Less than three months after her contract was renewed, Nadine Sutherland has resigned from the position of director of performing arts at the Challenge Preparatory and Challenge Middle School in New York to return to the “action” back home.

Sutherland was originally employed in September 2017 to oversee the operations at the institution, as well as implement programmes and policies within the cultural department of the school for one year. She was later given the opportunity to continue for another school year, which had also resulted in speculations that the veteran reggae singer had permanently migrated to the US.

“I was never trying to leave Jamaica. It is my home, so much so that every time as a break comes, I return here,” Sutherland said.

“The plan was not to settle in the United States, it was for work. Working and living somewhere are two different things, and the home or the place I call my home is the one I bought and decorated right here [in Jamaica]. There is no place like home.”

Although she preferred not to disclose the reasons for premature departure, she told THE STAR that she fulfilled her duties at the school and that her tenure did not go in vain.

The Action singer established the first performing arts department and opened the space for children to share their talent in music, dance and drama. Some of these students, she said, have gone on to audition for top schools, including the LaGuardia Performing Arts Centre in New York.

“One of my students is now in the second year of his scholarship, which was provided by Dwana Smallwood, a premier dancer of the renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, which I am happy knowing I contributed to creating that relationship,” she said.

While the students were aware of the genres coming out of Jamaica, she explained that she never used a lot of reggae in the curriculum.

“Within the American educational system their expectations were more on the classical side of music,” she said, adding that she also had to learn and teach new songs.

SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY

Sutherland added that she was also in the process of building a proper dance department, which she hopes someone with a similar passion will be enthusiastic to see through.

Although she has resigned, she said that she has not cut all communication with the school and students.

“I keep in touch with a few of the parents, as I feel sense of responsibility since I am the one that put the dream in their head. I will miss them immensely,” she said.

The entertainer, who holds a master’s degree in cultural studies from the University of the West Indies, said that she is not sure of her next plan or career direction. She noted that she never retired from music either.

“It has only been a week, and right now I am just looking for a party to go enjoy myself. This week is definitely an exciting one for entertainment with Dalton Harris winning X Factor UK and Buju Banton returning home. A time to celebrate,” she said.