Jean Chinn, ex-champion and head teacher of the International School of São Lourenço, has recently been awarded with one of the highest honours granted by the British government for her extraordinary efforts in the field of international education – an MBE. Chinn taught across England and spent several years at The New English School in Aman, Jordan as Head of Primary before moving to the Prince Henrique School in Vale do Lobo.
Unfortunately, Prince Henrique closed and Jean, along with other parents and teachers from the school, set up the new International School in São Lourenço. She became Headteacher in 1992 and the school grew under her leadership from 40 pupils to a staggering 280, ranging from pre-school to upper Sixth form. Known for her conviction, resolve, fire-and-brimstone purges and a well-hidden but soft centre, she guided the school through its fledgling stages and continued her reign as headmistress through trial and success alike. She left the school to retire in 2003 after planning the move to new grounds nearby.
Jean accepted the award in her typical style, saying that in her 40 years of actual teaching she had never received a mention – so the award must have been in light of her struggle to put up with both her husband and her father in the same house!
Jean now lives in retirement in Stoke-on-Trent, a strange choice compared to the warmth and natural beauty of the Algarve. Not wishing to move entirely away from her teaching roots, however, she is currently instructing budding musicians on the piano.