Highland Council’s current head of education is to step up as interim executive chief officer for education and learning.
Nicky Grant replaces Paul Senior whose three month tenure was dogged by controversy over the £250,000 fees involved in his appointment..
Ms Grant became interim head of education in October 2019, prior to which she was head teacher at Alness Academy.
She was previously depute head at Elgin High School and depute head at Kemnay Academy, Aberdeenshire.
Education committee chairman councillor John Finlayson welcomed Ms. Grant’s appointment.
He said: “I am delighted Nicky Grant will be stepping up to this role at a time when the education and learning service is showing a good improvement in raising pupil attainment in Highland schools following the recent exam results.
“As Head of Service Nicky has contributed to the transformation which is taking place in the service and I welcome working with Nicky on the Service and Council transformation journey to sustain continued improvement for all pupils in Highlands.”
Ms Grant’s principal subject was physical education which she previously taught at schools in West Lothian.
Before sustaining serious injury, she was a professional footballer, playing for Arsenal and Frankfurt among others, and was capped 98 times for her country.
She said: “My passion and commitment for improving outcomes for all children and young people in the Highlands is what motivates all of my decisions, plans and actions. “Effective partnership working within and across the council sectors, and beyond, is key to achieving sustainable growth and maintain an upward performance trajectory.
“I’m privileged to have the opportunity to work with such driven and talented staff; to connect communities and develop sustainable partnerships with the progress of our young people at the heart of all we do.”