A son of a cane cutter, Mr Kefline Wanyama, was among the 24 outstanding teachers in the country who won trophies and cash prizes amounting to Sh1.2 million.
However, women scooped most of the regional prizes in a tough competition marred by confusion, with the Teachers Service Commission giving the event a wide berth, thus paralysing the national contest.
The competitors expected to proceed to the finals but the contest ended prematurely.
The TSC was expected to organise the national competition, culminating in the naming of the Head Teacher of the Year (Hoya), Teacher of the Year (Toya) and Information, Communication and Technology Teacher of the Year (iToya).
Despite the challenges, eight regional Hoya, Toya and iToya winners were Thursday unveiled in a ceremony marking the end of the annual Kenya National Primary Schools Head Teachers Association forum in Mombasa.
Mr Wanyama, 42, a head teacher and mathematics teacher at Moi DEB Commonwealth Primary School in Bungoma County, said he was proud to be the last man standing, competing with seven women from different regions.
“The competition was very tough. I was the only boy-child competing among women. But you know women are super when it comes to record-keeping. I am hoping to win at the national level,” he said.
The father of four thanked his family, colleagues and pupils for supporting him. He attributed his win to God, hard work and dedication.
“I have been a head teacher for four years. My family and colleagues are preparing a heroic welcome for me back home,” he said.
Ms Faith Njeru, 50, started teaching in 1994. “I always wanted to be a teacher and I am passionate about my career. I teach English and Science. The win is a plus to all women. We have proved we can do better than men,” said Ms Njeru, Kubukubu Boarding Primary School head teacher from Eastern region.
Others who were competing in the same category are Central region’s Beatrice Wachira (Technology Primary School), Coast’s Alfred Nthiga (Ganjoni Primary School), Rift Valley’s Sr Victoria Achieng (St Mary’s Primary School), Nairobi’s Lydia Matu (Hospital Hill), North Eastern’s Siyat Nur (Iftin Primary School) and Nyanza’s Millicent Obare from Ngiya Primary School.
Toya winners are Central’s Rose Gakono (St Michael’s Primary), Coast’s Peter Siengo (Mwavunyu Primary), Eastern’s Tiberious Muriithi (Central Primary), Western’s Harry Majanga (Mululu Primary), Rift Valley’s Annette Wanyama (Kitale School), Nairobi’s Aspean Ombati (Buruburu Primary), Nyanza’s Raphael Nyamaro (Gekonge DEB) and North Eastern’s Abdikel Adan.
iToya winners are Damaris Wainaina (Central), Jackline Kosgei (Rift Valley), Samia Kennedy (Western), Glady’s Mutono (Eastern), Said Baya (Coast), Aden Issack (North Eastern) and Roseline Okita (Nyanza).
Kenya Primary Schools Head Teachers Association national chairman Nicholas Gathemia announced that the national contest could not be held.
“There was no assessment in the national competition because there were some technical issues. Some assessors were not around,” he said.
However, when asked why TSC skipped the closing ceremony, his deputy Johnson Nzioka insisted they are not fighting with their employer.