The Laois and Offaly ETB (LOETB) has announced the appointment of Mr. Gerry Quinn as the new Principal in St Fergal’s College, Rathdowney, effective from the beginning of the new school year.
The outgoing principal, Mr Dominic McEvoy, will retire at the end of the summer. The Director of Schools for LOETB, 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.
Having taught in St Fergal’s College for many years Mr. Quinn is very knowledgeable about the school, its catchment area and population. He has 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. He says that the school has “a spacious setting, on the edge of a small town, in a green rural landscape brimming with heritage.”
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 settled in Co Laois with his wife Joan who is also known as Múinteoir Siobhán from her time as Deputy Principal in Gaelscoil Phortlaoise.
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.”
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. He is proud of this progress and is still involved in the national quality assurance of Droichead.
His educational ideas are progressive and community based with high standards and expectations for students. He states that; “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, CE 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.