Lynne Wells of Byng Kenrick central school, Birmingham, an 11-16 comprehensive
Regional winner Secondary teacher of the year, West Midlands
Citation "A steady rock in an unstable community. How do we know? The pupils wrote and told us."
Trained in needlecraft and home economics. First job with "the cream of the cream, the sort of school where the kids use fountain pens and rulers". Came to Byng Kenrick in 1986: now head of home economics, head of year, head of learning support.
"The move to Byng Kenrick, definitely - a very special school." Then working to set up the school's "positive pupil" programme: early intervention with youngsters with behavioural problems based on negotiation, a special curriculum and lots of work placements. "It really works. It's the way ahead."
Most proud of?
"That it was the kids who nominated me. They saw the advert in the Evening Mail and wrote to say that though the school had a lot more than its share of difficult youngsters - their words, not mine - I treated them with respect that they didn't always deserve. I'd like to think that's true. I'm proud of my department, too. We get really good GCSE results - two A*s this summer."
"I'm sometimes angry at what the national curriculum did to practical subjects. But otherwise, none at all. I've had a wonderful life, really."
And if you win a national award?
"I don't want to think about it. I'm still recovering from my small son telling everybody in Safeway about the regional title. It wouldn't change my life - mind you, the money would be useful. I'd get a digital camera for home technology - a way of recording instantly what kids achieve."
The national finals of the Teaching Awards will be held in London on October 28. www.teachingawards.com