Clonoe teacher Paul Lavery takes the helm for school’s historic anniversary

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A Clonoe teacher has been appointed Principal at one of the most popular all-abilities secondary schools in the Dungannon District in what promises to be its golden year.

St Ciaran’s College, Ballygawley is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and as well as opening its doors to its year 8 pupils for this historic year, it also welcomed Paul Lavery as its new head teacher.

Mr Lavery took up the top role on Thursday following the retirement of Aidan Taggart after ten years of distinguished service.

Outgoing principal Mr Taggart said: “I have no doubt that under the leadership of the new principal Mr Lavery and his senior leadership team, the school will go from strength-to-strength. On this journey, I wholeheartedly wish everyone every success.”

During his tenure as principal, Mr Taggart ensured the planning and implementation of the state-of-the-art 3G pitch at the school, flood walls being built at the entrance to the school and the securing of a specialist school status for maths and business.

St Ciaran’s College has continued to grow in reputation as one of top secondary schools in Northern Ireland for its’ academic results, sporting and other extra curricular achievements as well as strong Catholic ethos.

Chair of the school’s Board of Governors, Mrs McSorley spoke of the confidence they had in the new principal continuing the success at St Ciaran’s.

“Mr Lavery is an outstanding appointment. His experience, determination and leadership skills impressed the interview panel,” she said.

“We are confident he will continue to develop St Ciaran’s College and build on our successes. We are looking forward with Mr Lavery as principal to enhancing the school’s reputation and to continue to support the educational progress and the social development of the young people in our community.”

Mrs McSorley also reflected on Mr Taggart’s impact as head teacher. “Aidan is an inspirational leader who has raised the profile of St Ciaran’s College across Northern Ireland.

She added, “His legacy will be enjoyed by students for years to come. I wish him every happiness in his retirement and look forward to his continued connection with the school.”

Mr Lavery began his career in education 16 years ago in St Patrick’s High School, Keady, where he served as a science teacher, head of department, senior teacher and more recently vice-principal.

“St Ciaran’s College is very successful and boasts a proud history. I am clearly joining an excellent school,” he said.

“I was attracted to the position as I am aware of the dedicated staff within the school and I have witnessed first-hand the fantastic relationships between the staff, pupils and local community.”

Looking forward to the golden jubilee celebrations, Mr Lavery added, “The 50th anniversary is a significant milestone in the school’s history and development. It will provide us with an opportunity to reflect upon a rich past and look forward to an exciting future as we continue to progress.”