Maura Gilmore – Chairperson
School: St. Attracta’s C.S. Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo
I have been working in education since 2001, starting out as an R.E. Teacher with Chaplaincy duties in St. Louis High School Rathmines. Following a move home to my native Roscommon in 2011, the commute continued until the opportunity of a full time Chaplains post became available in St. Attracta’s C.S. in 2014. Working happily and a Mum of three, life is busy but fulfilling.
Building key relationships with students, parents and colleagues is my main objective and providing a safe place to listen and be present with those who come to me underpins all I do. I am grateful for the unwavering support of both management and colleagues who assist and work with me tailoring liturgies, organising wellbeing programmes, and placing value in the time spent with individuals.
And of course, where would I be without my own personal faith providing the very sustenance of my being…. The Lord replied, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you…. When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”
This is my fifth year on the Executive, and I look forward to working alongside a great team in my role as Chairperson, supporting the School Chaplains’ Association. I have always experienced the work of the Executive and especially Conference, to be the “well that nourishes me” and this is my way of giving back.
Pierce Cuthbert – Vice Chairperson, Conference Coordinator and Diaries
School: Killinarden CS,Tallaght
This is my 32nd year working as a school chaplain and l volunteered to join the SCA executive as l have always been grateful for the work that other chaplains have done on my behalf over the years and I thought it was about time that l gave something back!
The role of a chaplain in a school is unique but as a result, it can be quite isolating so l think it is very important that we can find support from one another in our association and clusters.
I am a very proud Cork man despite the many years l have been living in exile as well as being the father of two grown-up young men. I like all sports but consider hurling as the closest thing to Godliness! I look forward to working on your behalf on the executive over the next few years.
Shona Killeen – Membership, Diaries
Diocese: Kildare & Leighlin
School: Heywood Community School, Ballinakill, Co. Laois
I qualified as a School Chaplain from Mater Dei Institute of Education, DCU in 2012 and have been working in this privileged role for 10 years and counting! I am also Religion and English teacher with a special interest in Wellbeing and SPHE. I am nourished by the support provided to me by my school community in its entirety, especially our exceptional students, staff, management, Parents and our Patrons- The Salesians of Don Bosco Ireland.
I feel a special connection to Celtic Spirituality and both my school and our national heritage and traditions. I have completed a Diploma in Integrative Adolescent Psychotherapy and my work as a School Chaplain is guided by my interest in the Neuroscience of the Adolescent Brain, the Relationship between the Brain and the Body (Polyvagal Theory) and our our human need for Bondedness.
I use prayer and mindfulness techniques, art therapy and sand tray therapy in both my person and professional life in order to honour these areas of interest and to help address challenges such as anxiety, trauma and isolation. This is my second stint on the executive and I’m looking forward to connecting with others more closely once again and hopefully being able to do something for them in gratitude for God’s promise to us all ‘I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine’ (Ephesians 3.20).
Sarah Green – Secretary
School: St. MacDaras Community College, Templeogue
I have been a teacher for 15 years and have been doing chaplaincy for the last 3 of those. I really enjoy the diversity that the role brings. Each day is very different from the last and you can never tell what you’ll encounter. Wellbeing is the cornerstone of the new JCT and I think chaplains have a pivotal role in ensuring that the wellbeing needs of our school community are met.
Colette Colgan – Cluster Co-ordinator & Mid Year Conference
School: Firhouse Community College
I have been involved in education since I qualified from Mater Dei Institute/ Pontifical University of Maynooth, in 1992 with a B.Rel.Sc. in Education (Theory & Practice), Religious Education and History as my teaching subjects. I started teaching in the voluntary secondary system and then moved into the Vocational Education Committee school system (VEC) in Co. Louth VEC and then into County Dublin VEC.
In Riversdale Community College a school in a DEIS area I grew up and developed as a teacher and educator. We welcomed our two beautiful children into our life while I was teaching there. In Riversdale CC after being a teacher and tutor for 7 years, I took on the role of Home School Community Liaison Teacher/ Coordinator.
I completed my MA in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care in 2005 again in Mater Dei Institute/ DCU. It was not until 8years ago that I took the plunge into Chaplaincy taking up the role of School Chaplain at Firhouse Community College, part of Dublin and Dun Laoghaire ETB.
I am looking forward to serving on the executive for the first time and I hope I bring relevant experience to the committee.
Katie Kilcullen – Newsletter Editor
School: Skerries Community College
Oliver Doolan – Public Relations Officer, Website & Social Media
School: St. Michael’s College
I am delighted to join the Executive Team this year with responsibility for the Website, Facebook and Twitter.
I am the College Chaplain at St. Michael’s College, Ballsbridge. I have worked there as a Religion Teacher since 2001, and as the Coordinator and Leader of our Chaplaincy Team since 2006. As well as the many liturgical services throughout the year, the Chaplaincy Team in St. Michael’s is strongly involved in many other spiritual, social and charitable events.
In my role as Chaplain, I have proudly organised and led 14 Immersion Trips to Kenya, Ghana, Brazil and Tanzania. These trips have raised much-needed funds, as well as bringing 290 students and 30 teachers to experience the Spiritan Missions abroad.
In my role as School Chaplain, I think building strong connections with students, teachers, parents/guardians & the wider school community is an essential component, as well as providing a supportive and safe environment. The Spiritan Seven Core Values shape everything I do in school.
I am also passionately involved in beekeeping at school and at home. I am the Green Schools Coordinator and I teach Archery to students after school on a Wednesday.
I am married and we have one beautiful daughter called Freya. We live happily along the coast in Co. Meath.
Roisin McCann – Treasurer
Diocese: Kildare and Leighlin
School: St Mary’s Secondary School, Edenderry, Co Offaly.
I have worked as a teacher of Religious Education and Business Studies since 2008, qualifying in St Patrick’s College Thurles (Now MIC Thurles).
While working in Dublin I completed a resource Diploma in Counselling in schools, this was my first taste of what it might be like to work with students in a one-to-one setting. I enjoyed the pastoral side of the work in the school, helping to organise liturgies and working closely with the religious order associated with the school.
I went travelling to Australia and New Zealand in 2013 and completed a Pastoral Care and Counselling home-study course. While working in the Religion Department in a school in New Zealand, I experienced the joy of teaching the subject to students who had different cultures and traditions.
I returned to Ireland and took up employment in St Mary’s in 2017, where I was hired as a teacher with chaplaincy hours.
I have worked closely with the Care Team, which consists of Management, Career Guidance Counsellors, and members of the AEN department. I have developed a strong link with the local priest and pastoral council, introducing the Pope John Paul Awards and Papal Cross Awards to the school.
I really enjoy my role as a Chaplain, working one-to-one with students, helping them to find the answers they are looking for. My role includes working with the music department to organise liturgies for school events. The students know my door is always open and the motto I use is, in a world where you can be anything, be kind.
I am excited to join the School Chaplains Association and look forward to working with, and on behave of, other chaplains.
Elizabeth Tierney – Assistant Secretary
School: Trinity Comprehensive School, Ballymun
My name is Elizabeth Tierney and I am a Secondary School Chaplain for Trinity Comprehensive School, Ballymun. Having originally trained as a teacher of Religion and English, I have also completed training as a Counsellor and Integrative Psychotherapist.
I am the author of a journal which introduces the concepts of the Junior Cycle to the students in a dynamic way, to encourage lifelong learning and the development of life skills.
Central to my career in education has always been the formation of positive relationships with my students and all stakeholders of a school community.
I am excited to join the Executive, and I look forward to working alongside such lovely people.