Elizabeth Huddleson went further than most, however – on New Year's Day she became the first female head of Bangor Grammar in the school's 150-year history.
She threw the doors open to pupils on Monday (6th), her first full day in the hot seat and, as she proudly told her assembled grammar boys, an achievement in her life that she feels comes second only to becoming a mother.
On Tuesday (7th) Mrs Huddleson sat down with the Spectator to talk about how her first few days as principal had gone – and where she plans to go from here.
As she put it, "It's been a very different few days, certainly. I normally look forward to the New Year anyway, but with the new job waking up on January 1 was unique.
"I've spent the past few days preparing as much as possible and last Friday we had a day with just the staff in, so I was able to speak to them in advance of the boys coming back – I think that might have calmed a few nerves!"
In fact the new head has been working up to this since her appointment in October. Although she'd gained plenty of experience in her old job as vice-principal of the school, she spent the last months of 2013 shadowing now retired headmaster Stephen Connolly to make sure she learned the ropes of her new position.
"That was a very useful time actually, I was able to get good insights into the job and the new areas I'd be moving into," Mrs Huddleson remembers. "It's enabled me to make the transition as smooth as possible, as does the fact that I was appointed from within and already know the school.
Her first proper day in charge started with a rare whole-school assembly in the school's atrium, where she gathered all 900 boys to welcome them to the next chapter in Bangor Grammar's history.
"That was lovely, we don't do a full-school assembly often because of the numbers of pupils involved, but I had a message I wanted to give all of the pupils," she said.
"As I told the boys, over the past five years I have developed a strong attachment to the school, those who work in it and everything it represents."
Full interview can be found in this week's Spectator.