FROM the classroom to communion wine, one North East headteacher hopes her impending retirement will be truly divine.
Ann Templeman is to swap pens and pencils for the pulpit when she leaves Durham High School for Girls this summer after 13 years in the role.
Mrs Templeman is leaving the region to work as a priest near Reading in Berkshire – joined by her husband, Peter, who is currently the vicar at St Cuthbert’s Church, Peterlee.
From the autumn, Rev Templeman will be supporting his wife, serving as her curate.
Mrs Templeman, 61, was ordained as a priest in 2006 but this will be her first full-time appointment.
She said: “We’re very excited to be ministering together. We’re looking forward to serving together. It’s been a very exciting 13 years and I wanted to do something else while I have the energy.
“The school has grown from 420 when I arrived to be 600 now. We’ve had some very exciting new building projects, with big opening ceremonies. We also celebrated our 125th anniversary and it was fantastic to be part of that.
“We’re immensely proud we’re the only girls’ school in the county. We’ve always been at the top of the league tables but also standing for developing girls’ potential in every area of their lives.”
A special thanksgiving service was held at Durham Cathedral recently to mark Mrs Templeman’s retirement and to celebrate the achievements of the school’s sixth formers.
Mrs Templeman, who studied at Oxford University and teaches Latin and Greek, said: “I found the service immensely moving and a wonderful way to celebrate all the community at Durham High School means to so many of us. It was particularly special to share the service with the Upper Sixth and give thanks for all the lasting friendships we have made.”
Mrs Templeman said two highlights of her time at the school were taking part in a staff “Strictly Come Dancing” event and dressing up as a fairy godmother for a pantomime performance of Jack and the Beanstalk. “They sum up the really important thing about the school,” she said.
“It’s the sense of real community, of laughing together. A place where people make lifelong friends.”
A new headteacher is expected to take over at Durham High School for Girls in January or April 2012.