Dr. Claude Packer

Personal

Prefix: Dr.
First Name: Claude
Last Name: Packer

Summary

Dr. Packer has successfully taught Mathematics to thousands of students at all levels of the education system and received the Governor-Generals Achievement Award for the Parish of Kingston in 2003.

Biography

The name Claude Packer is synonymous with Mathematics Education. His impressive contribution to the field spans several decades and several generations.

Over the years, Dr. Packer has successfully taught Mathematics to thousands of students at all levels of the education system. Yet, this distinguished Jamaican was born and raised in very humble surroundings, and did not have the privilege of attending high school. Soon after his birth in Kingston, on June 6, 1944, his mother died, so his father, stepmother and aunts at Seaforth, St Thomas cared for him.  From a very early age he worked with his father who operated a small baking business, walking for miles to supply buns and making collections.
 
His father opened and, with Claude’s assistance, operated, a small shop at the front of his house when the baking business could no longer provide support. During this time Claude’s father suffered a stroke.  His stepmother began to provide meals for a few sellers in the Seaforth market when the shop could not provide an adequate income for the family.  Claude had to deliver the meals and make the collections, learning valuable mathematical lessons. He performed all these duties while attending the Seaforth Primary School.
 
In 1960 at age 16, Claude passed the First Jamaica Local Examinations, and went to live with an aunt who was a teacher at Race Course All-Age School in Clarendon.  Mr. Ben Gutzmore, Headmaster of the school, provided free lessons for Claude to sit the Jamaica Local Examinations. The lessons were held twice each day commencing at seven in the mornings and four in the afternoons, so Claude had to travel several miles twice daily. During the days he performed domestic chores at home while studying for the examinations.
 
Between 1960 and 1963 he passed the Second and Third Jamaica Local Examinations. While under Mr. Gutzmore’s tutelage Claude acquired a passion for Mathematics and spent most of his spare time practicing the subject. During the 1963 academic year he worked as a pre-trained teacher while attending night classes at Vere Technical High School, preparing to sit the GCE examinations in Mathematics, English, and Physics with Chemistry, which he passed in 1963.  That same year he entered The Mico Teachers College and in his own words “That institution changed my life forever”. While at Mico his older brother assisted him financially, and he worked at the then London Shop on King Street on Saturdays.
 
Simultaneously, he attended classes at the University of the West Indies Extra-Mural Department, studying for the GCE ‘A’ Level examinations in Pure and Applied Mathematics.  At this stage, young Claude Packer was definitely focusing on a career in Mathematics, and, henceforth, it was said of him “he walked and talked the language of Mathematics”.
 
After graduating from The Mico Teachers College in 1966, he taught Mathematics at several institutions, and combined work with further studies in the subject at several universities. He was assisted in his quest by a Teacher’s Scholarship to study for a degree in Mathematics at the University of the West Indies, an OAS Fellowship to study for his Master’s Degree at the Central Connecticut State University, and by a teaching fellowship which enabled him to graduate in 1979, with a Ph.D. in Mathematics, Operations Research and Mathematics Education from Cornell University. Dr. Packer has occupied an impressive number of senior academic positions and is the author of a long list of books, articles and papers. Since 1995 he has been the Principal of The Mico Teachers College.
 
He is also the Cluster Coordinator for three Universities overseas and an Examiner in Mathematics locally and overseas. Notwithstanding his high academic achievements Dr. Packer is a man of great humility and in numerous ways has contributed to the development of his community. His greatest contribution, however, has been in the field of Mathematics Education.  He has not kept the knowledge to himself, but earnestly sought to impart, particularly to young students, what he himself had so assiduously gained. Dr. Packer is also an international man since his contribution has not been confined to Jamaica, but also extended to the U.S.A., the Caribbean and to India.
 
He is married to Lissa; herself a teacher, and they have two daughters. Claude Montgomery Packer is recognized as an outstanding Jamaican and a dedicated community man, always sharing his knowledge, always helping. He is a consummate teacher, lecturer, and principal, a writer, researcher and advisor. He is justly deserving of receiving the Governor-General’s Achievement Award for the Parish of Kingston in the year 2003.
 
Source : http://www.governorgeneralsawardsjamaica.com/kingston.phpsubaction=showfull&id=1182537295&archive=&start_from=&ucat=8&

Lifetime

Year Born: 1944