Brenda Despontin grew up in Wales and is a graduate of Cardiff University. After studying for a PGCE in Bath, she accepted a post teaching English and Drama at The British School of Brussels, returning to Wales in 1977 with a Belgian husband. They both worked with troubled teenagers before Brenda returned to teaching, in what was then termed a “social priority area.” During these years, she completed an MA on Thomas Hardy. Her next post was in New College, Cardiff, in charge of English 11-16 and Careers. After seven years, she was appointed Principal of the Girls’ Division at King’s school, Macclesfield. This had been a boys’ school for 500 years and Brenda’s role was to launch the new sister school across town. Whilst there, she completed her Ph.D on children’s literature.
Returning to Wales, Brenda was appointed Headmistress at Haberdashers’ Monmouth School for Girls, a post she held for eleven years. Elected President of the Girls’ Schools’ Association in 2006, she chaired the joint HMC/GSA Education committee and completed an MBA in Educational Leadership. In 2008, she returned to the British School of Brussels as Principal, and retired in 2011. After travelling around the world with her long-suffering husband, she returned full-time to Cardiff university to complete an LLM in Human Rights Law, and has since spent her time learning Italian (slowly) and playing the piano (badly). She has one son, a teacher at Monmouth School.