Maureen McKenna (2018)

Maureen taught mathematics in three Grampian schools in the early part of her career, moving on to Kilsyth Academy to become Principal Teacher and then Assistant Head Teacher. In 2000, she joined the inspectorate, where she went on to become District Inspector for Glasgow and North Ayrshire, and perhaps more importantly, the national specialist for Mathematics. Maureen moved to Glasgow as the city’s Director of Education seven years later, and in the decade or so she’s been in post, exclusions have fallen dramatically, and there have been rises in both attendance and attainment.

Fewer teachers outside Glasgow will be aware of the collaborative project Maureen launched in 2011 between Glasgow and the government of Malawi, a project which has seen many Scottish teachers travelling to Africa to work with their counterparts. For this initiative and for her leadership in Scotland’s largest city, she was awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours list.

But for all her successes in educational leadership, this former mathematics teacher has never moved far away from her subject. It was to Maureen that the SMC turned three years ago when the Keynote Speaker called off at the last minute. And it was to Maureen that the Scottish Government turned to raise the profile and status of Mathematics in the eyes of young people and the general public alike, culminating in Maths Week Scotland and the associated year- round activities.

The SMC Achievement Award is made to someone who has made an impact on mathematics education in this country over a long period of time. Maureen McKenna has done so as a teacher, as a Head of Department, as an Inspector, as a designer of the curriculum, and as a leader at local, regional, national and international levels, and she is a worthy recipient.