The head teacher credited for turning around a Ross-shire secondary school has been appointed interim head of education at Highland Council.
Nicky Grant, currently in the top job at Alness Academy, replaces Dr James Vance who is returning to his role as head teacher at Culloden Academy.
She has been head teacher of the 431-pupil Alness Academy since December 2018, and was previously depute head at Elgin High School, and depute head at Kemnay Academy, Aberdeenshire.
The former professional footballer previously taught physical education at schools in West Lothian.
Ms Grant played for Arsenal and Frankfurt among others, and was capped 98 times for her country.
She was credited for the significant improvement in literacy and numeracy results in Alness Academy in this year’s exams.
She said: “Since taking up post in the Highlands I have been overwhelmed by the level of care and commitment staff demonstrate towards improving the well-being, attainment and achievement of all our young people.
“I’m delighted 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.
“I am ambitious for all our staff and our young people and look forward to sharing aspirations for collective successes and achievements.”
Education chairman councillor John Finlayson said: “I am sure Nicky will embrace the challenges of the post and will also enjoy the support of all who work in Care and Learning across all our establishments, as we continue to move forward our ambitious programme of education transformation.”