The newest post primary school in Portlaoise, Dunamase College, has announced the appointment of its first principal, Aoife Elster. Ms. Elster will take up her new role in March at the temporary school premises in Railway Street.
Speaking about the appointment, Paul Fields, Director of Schools at Laois Offaly ETB, stated that, “the appointment of the principal is a significant step in establishing the school within the community.
"The fact that the principal will be in place from March onwards will ensure that all of the necessary preparations for the opening of Dunamase College will be in place before the school opens its doors to students in September”, he said.
The new principal, Aoife Elster is originally from Dublin but has been living in the Midlands for almost three decades.
Her background is in science and she worked for several years in the oil industry in London before moving to Laois. She has been involved in education for over two decades and has worked in both Irish and English medium schools.
She has extensive experience in the setting up and development of new schools, having been involved with Gael-Choláiste Chill Dara in Naas from its inception in 2004 and most recently she has been the founding principal of Choláiste Ghlór na Mara, a 1000 pupil second level school in Balbriggan, Co. Dublin.
Science and mathematics are a lifelong passion, and this has been reflected in her own learning and teaching.
She has recent postgraduate qualifications in Mathematics and Education from NUIM, in association with the University of Cambridge. She also developed distance learning strategies, teaching physics in two counties simultaneously over the internet.
Her vision for education involves the widespread use of appropriate technologies and modern teaching methods. She is particularly interested in using technology to increase accessibility to additional subjects and learners. She also has a strong interest in culture and music.
She is a keen walker and walks in the Sliabh Blooms most weekends and has walked several parts of the Camino de Santiago in recent years. Aoife is married to Stephen, and has two adult children; Naomi, a cancer researcher and writer, and Ciarán, a musician and teacher, both of whom are working abroad at the moment.
Chief Executive at Laois Offaly ETB, Joe Cunningham expressed his belief that, “the appointment of the new principal is another practical step in establishing Dunamase College as a significant provider of post primary education within Portlaoise”.
He took the opportunity to remind parents that an information meeting will take place on Thursday 16th. February @ 7.30, Railway Street, for any interested parents.