12 November 2021

"This is what I want to do"

Alison Millard has been appointed the new head teacher of Johnshaven Primary School.

She was acting head teacher at Tullynessle School for two years prior to her appointment as head teacher.

Speaking about her reaction to finding out she had been chosen as head teacher, Mrs Millard said: “When I was told I had been successful I felt sheer delight about the news. It was so nice to see that the staff were happy. The welcome from the community was just amazing. Parents getting in contact to say well done. It was wonderful.  I was pleased and surprised at the same time.”

However, Mrs Millard hasn’t always been a teacher. Originally, she worked in the oil and gas sector. She spent ten years working offshore in a variety of jobs based in Europe before returning to Scotland to start a family. “Being with my own children I realised how much I enjoyed being with children. My mother was a secondary school teacher teaching English for many years. I had always been around education even when I had left school. My mum would always insist I helped her out. It was just something that came to me that ‘this is what I want to do’, so I came to teaching a little bit later in life than others,” she said.

Mrs Millard began her career as a mud logger, a field specialist who monitors the oil well and collects samples for geologists. She pursued a career in data engineering becoming an MWD engineer, she also worked in oil well control and directional drilling before running the Dutch office for surface logging systems.

Her work outside education has helped her work independently and, in a team, as well as enabling her to learn how to meet deadlines and manage her time. Her experience working offshore has proved useful when she has communicated with parents who work offshore as she can relate to them through her own experience.

Her career outside teaching has also been invaluable with Developing the Young Workforce. “We are finding that people aren’t in the one career for the whole of their lives anymore so it is helpful to say you can change your mind, you can have aspirations. If you are wanting to change it is up to you. You’ve got to have that motivation within yourself, that aspiration to go for your dreams and your goals,” she said.

Mrs Millard was made redundant and took time out to bring up her children which led her to undertake a postgraduate in education at the University of Aberdeen. She was a probationer at Lumphanan School before taking on a temporary post at Laurencekirk School as a P7 teacher but ended up staying at the Mearns school for around 12 years. During her time at Laurencekirk School she was promoted to principal teacher. She then took on a secondment at Auchenblae School as acting depute. She briefly returned to Laurencekirk School before becoming acting depute at St Cyrus School, she went back to Laurencekirk School for another short spell before being appointed as acting head at Tullynessle School and finally she took on the same role at Johnshaven School.

Cllr Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee chair, said: “Well done Alison Millard on her new role leading Johnshaven School. She brings a wealth of useful experience gained both in education and in other sectors which I am sure will prove invaluable as a head teacher. Alison’s career demonstrates there is no wrong path.”

Committee vice chair Cllr Rosemary Bruce added: “Congratulations Alison Millard. She is certainly someone who has been called to a career in teaching. I really hope she enjoys the experience of leading a school in the heart of a rural coastal community and shaping the lives of children in Johnshaven.”