The new principal of Straidbilly Primary School, Mrs Gillian McConnell, has high hopes for the small community-based school.
Not only is she hoping to ‘further embed the school into the local community’ but she plans to develop and embrace their mission statement: ’A learning community, moving forward together, embracing the full potential of all pupils and staff’.
Gillian McConnell, a former teacher at Dalraida Prep, took on the role at the start of term following the retirement earlier in the year of Valerie McIntosh.
Teaching since 1997, Mrs McConnell’s first post was in Oakgrove IPS in Londonderry before moving in 1999 to Dalriada Prep until its closure last year.
Speaking to the Times, Mrs McConnell explained: “I feel very fortunate to have been appointed Principal in Straidbilly Primary School. It is a absolutely delightful school and the whole school community has been very welcoming and supportive to me.
“The pupils are very happy, settled and eager to learn and it is a pleasure getting to know them. The staff – teaching and non-teaching - are very dedicated and hardworking and have also made me feel very welcome. All of this has made my transition to Principal a pleasure.
“I have many plans for the school however I look forward to developing the happy, caring and learning ethos already created and further embedding our school into the local community.
“Our school continues to thrive and grow steadily over the years and we pride ourselves in our Open Door Policy. This means prospective parents are welcome to make an appointment and come and see us in school any time.
“We also look forward to welcoming prospective parents at our Open Evening which will be held on Thursday 4th December from 5.30pm – 7.00pm. This will give the local community the chance to see what we have to offer and ask both staff and pupils about ‘life at Straidbilly’. I strongly believe that ‘Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere’ and hope that the pupils and staff will continue to join me on this exciting journey through education at Straidbilly!”