Astute teacher, entrepreneur, and Director of Camille Academy Inc. Ms. Polly Ragnauth is a Special Person

12/18/20226 min read

…with over two decades of exemplary service

Kaieteur News – When Taramatie Polly Ragnauth was a teenager, she always dreamt of a career in the medical field. To be exact, she wanted to be a nurse.
The reason for this is that she loved the idea of caring for others in a way that will make their lives better and more wholesome.
Her interest in that career path, nonetheless, shifted after she entered the teaching profession and fell in love with moulding the minds of young children.

In many respects, Ms. Ragnauth has now exceeded the benefits of her childhood dream. Instead of nursing people back to health; as a teacher, she is able to play a pivotal role in shaping tomorrow’s leaders, equipping them with the academic and social tools necessary to navigate life’s challenges and ultimately lead more meaningful lives.

This week’s Special Person has in fact spent over 20 years in the teaching profession, which she says has opened doors for her to evolve in other areas of her life.
Today, Ms. Ragnauth is known for more than just her teaching skills, she has blossomed into an entrepreneur, administrator, and Director of Camille’s Academy Inc (CAI)—one of the nation’s premier private schools.

She said, “Teaching exceeded that goal, part of what I do is establish values and principles and give children life skills, not just academics.”
Ms. Ragnauth holds several credentials from locally and internationally recognized and accredited academic organisations. These include certificates for completing courses in Psychology, Emotional Intelligence, Best Practices For Teachers, Self Development, and Introduction to Guidance and Counselling from the American University of Peace Studies.

She also holds certificates in Business Management from Action Coach Guyana – a local business coaching entity and Cambridge University, where she completed a course in Educational Leadership. She is currently pursuing an ILM programme accredited by the City and Guilds of London.

Ms. Ragnauth is an adoring wife and mother of two

Ms. Ragnauth is also a decorated teacher and entrepreneur with several awards under her belt. These include CAI’s outstanding teacher award for the year 2019, the Director Award for Excellent in Service – serving Camille’s Academy for 20 years, and the best Teacher Award- Teacher of The Year Award for the most passes in CSEC EXAMS in 2021.
She was also nominated as employee of the year for the BIX-X Awards in 2020 at a conference held in Nashville Tennessee as well as the Young Entrepreneur of the Year for BIX –X Awards in Feb 2022, at a conference held in Las Vegas, Nevada. Outside of this, the teacher/ CAI Director is a loving wife and mother of two.

Her husband, Vijay Bhagwandin, and their two children, Ricardo and Renatta, serve as the bedrock for all she does and strives for.
“Being a young entrepreneur, being one of the Directors for the Camille Academy Inc, a private school with four locations in Guyana has definitely made me realize that it does not always go the way you planned,” she said.
She continued, “I love what I do and that is to be the change I want to see in my community and personal life.”

Ms. Ragnauth hails from the community of Soesdyke, East Bank Demerara. She is a product of a deeply religious mother, Omawattie Surajlall whom many villagers call ‘Auntie Dolly’, and her father, the late Roy Ragnauth.
She recalled having a simple but great childhood, having been afforded the opportunity to explore the outdoors and lots of simple adventures.

Ms. Ragnauth attends a business coaching event in the US

She said, “Honestly, I had an awesome childhood, the children back then were not exposed to too much too soon…I was able to participate in bush cooks, fishing at the riverside, and a host of outdoor activities. It’s not like what the children of today are exposed to, using gadgets from early.”

Ragnauth said being an only child does not mean you get all your wants fulfilled, but said she had to assist her parents who both worked to make ends meet.
In fact, most of her values which include honesty, modesty, compassion, hard work, self-respect, and respect for elders are embedded in the teachings she received from her staunch Hindu upbringing.

“My mother is an active part of the work of our Mandir and I grew up attending and participating in the various rituals and ceremonies,” she said.
During her school years, Ragnauth never thought that she would become a teacher; she always wanted to be a nurse. She loved the idea of helping, caring, and sharing with others. However, after completing high school, she ventured into teaching as part of her plan to help support her goal to further her studies and assist her parents.

In April 2001, Ragnauth whom most of her students call “Miss Polly,” began teaching computer literacy to small children and adults in the evening at the computer school that Ms. Camille Deokie-Gorakh had established.
That same year, the first private school on the upper East Bank of Demerara ‘Camille’s Institute for Business and Science Studies’ opened its doors and began operations. Ragnauth was just 17 years old at the time when she took up the challenge of becoming a teacher.

Back then, she said to herself, “If it doesn’t work out then I will make other plans.” However, as fate would have it, little by little, day by day, as time passed, she fell in love with idea of working with children.
And as she matured, got married in her early twenties, and became a mom, Ragnauth was able to glean from her teaching experiences. The teacher said it assisted her with her parenting skills as well as giving back to her community as she helped to mould the minds of children from her very village in Soesdyke.

Ms. Ragnauth also set and pursued her own academic dreams. She completed several short courses including a programme in guidance and counselling, business management, and other life skills to broaden her scope personally and professionally.
After 10 years in the profession, Ragnauth having experienced consistent growth and promotion in the field was awarded for her exemplary service and dedication to the company. She was also promoted to the Head of the Secondary Department.

In 2014, she prepared and sent up her first batch of students to sit the CSEC EXAMS which she continues to do and has managed to maintain a consistent pass rate of 80% and above.
In 2019, Ms. Ragnauth was again promoted to being the Administrator of the Main Soesdyke location of Camille’s Academy.

Ms. Ragnauth is pictured with the CEO, Directors and Heads of Department of CAI

The new role opened the door for Ragnauth to evolve in the area of entrepreneurship. As the school expanded its reach in January of 2021 to include new locations, Ms. Ragnauth was given a seat on the board and became a shareholder in the company. She said becoming a part owner of the main location was both rewarding and an accomplishment for her 22 years of service.
After she became a board member of CAI and was appointed to serve in the capacity of Director of Administration of four locations, her duties also expanded to cater to the welfare of a school population of over 1500 students.

Her responsibilities include monitoring the planning and designing of a balanced school curriculum, management and preparation for national exams, and providing guidance to teachers for the statutory completion of school records.
She is also tasked with ensuring that a balanced curriculum for every department—nursery, primary, and secondary is prepared and delivered in keeping with the school standards, including the SMART school option, and also integrating Information and Communication Technology (ICT) within the curriculum.

As the administrator of the Soesdyke location, Ms. Ragnauth manages its daily operations which include the welfare of approximately 600 students and thirty staff members.
Reflecting on her journey, she expressed gratitude to the visionary leadership of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Camille’s Academy Inc, Camille Deokie-Gorakh.

Ms. Ragnauth is pictured with some of the students of Camille’s Academy during an event.

“I would not be in this position if she had not seen the potential in me and offered me the opportunities to empower myself in terms of business and leadership courses through training from Action Coach Guyana. She also offers moral support for me to complete the courses. That is why I and several other staff members were able to stay and work with the school for so long because she makes it easy to work and accomplish our professional goals. She is honestly my role model and mentor,” the Director added.

Speaking about her future plans, Ragnauth said that in the next five years, she sees herself as being a proud mother of two successful children and the biggest fan of her committed and hardworking husband.
She said her goal is constant; it is always to be a role model in her community, helping empower the future of tomorrow.