THE head teacher of Oakwood Avenue Primary School has dedicated the past 17 years of his life to teaching and it has not gone unnoticed.

Gary Cunningham, who stepped up to the headship at the school in Pagate in September 2009, is the Warrington Guardian’s teacher of the month after he was nominated by one of his first ever pupils.

The 46-year-old from Padgate had such an impact on former pupil Kimberley Naughton that she has finally found the perfect way to say thank him for his unrelenting hard work and commitment to teaching.

Mr Cunningham, who was delighted but slightly embarrassed to receive the award, said: “I can honestly say I have really enjoyed it. It can be challenging but no day is ever the same, which makes the job enjoyable.

“The highlight for me is when a child has that light bulb moment and you see it on their face. It’s very rewarding.”

The father of two was a late starter to teaching having previously worked as a quantity surveyor until the age of 30 but came to realise that teaching was his passion after volunteering at Mencap - a charity for people with learning disabilities.

He secured his first teaching job at Brook Acre Community Primary School in 1997, before taking on the role of deputy head teacher and later head teacher at St Bridget's Primary School, from 2000 to 2009.

Most recently, Mr Cunningham took up the headship at Beamont Community Primary School after the school’s head teacher went on maternity leave.

Despite having a plateful taking control of two schools, Mr Cunningham admits that he loves his job and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

He added: “I have a great team of teachers and staff who make my life that bit easier. They have been a great help.”

This year looks set to only get better with the school celebrating 100 years since the first foundation stone was put down.

The school will kick off its milestone birthday celebrations later this year with the festivities building up to the big day on November 11, 1914.

Each month, the Warrington Guardian celebrates the hard work, dedication and achievements of one deserving teacher in the town.

The award, which is sponsored by education recruitment and training consultancy Academics Ltd, honours a teacher who has made a real difference to the school community.

To nominate a deserving teacher for next month’s teacher of the month award visit or email