She served as the Principal of Bodden Town Primary School, Manager of Initial Teacher Training, Deputy and Acting Chief Officer in the Ministry of Education before being appointed Chief Officer in the largest Government Ministry with approximately 1,000 members of staff in 2019. During her tenure as Chief Officer she has had oversight for the portfolios of education, youth, sports, agriculture and lands.
Ms. Cacho has led numerous successful education initiatives, including the revision of the Education Law, 2016, and associated Regulations, 2017. She has also overseen initiatives, such as hiring new Caymanian principals, improved child protection procedures, introduced the Minister’s priority projects for a new primary school curriculum, a salary increase for teachers and the recent introduction of free school meals.
Under her leadership, public schools and early childhood education centres have also progressed from ‘weak’ to ‘satisfactory’ or ‘good’, with three public schools attaining a good rating from the Office of Education Standards – John Gray High School, Lighthouse School and Layman Scott High Schools.
Prior to schools closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Cacho had created detailed procedures for school closings and remote learning, ensuring that education could continue for students on all Islands. In addition, staff were redeployed to prioritise student health and safety with specific focus on child protection, throughout the pandemic. Staff monitored and addressed issues of hunger, insecurity, safety, abuse, and psychological stressors. This was achieved through access to counsellors, special educational needs specialists and partnership services from the Health Services Authority (HSA), Needs Assessment Unit (NAU), Family Resource Centre (FRC) and the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Cacho led the education system with carefully devised guidance and procedures ensuring that schools were ready to open and the health and safety of students and staff were prioritised.
She also developed detailed Lateral Flow Testing policies and procedures in collaboration with the Strategic Reform Unit and other government agencies and this included ongoing collaboration and partnership with the Public Health Department and the Ministry of Health.
She developed the framework for all public schools to devise plans to address learning loss. There was also a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Education, Department of Education Services and schools to close the learning loss gap through an increase in hours in the curriculum for literacy and numeracy when in-person instruction resumed in August 2020, as these subjects are the building blocks for all subject areas. Schools also implemented further strategies, including additional classes, increased interventions outside of class time, and independent or small group sessions. Additional resources were identified and training, in particular for reading and numeracy to help support teachers to further close the gaps for students, is also an on-going process.