It’s time to go says Mo

Mo Brown (headteacher) of Kirkhope Primary, with a copy of the Kirkhope News.
Mo Brown (headteacher) of Kirkhope Primary, with a copy of the Kirkhope News.

She may be calling it a day after 21 years as head teacher of schools in the Yarrow and 
Ettrick Valleys, but Mo Brown says she will not be idle.

Mrs Brown, who formally retires at the end of this week, says that with children and grandchildren, plus a host of other interests, she will have plenty to occupy her time in retirement.

Married to Scottish Borders Council cultural services manager, Ian Brown, Mrs Brown, who lives in Selkirk, is involved with sustainable development education, local history groups and Selkirk’s conservation area regeneration scheme. But she admits she will miss the job that took her from Edenside Primary School in her home town of Kelso to the head teacher’s job at Philiphaugh Primary in Selkirk, then to Kirkhope Primary, before taking up a shared headship covering Kirkhope, plus schools at Ettrick and Yarrow.

“To be honest, I reached the age when I should have gone last year but hung on for a while longer because the job continues to be challenging and interesting,” Mrs Brown told us this week.

“That’s why I never aspired to keep moving on to bigger schools, because I enjoyed what I was doing where I was.

“But it’s time to let someone younger take over and I’m sure my replacement, Russell 
Williams, will do very well.”

Hundreds of children have benefitted over the years from Mrs Brown’s guidance and teaching, and she hopes many will remember her with fondness: “Many still speak to me when they bump into me in the street, which is always nice,” she said.

“My claim to fame is that when I started at Edenside, my first primary one pupil was Olympic rower Matthew Pinsent,” Mrs Brown added.

Earlier this summer, Mrs Brown was presented with flowers and vouchers by the local community at Kirkhope Primary’s open weekend.

She also received a painting of the school by well-known local artist, Rob Hain, which was presented by Scottish Borders councillor, Vicky Davidson, on behalf of present and past school families.

Local Scottish Borders councillor Gordon Edgar this week paid tribute, saying: “Mo has been absolutely brilliant as a teacher and headteacher. She has had great empathy with the youngsters, trying to make education as exciting as possible – I’d say she’s been a real innovator in that way.

“She will be a great loss to the education of youngsters in the valleys and I hope that her replacement will aspire to the levels Mo has worked to over the years.

“What else can I say? Mo has been great with the kids, great with the parents, and great with the wider community. She has been a real asset and I wish her well for the future.”