Mary Nihill

Mary Nihill – National Director, Centre for School Leadership

Mary started her career in education as a second-level Science and Maths teacher. She was appointed Principal in St. Paul’s Secondary School Oughterard, Galway in 1993. In 2005 she was seconded as Assistant National Coordinator to the Leadership Development for Schools (LDS) team and coordinated programmes such as Misneach -the programme for newly-appointed Principals, and Forbairt – a development programme for established Principals and Deputy Principals. Mary was elected President of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) in October 2014. Mary is Principal of Calasanctius College, Oranmore, Co. Galway and is currently on secondment from that position as National Director of the Centre for School Leadership (CSL).

The Centre for School Leadership was established in September 2015 on a partnership basis between IPPN, NAPD and the Department for Education & Skills (DES). CSL’s responsibility extends across the continuum of leadership development, commencing with pre-appointment training through to induction of newly-appointed principals to continuous professional development throughout the leader’s career. The Centre also advises the DES on policy in this area. Its two latest publications are “A Professional Learning Continuum for School Leadership in the Irish Context” and “CSL Quality Assurance Pilot Process for Professional Learning in School Leadership”

To date, CSL has co-ordinated training for 300 experienced school principals (200 primary and 100 post-primary) who are currently providing one-to-one mentoring to newly-appointed Principals. A further 118 Principals (106 primary) have engaged in training in this current year. The Centre launched the CSL Coaching service last January and 320 principals are currently availing of it. The Post Graduate Diploma in School Leadership (PDSL) was also launched last May and the first cohort of 247 participants began in September last.

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