St Fergal’s College in Rathdowney will have a new principal for the 2020-2021 school year following the appointment of Gerry Quinn to the role.
The Laois and Offaly Education and Training Board (LOETB) announced the appointment this of Mr Quinn, who has taught at the school for many years. He fills the vacancy left following the retirement of Dominic McEvoy as principal.
“He is very knowledgeable about the school, its catchment area and population,” said a statement issued today by Paul Fields, the Director of Schools for the LOETB.
“He has always been a committed advocate of the school and has developed good relations with the community. His interest in local history, for example, has included joint school and community research projects.”
Paul Fields, thanked Mr McEvoy for his contribution to the school and emphasised in particular the role that he played in ensuring access to education for all students, most especially during the recent school building closure, during the Covid 19 pandemic.
“Mr McEvoy demonstrated a caring insight for all students and was so approachable to parents, teachers and students,” he said.
Mr Quinn will take over as principal from the beginning of the new school year.
His teaching experience initially involved working in different types of schools, including a year in a very challenging school in London.
For most of the time since his return to Ireland he has taught in St Fergal’s College where he has been very happy.
He states that: “Coming from a school with huge problems in a large city, the St Fergal’s students were by contrast a joy to teach.”
He says that the school has “a spacious setting, on the edge of a small town, in a green rural landscape brimming with heritage.”
He settled in Laois with his wife Joan who is also known as Múinteoir Siobhán from her time as Deputy Principal in Gaelscoil Phortlaoise.
Mr Quinn is a former President of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland and was also Chairperson of the Teaching Council.
During that time the Droichead programme for newly qualified teachers was transformed from being another form of inspection of teachers, to a comprehensive induction experience.
Droichead is now an important initial stage in a new teacher’s professional development whereby experienced colleagues provide support in a non-evaluative, positive and confidence building manner.
“I’m privileged to work with such an excellent staff who care deeply about their students and providing them with the best education possible”.
His qualifications include a Doctorate in Education conferred by Dublin City University.
Speaking at the announcement of Mr Quinn, as principal of St Fergals College, Mr Joe Cunningham, Chief Executive of LEOTB, welcomed the appointment and stated he is looking forward to working with Mr Quinn in his new role.
“He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience about the teaching profession, he is immersed in the life of the school and has he demonstrated over many years a great interest in the progress of students along a learning path that helps all reach their potential: that combination is ideal for a principal in our school at Rathdowney,” he said.
Mr Cunningham also thanked the outgoing principal, Mr Dominic McEvoy for his work and commitment to students and staff during his time at St Fergal’s College, and wished him well in his retirement.