‘Joan will be remembered as a strong, thoughtful and caring’ – tributes to ‘incredible’ headteacher

Joan Sjovoll
Joan Sjovoll
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STAFF and students at a Durham school are mourning the sad loss of their headteacher.

Joan Sjovoll, headteacher at Framwellgate School Durham, in Durham City, has died after a short illness.

Paying tributes to the popular head, colleagues say her legacy will continue across the region and beyond, and her absence will be greatly felt within the world of education.

Alisdair Nicholas, acting headteacher at the school, said: “Joan will be remembered as a strong, thoughtful and caring individual who was admired as much as a person as she was for being an exceptional leader.

“Joan’s career was obviously important to her, but the school, her colleagues and peers who have heard the news all wish to pass their condolences to her family.”

Mrs Sjovoll’s daughter, Kirsten, said: “Words will never be sufficient to capture how incredible she was.

“She was young to be taken from us and still had so much to contribute professionally and personally. My hope is that her legacy might continue to inspire people to do more than they thought they could and to do it well.”

Mrs Sjovoll, former head at Deerness Comprehensive School, took up the post at Framwellgate School Durham in 2001, and Mr Nicholas said she had a drive for continuous improvement that brought out the best in students, teachers and the wider school community.

She was invited to advise the National College of School Leadership and the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust as well as becoming a National Leader in Education in 2007.

Mrs Sjovoll was particularly active in the field of science education and was involved with national organisations dedicated to promoting the subject and was a member of the Science and Learning Expert Group, tasked to report to ministers.

She ensured Framwellgate School Durham, which was given training school status in 2004, became one of the leading science colleges in the country.