From as far back as she could remember, Phyllis MacPherson-Russell had always wanted to be a teacher. She was a very good student, especially in mathematics and Latin, at Wolmers High School for Girls. She focused on math at University in the United States and came home and taught it at Wolmers.
But there was still something missing. Phyllis did not feel she knew enough about the subject to be the very good teacher she wanted to be. And she also felt that perhaps, instead of teaching math to student, she should be teaching teachers how to teach math. So off she went to University again and this time she returned home with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Mathematics. – the highest academic award from a University.
MacPherson-Russell went to work at the Ministry of Education and developed many programmes on mathematics education, training and teaching throughout the schools. One of her outstanding achievements was the inauguration of the Masters of Science Summer Programme in Mathematics Education. She even made time to work on her second love; how to plan and develop national health and human development programmes. She wrote many important papers and received many national, regional and international awards for her work.
She was appointed a Senator and Minister of Education in 1978 and continued to make important changes in the teaching of mathematics in schools.
Her accomplishments have left an indelible mark in education. She was a public servant par excellence.
“A lady with a passion for public service and academic advancement”
Passionate: To be passionate is to enthusiastic, feel very strongly about what you do.