New principal returns to her roots at Steelstown Primary School

Mrs. Siobhan Gillen is the new principal at Steelstown Primary School.
Mrs. Siobhan Gillen is the new principal at Steelstown Primary School.

A former pupil of Steelstown Primary School has returned to her roots to take up the role of principal.

Mrs. Siobhan Gillen was actually one of the first pupils enrolled in the school when Steelstown Primary School first opened its doors and she said she is honoured to return as the school’s new principal.

She has many happy memories of her years in Steelstown and the wonderful experiences and opportunities the school presented to all her family, friends and the Shantallow community.

And she now looks forward to giving the children and the local community the same opportunities she was afforded, providing all children with the best education.

Mrs. Gillen returns with a wealth of experience, having taught in St. Anne’s Primary School since 1988 and working as vice principal since 2003.

She has taught every age group and spent most of her career teaching Primary 6 and Primary 7 children , working hard to provide each child the best chance possible.

During her career, she has taken on various roles including ICT Co-ordinator; Head of Maths; Head of Special Needs; Pastoral Care; Parental Involvement; Personal Development and Mutual Understanding; raising the profile of the child; Child Protection, attendance and Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies, to name but a few.

Mrs. Gillen has also successfully led St. Anne’s Primary School in achieving numerous awards, including pupil leadership, voice of the child, special needs specialisms, dyslexic assessment and interventions, and Elklan Communication Speech and Language Awards.

She received a Post Qualification for Headship in 2006, and was asked by CCMS to assist as acting principal at beginning of last academic year in Ballyhackett Primary School in Castlerock.

Mrs. Gillen said she owes a lot to the dedication and commitment of the many inspirational teachers who taught her under the direction of visionary leadership of Mr. Jim Quinn.

PARENTS WOULD HAVE BEEN VERY PROUD

“It is wonderful to be in a position to give something back to the special community that gave so much to me and my family,” Siobhan told the ‘Journal.’

“I owe so much to my mother and father who have sadly since passed away. I think they would be very proud of me returning to my primary school as principal,” she smiled.

“I am certainly appreciative to Steelstown Primary School for all the work they did for my family and for the local community.

“And may I also pay tribute to my husband, Leo, who has always been particularly supportive and encouraging and, of course, to our four children.”

Mrs. Gillen is not only a native of the parish, but she actually resides in the Parish of Our Lady of Lourdes Chruch in Steelstown.

And following confirmation of her new appointment Siobhan said she has been totally overwhelmed by the support which has been shown to her.

“Steelstown boasts outstanding staff who have displayed so much dedication, expertise, commitment, professionalism and enthusiasm already,” she noted.

“And the excellent resources and modern facilities the school has to offer are very impressive.”

Mrs. Gillen that Steelstown Primary School has been “innovative and visionary in planning and providing resources and facilities to ensure that every child receives the best education in every aspect.” She also insisted that Steelstown would continue to work effectively with all partners and organisations as it has done over the years.

“Every child can be assured of receiving the highest quality of care.

“The school provides an extensive, broad and balanced curriculum and has very high expectations in terms of educating local children.

“The children’s behaviour is exemplary and respectful at all times and all staff are dedicated and fully committed to providing the best nurturing and teaching and learning experiences both in and outside of school for the holistic development of all children,” she claimed.

Mrs. Gillen said that every child should and would be afforded the opportunities to be the best he or she can be.

“It is our vision in Steelstown P.S. to make a difference and make it happen.

“From the moment you enter Steelstown Primary School you will experience a beautiful calm ethos throughout the facility.

“I have witnessed how Steelstown P.S. is the hub of the community and how much everyone expresses a great love for the school.

“I can see how every child is given the best chance in life and I realise how very blessed I am to be here and I feel particularly proud to be given the responsibility to lead this wonderful school.”