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Highland Heroes 2024: Primary teacher shortlist revealed – VOTE NOW!

By Leah Williamson

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Here is the shortlist for primary teacher of the year...

Lyndsay Simpson, Invergordon Park Primary School

Lyndsay Simpson
Lyndsay Simpson

Teacher Lyndsay Simpson, has been praised for being an “extraordinary educator and all-round lovely person” in her nomination.

Lyndsay, currently on secondment to the school from Gledfield primary, near Ardgay, hails from Alness and has been teaching since 2006. She is acting deputy head and also teaches P1s.

A nomination described her as: “A dynamic, creative and tireless teacher who devotes herself to giving her pupils the best experience she can. Besides helping pupils to grow and develop, Lyndsay manages and supports a large team of support staff and a mountain of paperwork. She carries substantial additional responsibilities as deputy head teacher, but does not let that get in the way of giving her all to the class. She is cheerful, understanding, resilient and patient in the face of extreme situations, always determined to find the best in everyone.”

Passionate about teaching, Lyndsay said it’s the children that make the job so enjoyable: “They’re always great fun, no two days are the same. I’m organised naturally so that helps with my day-to-day job but the children make it. They’re just great fun and you never know what they’re going to say!”

She added the nomination also came as a complete shock: “I’m absolutely gobsmacked! I thought they must have the wrong person. I never expected it.”

Jane MacKintosh, North Coast Campus based at Melvich Primary School

Jane MacKintosh
Jane MacKintosh

“Force of nature” deputy head teacher of the North Coast Campus based at Melvich Primary School, Jane MacKintosh, has been “humbled and surprised” by her Heroes’ nomination.

Jane has been teaching since 1999 and moved to Melvich Primary in 2018. As primary deputy head she is involved teaching all age groups within the school. Jane is also the manager in Farr ELC within the campus, a role she takes great pride in.

A nomination described Jane as a “force of nature”: “As part of the fabric of the village, as a parent and as a role model, she tirelessly works to ensure that the children aim to achieve beyond their rural horizons and shoot for the stars. She is a force of nature and we would be lost without her.”

“I’m very surprised and humbled”, said Jane. “It’s a job I absolutely love and I’m delighted to be thought worthy of this nomination.”

“I strive to maximise every opportunity for the children. I see it as my role to create a supportive and nurturing environment so all the children achieve their potential. I am determined to ensure the children have access to the best possible experiences and that our rurality is not an obstacle.

“Staff are valued and their wellbeing recognised. This enables them to give their best to our lovely children. It is a privilege and joy to work in such a positive environment.”

Ellis McDaid, Drummond School

Ellis McDaid
Ellis McDaid

A nomination for Drummond School teacher, Ellis McDaid, says she deserves recognition for always going above and beyond for her pupils.

Ellis has been at Drummond School, Inverness - a school for pupils with additional support needs - for two years.

A parent said she goes above and beyond for all her pupils, responds to a child’s particular needs and method of learning, and gives families a detailed overview and updates of how time is spent in school.

“She goes over and above to ensure the learning environment and opportunities are available and adapted for my son,” a nomination said.

“For parents who have children who are pre-verbal and can’t tell us about their day, she plans, prepares and gives us the afternoon activity that classmates will be doing so he is still getting the same opportunities as the others. Ellis is just amazing and deserves this recognition!”

In her third year of teaching, Ellis is passionate about her role and loves supporting the youngsters in her class who range from P2 to P4.

“Working in Drummond School is just so rewarding because you work with so many different children and you see the progress they make. It’s amazing to watch, I adore all the kids I work with.”

Ellis was delighted to be nominated: “It’s completely unexpected, I’m delighted! It’s really nice to be recognised for the work I’m doing, it’s lovely.”

Culloden Cars is sponsoring the primary teacher award.

Culloden Cars managing director, Craig Walker, said: “Culloden Cars is delighted to sponsor the Highland Heroes primary teacher of the year award for 2024. It’s a category close to my heart as my young daughter just received her acceptance into Aberdeen University to begin her primary school teacher studies and who knows, maybe one day she will win this award for her services. Congratulations to all those who have been nominated.”

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