Vote for a high school teacher

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VOTING opened at the Moray and Banffshire Heroes Awards.

Jackie McLeish, Jenna Ogg, Carey McWilliam and David Burns compete for High School Teacher of the Year.
Jackie McLeish, Jenna Ogg, Carey McWilliam and David Burns compete for High School Teacher of the Year.

Get to vote for your local heroes.

There are 12 different categories and the winners will be revealed on Thursday 20th April at Brodie Countryfare.

A special Champion of Champions will also be announced that night.

You have until March 26th to cast your vote.

Go to to support your favourites.

Modern Languages ​​teacher at Speyside High School, David Burns, makes learning fun and brings boundless positivity to the classroom.

Also an accomplished musician, it is clear that Mr. Burns has struck the right note with his students, their families, and their colleagues.

One candidate praised his enthusiasm for teaching and creating a very positive experience.

He said: “He has a great attitude, is well respected and brings positivity to the school by creating engaging and exciting lessons for the students.

“He is an amazing musician, playing a myriad of instruments and is a leading part in the school’s teachers band.

“Tamo Shanter was fully learned and read it perfectly with great enthusiasm which amazed and amazed everyone.”

Mr. Burns has been teaching for 17 years and has been at Spyside High School for five years.

He explained that one of the most rewarding parts of his role is working with students outside of the classroom: “It’s all the extra stuff you’re involved in outside of class, like helping out with the music department, school events, Burns dinners, the mountain bike club — all those extra things where You see your pupils in a different context and work with them on something different.”

Mr. Burns was “pleasantly surprised” at being nominated for the Champions Award.

Jackie MacLeish is a business educator at Keith Grammar School.

Mrs MacLeish taught at the school for 10 years but only became a teacher at the age of 42.

“I left school at 16 with no qualifications whatsoever,” she said.

“I used to work various management jobs, but as the years went by, I thought, ‘I’d like to do more.

“I went to university when I was 39 and then became a teacher at 42.

“I always say to pupils, that while exams give you choices, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t achieve the results you hoped for.

Last year I completed a Diploma in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Eating Disorders.

“I chose these areas as more and more young people are experiencing mental health issues, such as anxiety, stress, and eating disorders.

“I want to do the best I can for our young people, and support them as they embark on their journeys through life.”

One nomination said: “I can’t thank Jackie enough for how much she helped me when I was struggling.

“Definitely the best teacher ever and an absolute gem for a woman.”

“I’m just trying to do the best I can for our young people,” Ms MacLeish added.

Carrie McWilliam is an English teacher at Speyside High School and has been a leader in helping the school support equality and diversity.

Joint winner of the GTCS Saroj Lal Award, which celebrated the work of educators who challenge discrimination and promote equality and diversity.

She has been instrumental in restarting the former LGBT+ group allowing pupils to meet and talk in a safe space, and developing a glossary for staff and pupils to help inform the entire school community about terminology and identification of aggressive behaviour.

She said: “I took it upon myself to start training staff in inclusive LGBTQ+ education but also create a curriculum that represents equality and diversity; including different races, genders, genders and cultures.

“So the country children who come to school leave here knowing more about the world around them – and it’s also good for the children to see that we, as educators, are still learning.”

She added: “The kids are the best thing about the job; working with them, seeing how they do, and doing well for themselves.

Once you get to know them better, you will know how to help them better.

“It’s really nice to think that there are people who took the time, and it makes me feel appreciated.”

Buckie High School teacher Jenna Ogg has received admiration and thanks from both peers and families.

Ms Ogg heads up the Business and Computing Studies department and is also the School’s Career Readiness Coordinator, supporting students to gain confidence and be ready when they make a big step into the workplace.

Nomination praised her dedication:

“It was clear to me at an early stage what a great relationship Gina had with the students, and she always seemed to go the extra mile to ensure they felt supported in the career readiness programme.

“With Gina’s enthusiasm and enthusiasm, any young woman in her class will be given every possible opportunity to step forward and show encouragement and support.”

Gina has been teaching for seven years and has been at Buckie High School for about five years.

She said: “The most important thing for me is to build a relationship with the pupils.

“When you get on a good relationship, you see them develop, they want to work hard.

“I like my students to come to me and feel that they have achieved something.

“I want to support pupils in getting to where they want to be in life.”

“I didn’t expect that at all.

“I am happy.

“I’m glad all my hard work is paying off.”

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