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Behind the scenes: A day in the life of Assistant Principal Deborah Monk

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In this edition, we find out more about Deborah Monk, Assistant Principal at Van Mildert College.

Deborah started working at the University in 2008 in the Treasurer’s Office.

She then became a college mentor at Josephine Butler College and enjoyed the role so much, that she ended up applying for a 50% secondment as a Student Support Officer at the College for a year.

Once the secondment came to an end, a 50 per cent opportunity as Assistant Principal at Van Mildert College came about. Deborah applied and was successfully appointed to the role and has been at Van Mildert since 2013.

No two days are the same for Deborah. Her days start early as she has animals to sort out before getting herself ready for work. This is fine in the summer, but as she tell us, can be a real struggle in the winter!

In her role as Assistant Principal, the majority of Deborah’s meetings throughout the day are appointments with students to offer support for any issues they may have. She regularly has between six and twelve appointments per day but tries to not start them before 9.30am to allow time to check emails or deal with anything urgent that has come in overnight.

Deborah Monk
Deborah Monk

Here Deborah tells us about the first Monday of Epiphany term...

6.30am: Get up, sort the animals, get a coffee, and have a shower.

8.45am – 9am: Arriving at the office depending on traffic as I am travelling from my home in the Pennines.

9am – 9.30am: Checking emails.

Back-to-back meetings till 12.30pm.

12.30pm – 1pm: Quick check of emails.

1pm – 2pm: Lunch.

2pm – 4pm: Senior management meeting.

4pm – 5pm: Internal meeting.

5pm – 5.30pm: Quick check of emails.

5.30pm: Leave work.

7pm – 8.30pm: Rehearsals for a play at our Village Hall.

8.30pm: Off home, quick tea and early night as on-call for student support.

Midnight: Call out for student support.

More about Deborah…

What do you enjoy about your role?

Helping students! It’s amazing when you can make a difference in people’s lives, even just a small one.

What are you most proud of?

The number of students who keep in touch with me after they graduate!

What’s the best bit of advice you have been given and that you would give?

Know your worth!

How do you look after your mental health?

I have regular appointments for acupuncture and massages. I also find that walking helps a huge amount – I head for the hills with my dog whenever I can (whatever the weather!).

What is your favourite food?

My Mum’s Sunday roast!

Where has been your best holiday?

Australia – I went for a month years ago and saw and experienced so much!

What are your hobbies?

Hiking, equestrian eventing, amateur dramatics! I also try to go swimming on my way home at least three nights per week.

Do you have any pets?

Yes, a dog and a cat – both rescues with their own individual issues but I wouldn’t be without them!

Find out more

  • You can find out more about Student Support at Durham on our dedicated staff section of the Student Support Hub



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