Mr Errol McPhee is a native of Millars, Bannerman Town, Eleuthera. He has been working indirectly with One Eleuthera Foundation (OEF) since 2008 when he helped with developing the shared vision for South Eleuthera and gave his perspective on the educational needs of Eleutherans. Having made significant contributions to the vision for Eleuthera from 2008 and with over 35 years of experience in education, Errol became a formal employee of OEF in October 2014.
Errol is a teacher by profession and earned his Diploma in Education from the San Salvador Teachers College in 1975 when the teachers’ college in San Salvador and New Providence merged to become the College of the Bahamas (now the University of the Bahamas) making him one of their first graduates. He furthered his studies with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from St John’s University in the USA.
Errol’s passion for education on the out islands continued to shine through as he served as a principal of various family island schools including Crooked Island, Freeport, Cat Island, Acklins, Exuma and Andros between 1975 – 1982. He didn’t stop there but returned to Nassau teaching various business subjects at various schools there including H.O. Nash Junior High, Government High School and A.F. Adderley High School between 1982 and 1995. From 1995 to 1998 Errol made the transition outside of the classroom and served as the Chief Purchasing officer for the Ministry of Education and was later transferred to the Ministry of Transport and Aviation where he served as the Senior Deputy Controller of Road Traffic until 2014.
However, Errol’s dedication to education continued and did not allow him to stay away from teaching for very long. From 2000 to 2014, Errol served as a part-time lecturer in bachelor’s degree level Business Courses at Sojourner Douglas College and went on to complete his MBA at Nova South Eastern University. He expressed his reason for taking up business studies was closely linked to his father and says, “I’ve always been interested in business, my dad had a shop in Bannerman Town and that’s what caused my original interest in business. As a young boy I used to help my dad manage his convenience store.”
Errol has several key responsibilities within OEF and its partner organizations showing his strong commitment and passion towards the plans for Eleuthera’s development. He is the Executive Director and Chairman of the Centre for Training and Innovation (CTI) as well as The South Eleuthera Mission (SEM). He is also a Board Member of both OEF and CTI, and Chairman and Director of the One Eleuthera Corporative Credit Union (OECCU).
Errol is highly known throughout North, Central and South Eleuthera as a person who is well involved with education in the community. He was in fact the founding president for the Bannerman Town, Millars and John Millars Eleuthera Association from 1984, with two presidents succeeding him in between, and he is now the current president for the non-profit organization.
Errol describes OEF in 3 words, saying it is, “Visionary, a Leader and Trailblazing”. He went on to say that, “Through OEF I feel like the vision part of the organization is working and is followed through with the mission. To me the vision includes the way that OEF seems to lead the way in identify educational, employment and community needs and they don’t only identify those things, but also OEF comes up with trailblazing strategies and solutions to meet those needs.”
When asked about his favorite project at OEF, Errol eagerly expressed his love for SEM. “SEM is my favorite because of programs like the intervention program started in 2014. I remember 7 young men wanted to sign up for a program as they had just finished high school and they couldn’t fill out the form, they couldn’t read and write, and from then I was passionate about focusing on numeracy and literacy in Eleuthera.” Thanks to Errol’s involvement in the intervention program, a plan was developed for numeracy and literacy in South Eleuthera and since then the program has expanded to include primary school and high school students from Tarpum Bay straight through to Bannerman Town.
Additionally, thanks to Father Miller, at St Luke’s Anglican Church in Rock Sound, who partnered with SEM, transportation was provided for these students in the program who were allowed the use of the church bus. In keeping with Errol’s passion for education, SEM also started summer programs for adults in Literacy, Numeracy and Computer Numeracy.
It is quite clear that Errol has contributed a lot whilst working at OEF with programs like SEM and CTI, however he exuded excitement in sharing all that he has gained from working with OEF as well. He explains that, “Since working with OEF I’ve experienced a higher level of community mindedness, not only that but this experience reminds me of scriptures I read in the bible, specifically the story about the good Samaritan. I see OEF as a good Samaritan in this community so I feel like I’m doing my part in loving my neighbor as myself.”
Errol considers himself a “lifelong learner” and says, “I will stay effective in my community for as long as I can.”
When asked what he would like to see on Eleuthera going forward, his response was a simple and sincere one, “I would like to see more persons finding a way to relate and mentor younger persons so when it is time for people like me to leave the scene it will be a smooth transition, they can have the same goals and hunger for community development and be a community minded person and not selfish. I think we have to work hard to bring back that good old community-minded spirit where people saw their neighbors as fellow brothers and sisters that is what I want for Eleuthera.”
Errol has been married to his wife for 35 years and they have three children. Apart from his passion for education and Eleuthera, Errol loves fishing, watching sports and staying active with activities like swimming and jogging.
To find out more about One Eleuthera Foundation and keep up to date with our partner organizations like The South Eleuthera Mission check out our facebook page!
Written by: Embri Stuart