Lloyd Cohen was born in a tiny country village, Orange River, close to Richmond in St. Mary. He, along with his sister Carmen were raised by their maternal grandparents. Their mother migrated to England as a member of the Windrush Generation. Despite the presence of extended family members, Lloyd learned to make life’s decisions at an early age. Ironically, studying and taking schoolwork seriously were not part of those decisions, or lifestyle. The awakening came about when his friends passed the Common Entrance Exam and were transferred to high school and left him behind. He then decided unilaterally to make something of himself by joining the afterschool classes to prepare for the Jamaica Local Exams. Consequently, he passed First, Second, and Third-Year Exams by the age of 16. He was not able to work as a pretrained teacher until the following year at age 17. He worked and saved for college for two years before his admittance to the Mico Teachers College in Kingston.
After graduation, he worked for three years in Jamaica before accepting a position as a teacher in Freeport, Bahamas. His college sweetheart, Winnant also accepted a teaching position in the Bahamas, but was placed on a different island. Lloyd and Winnant were married in Jamaica the following year and returned to work in the Bahamas at the same school. The union produced three children, two boys, Lloydell and Patrick (both were born in JA while living in the Bahamas) and the girl came seven years later (born in the US). Lloyd’s teaching career in the Bahamas included working at three different schools. His last five years in the Bahamas were spent working at Freeport High School. (He often joked that he skipped high school…..never attended…but ended up teaching “O” and “A” level Biology in high school).
The family migrated to Miami, Florida after thirteen years in the Bahamas. What a contrast it was from the laid-back island life to an introduction to the new lifestyle. He started doing odd jobs: delivering newspaper, working at Sears cutting keys and learning the art of engraving, obtaining Life and Health Insurance Licenses among others, before deciding to go back to teaching.
Lloyd decided to further his education by obtaining both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Miami, then went on to acquire a Specialist degree in Technology and Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership from Barry University. He obtained teaching licenses in Florida including Educational Leadership Certificate. His career in the US included working at a private school for one year before being hired by the Dade County School Board. He also worked as Adjunct Professor at Barry University teaching Education classes, and coordinating the Saturday Enrichment Program for Teacher-Interns.
Lloyd’s passion is being involved in the community. He is a founding member of the Jamaican Association of Miami-Dade Educators (JADE) since 1993. He has served in the capacity as President for 10 of those years. This organization promotes and supports the development of education within the Miami-Dade community by providing 3-6 scholarships of $1,000 each to qualifying students of Jamaican heritage, and a need-based scholarship of $1,000 each to any graduating senior in Miami-Dade Public Schools annually. Lloyd participated in the inaugural Diaspora Conference in Kingston, Jamaica in 2004. He went on to serve as the Education Committee Chair for the Jamaican Diaspora, Southern United States. He attended and participated in the Diaspora Conferences in Jamaica while assisting in writing resolutions, goals and objectives for the Education Committees. He was also a presenter of the Diaspora Conference was hosted in South Florida. He has been invited to speak to youngsters at different events including Kiwanis Club Function, Black History Celebration at Nova University and school functions. Dr. Cohen along with two other Educators from South Florida: Dr. Janet Cover and Dr. Winston Whyte provided Summer In-service Training for principals, teachers, community leaders under the Centers for Excellence Program at U.W.I. campus in 2010.
Lloyd participated in Medical Mission Trip to Jamaica (spearheaded by Don Daly from Miami) on more than one occasion. Interestingly, his daughter, Dr. Camille Cohen (Optometrist) who has been to many community events with Dad while growing up, has been to two mission trips to Jamaica. She examined the eyes of over 200 children and adults, plus solicited and donated glasses to the children.
Dr. Cohen started attending Perrine Peters United Methodist Church upon settling in Miami. That church later merged with Cutler Ridge Methodist, which was later renamed Cornerstone Church. He has taken on leadership roles including Chairperson for Staff Parish Relations Committee and Lay Leader among others. He has also participated in the Food Pantry distribution that provides groceries for needy families.
JADE’S Mission or Highlights over the years:
- Plan Annual Fundraising Award Banquet in Miami and present and present 3-6 scholarships of $1,000 each to scholarship winners.
- Provide educational materials such as reading books, teaching supplies, audio-visual equipment, and other resources to one or more schools in Jamaica annually.
- Provide professional development training to faculty members at schools in Jamaica.
- Increase community awareness of educational trends, policies, and guidelines in order to empower Caribbean parents to make prudent decisions in establishing goals, and making the correct decisions for their children. Our Education Forums have been the platform for such Community Outreach Program.
- Provide Mentoring and tutoring to academically challenged students in the Miami-Dade Community.
- Provide support and mentoring of educators, particularly new teachers from the Caribbean community.
- Corroborate with the Jamaica Ex- Police Association and assist by providing instructional materials for schools in Jamaica.
- Provide monetary assistance to students who have financial difficulties while attending tertiary institutions in Jamaica.
- Assist United Black Students at the University of Miami for African Storytelling Event, and the National Optometric Student Association at Salus University with limited financial resources.
- Donate education materials at Lucea Public Library in Lucea, Hanover.
- Provided monetary donation to the Centers for Excellence Program in Jamaica.
JADE has donated to schools in most parishes throughout the Island since its inception. In fact, the members have relented and granted special requests by donating refrigerator and commercial stove (among other items) to two particular schools.