New John Port Deputy Principal Lloyd Opara brings something unique to his teaching role – a past as a former pro footballer.
After a seven-year career playing for teams including Burton Albion, Peterborough, Stevenage and Swindon, North Londoner Lloyd Opara decided to leave the football pitch behind, and pursue his interest in teaching.
He once had a trial at Chelsea, which he described as “like nothing I had seen before.”
John Port Spencer Academy in Etwall, Derby, joined Spencer Academies Trust in February this year, and is one of the largest schools in the country with over 2,000 students on roll.
As the school’s behaviour lead, Lloyd hopes to inspire in students the same qualities that helped him to make it as a professional sportsman.
When it comes to modelling determination and ambition, Lloyd brings something else to the role – the story of his own journey into education.
Having initially struggled at school, Lloyd credits a teacher called Mr McLusky for both helping to develop his footballing talents and for giving him the guidance that he needed.
Remembering Mr McLusky, Lloyd said: “the skills and mindset he passed on to me is something I want to replicate and I want people to think, yeah Mr Opara might have been strict, but he helped me with what I wanted to achieve.”
Having left school without qualifications, Lloyd had to attend four separate educational establishments to qualify to teach.
He now hopes to make his own mark on John Port, and to spur on the next generation of students to achieve their dreams.
“As a footballer I always had that strong will, that mentality to win and I want to use that same focus, humility and determination in my teaching and inspire students to find their futures. When I was a footballer, I was always going into schools and this made me think I wanted to work with children.”
Read the full article on Derby Telegraph here.
To find out more about life at John Port Spencer Academy, visit the website at www.johnport.derbyshire.sch.uk