Dr Dee Bird is appointed new Secretary General

The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church will welcome a new Secretary General when Dr Dee Bird takes up the position this summer.

Dr Bird joins the General Synod Office from Edinburgh Napier Students’ Association where she has been Chief Executive Officer since 2020. She is the first female Secretary General of the GSO since the position was established in 1983.

The Secretary General is effectively the chief executive officer of the General Synod Office, which supports the General Synod in its work on mission and growth of the Scottish Episcopal Church and governance of key parts of its structures.

Dr Bird said of her new role: “As a member of the Scottish Episcopal Church, I feel honoured and privileged to have been appointed to this post. I’m looking forward to leading the team within the General Synod Office to support the work of the College of Bishops and the Standing Committee.

“While the SEC faces a number of challenges, I’m excited about the opportunities to evolve and grow the Church through collaboration and partnership-working between the Province, the seven Dioceses and local congregations. I’m also looking forward to getting out and about across the Province to meet people and hear their thoughts on how the GSO can best support the mission of the SEC at regional and local levels.”

Dr Bird arrives at the GSO with a wealth of experience as a senior leader in the public, third and tertiary education sectors, working at institutional and national levels. She has managed multi-disciplinary teams, led change and delivered regional and national projects and programmes.

At Edinburgh Napier she has been responsible for the strategic and operational leadership and management of an independent charity serving 19,000 students based in Edinburgh and internationally.

Previously, Dr Bird was an Assistant Director at the Scottish Funding Council for Further and Higher Education (SFC) for eight years, where she served as Assistant Director (Outcomes) before becoming Head of Quality. She also served as interim Director of Corporate Governance for a period.

While on a part-time secondment from the SFC, she served as Project Lead for the Hub for SUCCESS, a regional service to support care-experienced individuals to get in, stay in, or return to college or university.

Earlier, she was a tutor at the University of Glasgow and a lecturer at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, and served three years as National Academic Coordinator for Theology at the Higher Education Academy in Leeds.

She is currently Vice Chair of the Board of Management at UHI Inverness (Inverness College) and has represented Scotland’s interests on various cross-UK committees.

Originally a native of New Jersey, Dr Bird came to Scotland in 1997, gaining first a Masters and then a PhD in Literature, Theology and the Arts at the University of Glasgow. She also holds a Master of Divinity from what is now Palmer Seminary in Philadelphia.

She is an active member of St Mark’s Scottish Episcopal Church in Portobello, Edinburgh, where she is Vestry Treasurer.

In her spare time she enjoys “beating my husband at pickleball, walking my dog, and spending time in sunny Portugal.”

Ms Bridget Campbell, Convener of the Provincial Standing Committee who led the recruitment process, said: “I am delighted that Dr Dee Bird has accepted our offer of appointment to the important role of Secretary General to the General Synod. Dee will bring a fresh approach and strategic perspective, as well as much relevant knowledge and experience, to the work of the Scottish Episcopal Church at Provincial level.

“Our open competition for the Secretary General role attracted a strong field of candidates. Standing Committee is grateful for the help of Green Park executive search consultants in designing and supporting the search and selection process.”

Dr Bird is expected to start as Secretary General from 1 August after a period of handover before the retirement of the current post-holder John Stuart. In the meantime, she will attend the General Synod meeting in Edinburgh in June.

Picture: Dr Bird outside St Mark’s Portobello in Edinburgh, where she is Vestry Treasurer

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