THE new headteacher at North Berwick High School wants to do her predecessor proud as she settles in at her dream job.

At the start of the new term last month, Michelle Moore took over the headship from Lauren Rodger, who has retired, having previously worked as a quality improvement officer for City of Edinburgh Council for five years.

She is, though, no stranger to North Berwick High School, having taught and been assistant principal teacher for English from 2001 to 2005 and served as a depute headteacher from 2013 to 2016.

Born in Aberdeen, her father worked for the Ministry of Defence, which resulted in an international upbringing.

She attended secondary school in Washington DC, has lived in Germany and returned to Scotland to study English language and literature at the University of St Andrews.

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It was her year volunteering at a school in Germany after graduating where she was “bitten by the teaching bug” and realised her passion for the job.

And her previous time at North Berwick had certainly helped her settle in quickly, she admitted.

“It feels really good to be back – I’m returning to an environment I’m familiar with which I think has really helped,” said Ms Moore.

“The school looks the same and it smells the same.

“The thing that has been really common throughout my time here is the ethos of the school as it’s such a friendly and welcoming place. I’ve been made to feel as if I’ve come home.

“It’s a really special school and community to be part of. In a lot of ways, I think I’ve lucked out.

“Everyone has been so kind and it means so much to me.

“I’ve had young people come up and say hello; one complimented my dress and another my shoes.

“There’s quite a lot of staff that were here when I was here before and I think that’s helped make the start positive for me.

“A couple of parents have been in touch to say congratulations.

“They have been very welcoming, friendly and positive, and can remember me from before.

“There are still siblings of families I got to know last time who are still in school.

“It is definitely all about connecting and reconnecting, and building trust and relationships.”

She has spent little time in her office since the start of term, meeting, greeting and helping pupils both around school and in assemblies.

Her ambitions for the school are making sure learning and teaching are the best they can be, raising attainment and inclusivity, and promoting kindness and a sense of belonging.

East Lothian Courier: Michelle Moore is the new headteacher at North Berwick High SchoolMichelle Moore is the new headteacher at North Berwick High School

Ms Moore, 48, who lives in Edinburgh, described becoming a headteacher as her dream job.

She said: “It’s a big responsibility but this is a job that I’ve worked for my whole life and I’m really proud to be the headteacher of such a fantastic school, I can’t believe my luck sometimes.

“There is something very special about North Berwick. I described it to staff and pupils as a magnet and that’s why I keep returning to it.

“I can’t let the opportunity to work here and lead this amazing school pass me by.

“I achieved my qualification to become a headteacher about two years ago and since then I’ve put my mind to wanting to have my own school. I think my pathway has prepared me well for this job and I feel ready for it and I’m determined to give it my very best.

“I didn’t know Mrs Rodger was going to retire; I thought she was going to be here for a little while longer. But when the opportunity came up it was irresistible to me.

“I feel privileged and fortunate to have been the successful candidate. This feels like a dream job for me.”

Ms Moore described Mrs Rodger, who sent her a bouquet of flowers on the first day of term, as “a role model” whom she had learned a lot from.

“She taught me a lot about leadership,” said Ms Moore, “and about sticking to your values and I think my own personal values align pretty well with hers.

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“But I’m conscious that I’m not her and that I will have to march to the beat of my own drum.

“I think being authentic is very important for a leader so I can’t pretend to be anything other than myself.

“But I want to make Lauren proud and her to feel that she has handed her school over to somebody who will continue to cement its reputation as a place of excellence and inclusion.”