Getting to know you

Written by on 11 November 2014 in Q&A

Gillian Hamilton, Chief Executive of the Scottish College of Educational Leadership

If you weren’t doing what you are doing now what would you be?
I’d be teaching. I’m a former primary teacher – and always wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. I remember as a child playing at schools with friends and I was always the teacher - friends who know me well won’t be surprised at that at all! I still try to visit schools as often as I can, and one of the highlights in my new job has been a superhero picture designed especially for me by a P7 pupil in Thornlie Primary School. 

I’m a former primary teacher – and always wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember.

Who would be at your fantasy dinner party?
As I’m such a terrible cook , I would need to invite someone who could take charge of the menu and the cooking, so Nigella Lawson will have to be first on my list. Billy Connelly, for some good Scottish humour; and Sir John Jones, an inspiring educationalist who would also give Billy a run for his money on the humour front. Mo Mowlem – who would definitely bring frankness and controversy to the dinner conversation, and finally Dolly Parton - an inspiring and successful business woman, who might also be persuaded to provide some musical entertainment! 

Best thing about your job?
Where to start? The opportunity to establish the Scottish College for Educational Leadership as a driver for educational leadership development in Scotland, to work with the team at SCEL to build from the beginning  – being here right at the start is really exciting. Also, the opportunity to work with a wide range of talented professionals who are passionate about making a difference to the lives of our young people in Scotland. 

Who would play you in a film of your life and why?
Sandra Bullock? Quirky and accident prone…

Your hero in real life and why?
My mum. A strong, independent woman who worked really hard to make sure that my sister and I had opportunities in life that she hadn’t - and who shaped my principles and values about social justice and the importance of education. 

Your favourite hero in fiction & why?
I’m a big fan of Roald Dahl, so I’m going to go for Miss Honey in Matilda. I’m realising there’s a common theme running through my answers – she’s a teacher, who spots potential in Matilda, and works to ensure that she supports her! 

Top of your bucket list?
To visit Australia – I have a friend planning to move out there in the next few months, so I’m hoping an invite is forthcoming.

Your one regret?
I try not to do regrets - but perhaps not learning to play a musical instrument comes close. The closest I came to that was a few scratchy lessons on the violin and the school recorder group. I’d love to be able to play the piano or the guitar. In fact, maybe it’s not too late.

Something that would surprise people about you?
The school where I was a head teacher was the school that I went to as a pupil. I was one of the first Primary 1 pupils to start at the school on the day it opened – and when I went back to the school as head teacher, two of the teachers who had taught me as a pupil were still working there. 

Your favourite place and why?
Glasgow. I was born in Glasgow, although lived in Ayrshire for most of my life. I moved back there a few years ago, and love the energy of the city – the people, the culture, and of course the shopping!  

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