Brenda Harden (2019)

Brenda’s career began in Ellon Academy in 1978; she moved to Mackie Academy as APT in 1990, then to Turriff Academy as PT in 2005 and to Northfield Academy as Faculty Head in 2010. She finished up with a brief spell as one of the Depute Heads of Torry Academy, though she is still doing some lecturing on the Initial Teacher Education programme at Aberdeen University. This last role seems particularly fitting, because one of Brenda’s key strengths is getting the best out of her colleagues and developing young talent. In fact, she was nominated for this award by two of her young colleagues at Northfield Academy, backed by a member of the school’s SMT. They describe her as an inspiration; “we feel we are learning from the best”. “She is so committed to her job, we joke about how she must sleep in the cupboard in her classroom instead of going home.” They wrote about Brenda’s annual organisation of hands-on activities for S2 pupils, her involvement in Aberdeen’s Mathematics Masterclasses, how she wows her pupils and colleagues with her knowledge of number properties and mathematical facts and tricks. They wrote that Brenda is “the most passionate person about maths we have met” and her SMT link described her simply as “the Maths Guru” to whom everyone turns to for advice. “Her energy both physically and mentally is to be admired.”

In Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City, Brenda has been involved in the Numeracy Strategies Groups, chaired the Mathematics Network Groups and helped organise five local conferences. She helped organise Maths in the Pipeline and STEM in the Pipeline; she worked in various capacities for SQA and developed new courses with Education Scotland. She has also been an integral part of the SMC’s Mathematical Challenge for almost two decades, as marker, committee member and now Secretary. And she has just completed six years on the Scottish Mathematical Council, much of that time leading us towards financial good health as our Treasurer.

Brenda Harden is a truly outstanding teacher and the well-deserving recipient of the 2019 Award.