A MORAY head teacher will take to the skies when she retires later this month.
Brenda Gifford has held a pilot’s licence for three decades and plans to spend more time enjoying her hobby once she has more time on her hands.
Mrs Gifford (64) has been in charge of Lossiemouth High School for eight years.
Born and brought up in Aberdeen, she graduated from Robert Gordon and went on to teach home economics at Powis Academy then Summerhill, before moving to East Sussex.
She specialised in education management and school leadership, and was deputy head at Keith Grammar School for 11 years before joining Lossiemouth High.
"It seems to have been a really short time," said Mrs Gifford.
"One of the best things has been working with a great team, and never knowing what the day will bring even although you’ve planned it down to the last detail."
Mrs Gifford lives in Cullen with her husband John and plans to develop her love of art when she leaves the secondary later this month.
She said: "I’ve always enjoyed painting and it was something I did consider teaching. It’s something I’ve dabbled in over the years.
"I’d really like to study it seriously now, and it’s something you can just do. You can go out with a sketchbook and do it.
"I enjoy riding very much and I’ve got a pilot’s licence, I’ve had that for 30 years.
"I’ve also got four grandchildren aged from one to four and I want to spend a lot more time with them too."
Mrs Gifford is please to be leaving the secondary at a time when pupil achievement has improved and there is a vision for the future.
She said: "The school has turned round and is now a school of ambition, we’ve been on a really positive journey.
"I could have retired at 60 but I couldn’t pull myself away from the school - I couldn’t do it."
"I think what I’m looking forward to most is getting up on a very snowy morning and not having to decide whether the school needs to be closed."
Meanwhile, Carol Stuart, head teacher at Milne’s High School in Fochabers, will take on the top job at Forres Academy after the school holidays.
She moved to Milne’s in 2008 from Ellon Academy where she was deputy head.
Mrs Stuart has come full circle having started her teaching career as a modern studies teacher at Forres Academy.
The Forres job became vacant after Laurence Findlay became Moray Council’s head of schools and curriculum development during the summer.