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Centre for School Leadership: Research and Evaluation Report


Identification of Newly Appointed Principals

newly appointed principal

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Centre for School Leadership (CSL)

  • Who are CSL

    Who are CSL

    The decision to establish a Centre for School Leadership on a partnership basis between IPPN/NAPD and the DES represents a new departure and presents a unique opportunity for the development of a coherent continuum of professional development for school leaders. It is the shared objective that the Centre will become a centre of excellence for school leadership and the lead provider of supports.

    The CSL’s responsibility will extend 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 will also advise the DES on policy in this area.

    During the initial phase, the Centre will have a particular focus on the needs of newly appointed principals and experienced principals experiencing professional difficulty and/or challenging situations.

    Functions & Objectives

    The CSL will
    • Lead, support and advise on a strategic framework for a continuum of leadership development for schools
    • Support, lead and coordinate professional leadership programmes for primary and post primary schools
    • Lead and manage a pilot programme of leadership development for newly appointed principals and a coaching service for serving principals encountering professional difficulty and/or challenging situations
    • Support the design, development and delivery of quality continuous professional development (CPD) for leaders utilising innovative approaches with a proven record of success
    • Foster a culture of engagement with CPD among school leaders
    • Ensure cohesion and consistency across programmes
    • Ensure adherence with DES standards for school leadership and Teaching Council CPD framework when available and if appropriate
    • Devise a quality assurance framework for the professional development leadership provision
    • Work collaboratively with IPPN, NAPD, the DES and its support services, networks and other education partners and providers as appropriate


    The Centre is being established for an initial period of 3 years following which its role and purpose will be reviewed by the Steering Group.
  • Our Vision

    Our Vision

    The vision, mission and value statements have been developed by the team following consultation with stakeholder groups and practitioners throughout the year.


    Our vision is a community of school leaders, who feel supported and valued as professionals and who have access to high quality continuous professional development.


    To bring our vision into reality CSL will ensure the provision of high quality professional development opportunities for aspiring and serving school leaders, thus improving the learning outcomes for school communities


    The Centre for school leadership’s work will be guided and informed by the values of trust, respect, collaboration, integrity, professionalism, empathy and openness.
  • Our Partners and our Steering Committee

    Our Partners and our Steering Committee

    A Steering Group (SG) which is representative of all the partners IPPN, NAPD and DES sets priorities, provides direction, support for the Centre and its Director. The role of the SG is to oversee the work of the Centre for School Leadership in the development of a coherent continuum of professional development for school leaders commencing with pre appointment training through to induction of newly appointed principals to continuous professional development throughout the leader’s career.

    The responsibilities of the Steering Group include:

    • Setting priorities and providing direction and support for the Centre and its Director.
    • Approving and monitoring the Centre’s programme of work annually in line with identified
    • Suggesting amendments where appropriate
    • Approving the budget for the Centre’s programme of work annually.
    • Administrative support for the SG is provided by Clare Education Centre
  • The Team

    Bio Image

    Anna Mai

    Anna Mai

    Bio Image

    Mary Nihill


    Mary Nihill

    Bio Image

    Máire Ní Bhróithe


    Máire Ní Bhróithe


    Anna Mai is originally from Ballymahon in Co. Longford. After graduating from St. Patrick’s College in Drumcondra in 1987, she taught in St. Patrick’s Loreto Primary School in Bray. On moving to Monaghan in 1992, Anna Mai taught in St. Patrick’s National School, Clara, in North Monaghan and in Scoil Mhuire, Gransha, Clones from 1994-2000. She became the Teaching Principal of Scoil Mhuire, Magherarney, Smithborough in 2000 where she remained until becoming Administrative Principal of St. Louis GNS in Monaghan town in 2008. Dedicated to the value of continuous learning, Anna Mai completed a Masters in Educational Management in 2009 with the University of Ulster and has been a part-time facilitator with the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) since 2006. She became a member of the Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPPN) Board of Directors in 2009. Her responsibilities on the board lie in the areas of principal advice, CPD, resource and policy development, supports for Teaching Principals and School Self Evaluation. More recently she has sat on the management committee of Partnership Schools, a joint initiative between IPPN and the National Parents’ Council. Anna Mai was appointed as Deputy Director Primary of the Centre for School Leadership in May of this year.


    Mary is seconded from her role as Principal of Calasanctius College Oranmore Galway. Mary started her career in education as a Science & Maths teacher. She was appointed Principal in St. Paul’s Secondary School Oughterard in 1993. In 2005 she was seconded as Assistant National Coordination 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. She was also involved in the production of an updated profile of school leadership in Ireland. Mary was elected as President of The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals in October 2014.


    Máire Ni Bhróithe is the new Deputy Director in the Centre for School Leadership. She has direct responsibility for the post primary sector. Máire was educated by the Loreto order, is a graduate of UCD and taught Gaeilge and Maths in schools in Bray Co. Wicklow, Carrickmacross Co. Monaghan and Leixlip Co. Kildare from 1981 onwards. She was appointed the first Deputy Principal of St Peter’s College, Dunboyne Co. Meath in 1995. She moved to Castlecomer Community School as Principal in 2002 and moved again in 2005 to become the founding Principal of Ratoath College in Co. Meath. In 2013 she became the Education and Leadership Officer of Louth Meath Education and Training Board. She is the chairperson of the board of management of the newly established Ballymackenny College in Drogheda, Co. Louth. Máire has experience working in all three sectors at post primary level.