Mandy Golding was the teacher children and colleagues went to when they needed help. She had a fabulous sense of fun, but showed immense determination throughout her career in London schools.
Ms Golding grew up North Yorkshire. She attended the local Methodist primary, and then grammar school. Even from an early age, her leadership qualities were apparent - other children affectionately called her "Miss Bossy Boots". It surprised no one when she was made head girl.
After school she studied English at Liverpool University, later training to be a teacher at Newcastle Polytechnic. On qualifying she moved to London. It was the start of a career that took place solely in the capital.
Her interest was not, however, limited to schools. Throughout the 1980s she was a political activist, campaigning against the National Front, council cuts and discrimination in all forms. But she also had a lighter side. She had many passions, ranging from the music of Tamla Motown and Northern Soul to American literature and trashy crime novels.
Her enthusiasm for life was reflected in her lessons - she played pop music in the classroom and got pupils to make horror films in the park. Unsurprisingly, her commitment resulted in several promotions, eventually to deputy head at the now closed North Westminster Community School and then Park View in Haringey. This was followed by local authority roles at Ealing Council.
In 2006, Ms Golding became head of Acton High in west London. Under her leadership the school thrived.
Ms Golding fell in love later in life with John, an architect, and their marriage brought her enormous happiness.
She was diagnosed with stage-four melanoma in September 2010 and took early retirement - a holiday to Florida followed not long afterwards. But her condition deteriorated quickly and she died last month.