Donegal ETB has announced that Mr Alan Thompson will assume the post as the new Principal of the Abbey Vocational School, Donegal Town, effective from 1 January 2024. Alan has been appointed to replace Ms Geraldine Diver who is retiring from the post as Principal at the end of this calendar year.
The Abbey Vocational School is the largest school managed by Donegal ETB with a school population of almost 1,000 students.
Originally from Ballybofey, Alan has worked for Donegal ETB since 1995, having initially taught in St Catherine’s Vocational School, Killybegs, before spending sixteen years teaching English, History and Geography while in the Abbey Vocational School and the last ten years as Principal of Finn Valley College in Stranorlar.
Speaking about his new appointment, Alan said: “I am delighted to have been appointed as the Principal of the Abbey Vocational School. Having spent sixteen years working in the school, I know very well how central and important the school community is in Donegal Town. I look forward to reconnecting with the students, staff and parents and working together to build on the great work of the outgoing Principal, Ms Geraldine Diver. I know that the school has a fantastic staff with the students’ interests at the heart of everything they do and I will certainly look to continue that proud tradition with their support.”
In congratulating Alan on his appointment to succeed Ms Geraldine Diver from 1 January 2024, Donegal ETB’s Director of Schools Dr Martin Gormley said, “I am delighted to congratulate Alan on his appointment as the new Principal. With his extensive experience in education, strong leadership abilities, and unwavering commitment to student success, I am confident that Alan will bring further positive and transformative changes in the development of the Abbey Vocational School. Alan will make a seamless transition to the role, having worked as Principal of Finn Valley College for the last ten years.
He continued, “I want to acknowledge the massive contribution of the outgoing Principal, Ms Geraldine Diver, who, with the three Deputy Principals and the staff of the school, created a dynamic and inclusive learning environment that empowered and inspired students. Geraldine has consistently demonstrated dedication, leadership, and a passion for excellence, which have left an indelible mark on the school. I wish to extend my heartfelt best wishes to her for a healthy, happy and rewarding retirement.”
Chief Executive Anne McHugh said, “I very much welcome the appointment of Alan to the Abbey Vocational School. The mission and ethos of Donegal ETB and its schools is one which places the student at the heart of all our plans. Central to this are our Principals who play a pivotal role within our schools in leading the senior management team in fulfillment of our strategy. We rely on them to articulate the vision in a variety of ways every day in our schools and Alan will be continuing the wonderful work of retiring Principal, Geraldine Diver as he leads the Abbey Vocational School in a trajectory which is fully student-centred.”
Abbey Vocational School is one of fifteen of the county’s twenty-seven post-primary schools under the management of Donegal ETB, the county’s largest education and training provider. The ETB is also a trustee partner for a further eight Community and Comprehensive schools in the county. Over 5,600 students attended Donegal ETB post-primary schools in 2023.