Staff Spotlight: Jenni Montgomery, Executive Curriculum Administrator

Meet Jenni Montgomery, our Executive Curriculum Administrator at Gordonstoun. A true powerhouse, she does it all, from managing class timetables to overseeing international service projects. Jenni also has more than a few stories to tell, from Fencing for Great Britain, to working with MI6…

Tell us a bit about yourself, what you do and how long you have worked at Gordonstoun

I’ve been at Gordonstoun since August 2022. I have two children in Junior School, and my daughter is the youngest child in the whole school! I work in the Curriculum Office as the Executive Curriculum Administrator. The Curriculum office looks after everything from staff and people timetabling, to stationary and photocopying. We do all the Broader Curriculum admin support - Sail Training Voyages (STV’s), service projects and activities. We also have a lot of interaction with parents and students through parents evenings, supporting timetable choices, things like that - no two minutes are the same in our office!

What do you enjoy most about working at Gordonstoun?

It's going to be cliched, but I do love the people - and when I say the people, I mean both the staff and the students as well. I enjoy being able to help and support them.

Gordonstoun is a pretty remarkable place to work. You have to pinch yourself walking around, it’s a beautiful place. But it's the people here and their passion for what they're doing, putting the student's experience, wellbeing, and welfare before themselves across the board, that is quite remarkable. I've not seen anything like that other than in the military, even then not to the same extent.

What is happening in your department right now? Any new initiatives / exciting events this year?

We are already looking ahead to next term, and doing a lot of forward planning for things like the summer’s STV’s, as well as the curricular calendar. We're looking at all the great things that we've got coming up in the summer, and specifically supporting colleagues who are planning exciting trips, like our service projects to Ladakh and Thailand.

We’re also supporting our new Assistant Head of Broader Curriculum, Aaron Jess, who's just arrived in January, helping him to settle in and navigate the uniqueness that is Gordonstoun and everything that we do here. There’s even the things I'm thinking “actually I don't know that, can we find that out?”, so everyday’s a school day, literally.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Other than my kids, who I adore, my time operational in the military was great. Completing the London Marathon with a broken toe is probably up there as well - I just took lots of painkillers and kept on going. I was raising money for a brain tumour charity so I was not stopping! I also did an Ironman in Majorca around the same time to raise money for the cause.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Out on my parents farm on Skye, with my kids and husband just enjoying being outside in the good weather out there - and then a good whisky by the fire afterwards.

What is something surprising about you?

I'm a classically trained ballerina. I got right up to virtually professional ballet dancing when I was in school. I also used to fence for Great Britain and I’ve ridden horses all my life. I once rode in front of The Queen at the Windsor Horse Show.

Something else people might not know is that I was a military intelligence officer for eight years. I specialised in human intelligence and travelled all over the world doing some fun stuff. I’ll give you a fun fact - I was once fitted for a false beard at MI6 Headquarters. I was disguised as a teenage boy, it was great fun!

What talent would you most like to have?

I'd love to be able to play the piano properly and I'd love to speak Gaelic. My dad’s family all speak Gaelic, so I’d love to be able to tap into that bit of my history.

Is there a quote or saying you live your life by?

What do I live my life by… you know, “a smile costs nothing”, because you never know what somebody's going through, a smile costs nothing, and it can really change somebody's day.

Left - Jenni Riding as a Child Right - Jenni riding at the Windsor Horse Show

What is your guilty pleasure?

Salt and vinegar Kettle Chips and hummus with a beer.

Thank you Jenni for taking the time to talk to us!

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