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In The Spotlight > In The Spotlight > In The Spotlight: Joanna Rex

In The Spotlight: Joanna Rex

Joanna Rex (1992-2022)
Joanna Rex (1992-2022)

What did you do before you worked at BMS? 

I took a year between finishing university and starting teaching training college as I foolishly thought I didn’t actually want to be a teacher (despite thinking of nothing else career-wise since my primary years).  During this time I worked in the conference department at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.  After 2 weeks of photocopying (well it was the late 80s) I had submitted my application for teacher training.  My first job in teaching was at a middle school in Berkhamsted and after 3 years I moved to BMS…where I have been ever since. 

Tell us about what you do now? Has your time at school influenced your life today? 

I am sort of retired - I always planned to retire in my mid-50s and have achieved that goal.  The past 3 years have been challenging for everyone, but it has taken its toll and it is time to try something less time consuming.  I have lived and breathed BMS for over 30 years and it will be difficult to leave it behind, but I have always maintained that it is best to bow out before others start to say “isn’t it time for you to go?”!  I have not had much time to spend planning the next phase but the freedom of doing something irregular like being a film extra or helping a community project has an appeal. 

Tell us about your time at BMS. Do you have any special memories you would like to share? 

BMS has been my life, having worked here for over half of it.  I started in 1992 as a form teacher, became Science Coordinator at the end of the 1990s and then was appointed as Deputy Head in the Junior School in 2002.  Never having had any aspirations to be a Head, as I enjoy my time in the classroom with a form group too much, fate intervened and I was appointed Acting Head of Junior School in November 2011, with it being ratified as permanent in February 2012.  I have too many memories to even begin mentioning and they require a great deal of story telling, so they will have to be dished out on an individual basis whenever our paths cross. 

Was there someone from your time at BMS who had an impact on you? 

There are two people really.  The first is the late, great Nick Yelland; he appointed me in 1992 and again as his deputy in 2002.  He was enormous fun to work with, taught me a huge amount and we spent a lot of our days laughing about things that had happened.  We complimented each other in that he was the people person and I was the organiser – which seemed to work really well!  The second is Mike Hall who recognised qualities of Headship in me that I could not see and then supported me as I made the step up.  Both gentlemen were instrumental in putting me on the career trajectory I enjoyed immensely, even if I was arm-twisted into it in the first place. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I am an avid reader and theatre-goer.  There is always a pile of books by my bed and I generally have tickets for some show or another regularly waiting in the wings.  Pre-2020 I was a keen swimmer but that was replaced by walking post-2020.  I do not enjoy exercise and never choose to do it, but I know it is good for me!  Although I did take up tap-dancing 5 years ago which is great fun and very taxing for an aged brain.  In addition, I love spending time with my daughter, Charlie, who also enjoyed the benefits of attending BMS, as a student.  We have shared interests and laugh together – A LOT! 

What would be your advice to your younger self? 

Don’t worry.  Life has a habit of panning out in ways that you never consider.  I have lost hours and days worrying about things that have never transpired and that energy would have been better placed in a positive frame of mind. 

Are there any other thoughts you would like to share with the OBM and BMS community?  

BMS is a very special place and I consider it to have been an honour to work with so many colleagues, students and parents over the years.  I am enormously grateful for the fact that they have made coming to work a joy (for the most part!), I would like them to know that I rarely forget a face or name and finally, I have very, very fond memories of them all. 

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