Clady primary school stole principal’s heart

AFTER four decades in the teaching profession, Colette Maguire is now retiring as principal from St Columba’s Primary School in Clady –the school where she kicked off her impressive career.

With a “passion and enthusiasm” for teaching, the Castlederg native first stepped through the doors of St Columba’s in 1975 as a nervous student teacher.

“Little did I think when I was doing my teaching practice that I would end up here as principal,” she said.

But it wasn’t a straight route to the Clady school for Mrs Maguire, after graduating from St Mary’s University, Belfast in 1979 she was keen to travel before settling back close to home. 

Landing her first teaching job in a London secondary school, Mrs Maguire stayed there for a number of years before moving back to Tyrone for a post in St Joseph’s Primary School, Plumbridge. 

But, it wasn’t long before she was off again and this time she was headed stateside, ironically working in an American school called St Columba’s for four years. 

However with her heart firmly rooted at home and having spent several years working abroad, Mrs Maguire soon returned back to Ireland where she has spent the last 28 years teaching in the Clady school, becoming principal in 2001.

“It’s been an amazing place to work for the past 28 years. I’m going to miss the day to day little things, every day is special here. 

“I will especially miss the children because they made me smile, laugh and I was proud of every single one of them,” said the P3/4 teacher.

“But St Columba’s will continue to go from strength to strength because it has a wonderful school community, and I speak with pride of the success and progress the school has made because of the efforts of everyone.” 

In just a few short weeks’ time, Mrs Maguire will be leaving the Clady school but she is also looking forward to “taking it easy”, spending time with family and friends.

Looking back at her “special time” at the school, Mrs Maguire said she is “grateful” to the entire Clady community for their support over the years.

“I’m am indebted to and would like to thank the governors who trusted me with this role 18 years ago and have supported me ever since. 

“I want to thank the staff for their commitment and hard work, they are all my dear friends and have made my work a lot easier.

“A special word of thanks to Paula McCool, vice principal, who has been a tower of support to me. I would also like to express my gratitude to all the parents, many of whom are former students of mine, for their support over the years.”


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