Nicola Hood

Trust Principal and Principal of Mildenhall College Academy

As a child I wanted to be a PE teacher or join the army and I am proud to say that I have been able to experience both in my career. My love of sport came as a result of struggling to fit in at secondary school which resulted in me joining the hockey team. The strong sense of teamwork and competition helped me develop a sense of belonging and build a level of confidence I had not had before. 


Along with inspiring teaching and a great single Mum, I was able to work hard and achieve academically at a level I hadn’t thought possible or seen realised in my family before. It is this that has been my driving inspiration as a teacher, the thought that I can inspire and help others to broaden horizons and realise their dreams. 


In education I have found a number of women who have inspired and supported me, in my early years by modelling how to teach and help young people and more recently by encouraging and advocating for me to take on more senior roles. 


My experience as an army reservist exposed me to a work environment very different to education and where I had to be able to speak up and have the confidence to assert myself in a more male dominated environment. Earlier in my life I would not have had the level of confidence to do this. 


What I learned from others; the importance of hard work, high standards, integrity and confidence have helped me develop from a PE teacher through a range of middle and senior leadership roles to Principal and now Executive Principal. But what has really inspired and helped me has been the example that my Mum, those early female teachers and my hockey mates showed me:  success is a team sport and that whatever needs to be done, it can be done with compassion and kindness. This has meant that on every step of my journey, my achievements have been in the context of hard work but more importantly have consistently been accompanied by happiness.