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Golden Apple Spotlight: Jo Burleigh

Today's focus is on Jo Burleigh, finalist for the Golden Apple Support Staff Award.

Jo Burleigh worked as office manager at the UTC from 2015 until just before her tragic death from cancer in June 2018.

Her colleague and friend, Charlotte DeGraff remembers her below and speaks about why she nominated Jo for the Golden Apple Support Staff Award, for which Jo is now shortlisted.

"I nominated Jo for the Golden Apple Awards because she truly deserves to be recognised for all her hard work, her support of students and colleagues and her kind nature. I know for sure that most people would agree with me that Jo was an amazing woman.

Everyone loved Jo. She was well known for loving her ‘bling’ and for her great sense of humour. For three years Jo was not only my line manager, but also a good friend. Jo pulled us all together in the office turning us into a real team. In her own words, she ran a ‘tight ship’ and she was right. She was always extremely professional, and would go above and beyond to help anyone – and this attitude has rubbed off on us all.

Jo was so kind and understanding, she gave me so much advice and support throughout my role, she taught me everything!

What I admired the most about Jo was the strength and courage that she showed whilst she was ill. She was adamant that life would not change and work was always a priority, that's just how dedicated she was. There was days where Jo would come in and she wasn’t doing well, but she wouldn’t let it show and she would just carry on as normal.

She will never be forgotten at the UTC."

- Charlotte DeGraff, Admin and Attendance Assistant


Jo was a truly wonderful person. She was willing to help others, always with a huge smile on her face. She exuded kindness no matter what the situation. She will be forever missed.

-Joe Richardson, Science Teacher

Jo was an amazing lady who I knew since her first day working at the UTC. She was always bright and cheerful and forever had a big smile on her face. I will remember Jo fondly for her talk of the Navy and her love of Red Setters. I will sorely miss our Friday emails which always ended with a dog theme. She is still sorely missed by the staff and students who knew her.

-Clair Poddington, Head of Year 11

I will always remember Jo for her gleaming smile, she could always make the room brighter and the dullest wettest day shine.

-Simon Wright-Rosie, Science Teacher

I will always remember Jo for two things.

  • Her unwavering professionalism: She lead by example, she was polite, courteous and always on task. She seemed to have all bases covered and continued her professionalism even through her illness. She showed us all what it means to aspire.
  • Her love of heels and a good laugh. Jo was able to make me smile no matter what the day had thrown at us. Getting Jo to laugh had infectious consequences for the entire office. Her spirit was greater than herself and touched all that was in the vicinity. She did all this with the grace and poise of the most humble of people.

- Ian Lindner, Director of Learning for Science, Geography and Sport

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