A TEACHER who has been described by pupils as “inspirational” has been nominated for a prestigious Local Hero award.
St Augustine’s High deputy head Lesley-Ann Baird, 40, has spoken of how honoured she is to be put forward for the Teacher of the Year gong by pupils.
The mum-of-two from Dalkeith, who has taught at the school for 16 years, has been nominated by sixth year pupil Dionne McFarlane.
On being told of her nomination, she said it was a big surprise.
“I’m very honoured and very touched,” she said. “Dionne said some months ago that she was going to put me forward but I thought nothing of it.
“I love my job and I get a great sense of satisfaction from it. I’m quite obviously not in it for nominations or awards but it’s fantastic to be thought of by my pupils.”
Lesley-Ann teaches modern languages at the 690-pupil Roman Catholic high school in Broomhouse. In her day-to-day role, she has lent her time and commitment to the school’s Duke of Edinburgh Award programme and helps pupils complete the scheme.
She has also organised for Polish students to be able to take Polish as a subject and sit an exam in their native tongue. Lesley-Ann has also arranged meetings with the parents of Polish students so that they can also provide support to pupils.
Dionne, who nominated Ms Baird, said: “She provides support that is of a high standard and puts pupils’ safety and welfare first before anything else. She doesn’t just give advice and leave you to it, she will be there and support you when you require it.
“Ms Baird is also very easy to talk to. She is very compassionate and you can tell she really cares about the pupils by the quality of support she gives. She supports all pupils from different ethnic backgrounds and ensures inclusion and that everyone feels part of the school community.”
During her time at the school, Lesley-Ann has also managed to improve attendance through the setting up of an innovative scheme whereby those with 100 per cent attendance are entered into a prize draw with vouchers for Edinburgh Leisure up for grabs.
Nominees for the Community Champion category of the Local Hero Awards have also recently been announced, with eight hopefuls currently battling it out to grab the top award.
One of those in line for the title is campaigner and up-and-coming politician Terri Smith, member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Edinburgh Northern and Leith.
The 20-year-old, from Granton, is currently suffering from a brain tumour and has seizures and lung problems but still campaigns on youth issues.
Nancy Donaldson, 83, from Bonnyrigg, is also in the running after being nominated by her daughter for her volunteer work helping frail pensioners board the bus to the local shops and community club.
Other nominees for the award include Peter Gooch, David Marshall, Thomas Lynch, Arthur Mathieson, Robina Brown and Ross Perfect.
How To Nominate
The Local Hero Awards are open to anyone who lives in Edinburgh and the Lothians. Winners will be announced on Friday, June 5 at the Assembly Rooms.
The easiest way to nominate someone is to visit www.localheroaward.co.uk
This website will allow you to choose which category you wish to enter and tell us all about your nominee.
If you would prefer to enter by post, please send your entry to Edinburgh Evening News, The Local Hero Awards, Orchard Brae House, 30 Queensferry Road, Edinburgh EH4 2HS.
Entries must include your name, address and telephone number. Please make it clear which category you wish to enter your nominee for and explain why you think they deserve to win the award.
The closing date for nominations is Tuesday, May 5.