New Principal Appointed to Gairmscoil Mhic Diarmada, Arranmore Island

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Newly appointed Gairmscoil Mhic Diarmada Principal Derval Newman.

Donegal Education and Training Board (ETB) has announced the appointment of Ms Derval Newman as the new Principal of Gairmscoil Mhic Diarmada on Oileán Árainn Mhór from September 2024. She will replace Ms Mary Doherty who retires at the end of this school year.

Established in 1990, Gairmscoil Mhic Diarmada has been a cornerstone of the local community, providing young people with the opportunity to complete their second-level education while remaining close to home. It is one of two island post-primary schools in Co Donegal. As a Gaeltacht school, Gairmscoil Mhic Diarmada is currently enabled to provide educational programmes through both the mediums of Irish and English.

Derval will lead a staff team of around twenty at the Árainn Mhór school which has a student population of over one hundred students.

Originally from Clondalkin, an Irish network town in South Dublin, Derval attended Irish primary school Gaelscoil Chluain Dolcáin and Irish medium secondary school Coláiste Chilliain. She holds a degree from Maynooth University in Irish and Mathematics and a Postgraduate Diploma in Education through the medium of Irish from the University of Galway. Derval began her teaching career in her former secondary school, Coláiste Chilliain before relocating to Donegal and taking up a position as an Irish and Maths teacher in Coláiste Chineál Eoghain, Buncrana in 2009, where she was appointed Deputy Principal in 2011.

In 2019 she transferred to Coláiste Ailigh and has been working as a maths teacher while also supporting the development and promotion of the Irish language throughout the organisation. She also has experience as a placement tutor on the Masters in Education through the University of Galway, overseeing students while on their teaching placement throughout the North West and also as the Ethos Coordinator for Coláiste AIligh.

Speaking about her new appointment, Derval said: “I am deeply honoured to be appointed to the position of Principal of Gairmscoil Mhic Diarmada. This school holds a special place in the community, and I am excited to build upon its commitment to fostering academic excellence and celebrating linguistic diversity. I look forward to continuing the great work of outgoing Principal Mary Doherty in providing accessible and inclusive learning opportunities that empower our students to succeed.”

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Newly appointed Gairmscoil Mhic Diarmada Principal Derval Newman with Donegal ETB’s Director of Schools Dr Martin Gormley.

In congratulating Derval on her appointment, Donegal ETB’s Director of Schools Dr Martin Gormley said, “I am delighted to congratulate Derval on her appointment as the new Principal from September 2024. With her varied experience in education, strong leadership abilities, and unwavering commitment to student success, I am confident that Derval will bring much innovation to Gairmscoil Mhic Diarmada. Derval will make a seamless transition to the role having worked previously as a Deputy Principal. The school will no doubt miss our outgoing Principal, Ms Mary Doherty. Mary, with the staff of the school, created a dynamic and inclusive learning environment on the island that empowered and inspired students. I now look forward to the ongoing development of the school and an exciting new chapter for the story of education on the island with Derval at the helm.”

Ms. Newman’s appointment comes at a pivotal moment in the school’s history, coinciding with the opening of a new wing of the building. This expansion reflects Gairmscoil Mhic Diarmada’s ongoing commitment to enhancing its facilities and enriching the educational experience for all students. Guided by a mission to promote, offer, and support accessible and inclusive learning, the school empowers students to reach their full potential, nurturing a spirit of resilience and achievement.

Chief Executive Anne McHugh, noted “I am delighted to welcome Derval to our senior management team.  She brings a wealth of experience in the area of teaching and learning and has high expectations for students, as well as a strategic outlook in relation to school development and not forgetting a love for the Irish language and culture.”

Gairmscoil Mhic Diarmada 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, which 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.