NCLI Leadership Award

Last November, we invited nominations for the NCLI Leadership Award. This is the first award delivered through the National Centre for Leadership and Innovation and was established to honour and recognise an individual who demonstrates exceptional leadership qualities, within the school community. We were delighted with the positive reaction and the large number of nominations that were received.

On Friday, 30th January at IPPN Conference 2015, Catherine Farrell was announced as the recipient of the inaugural NCLI Leadership Award. The award was presented by Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan.

Catherine is a recently retired primary school principal of Holy Family Special School in Cootehill, Co. Cavan. This is a special national school for pupils aged four to eighteen years. The school caters for pupils with moderate, severe and profound learning disabilities and for pupils with autism. Catherine worked in the school since it opened in 1973 and become principal in 1992.

The two adjudicators on this year’s panel were – retired Supreme Court judge and lifelong activist, Catherine McGuinness and retired primary school principal and founding President of IPPN, Jim Hayes.

Catherine McGuinness, adjudicator for the competition, said, “It was an amazing experience to read all the nominations for the NCLI Leadership Award, both because of their extremely high quality and also because of their wide range. There was not a single nominee that did not deserve huge credit for the work they had done and the leadership shown. Judging was an experience that showed so clearly that, in spite of all the cuts and austerity, our education system is full of wonderful leaders”.

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