Deirdre Gillespie is the Principal of St Mary’s Grammar school in Magherafelt and has been in this role since August 2011. The school was inspected by the Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI) in February 2014 and judged to be outstanding at every level; several aspects of the school provision was deemed by the Inspectors to be sector leading. This excellent achievement, along with an extensive range of validations and awards from external organisations during Deirdre’s leadership, is testament to her passion, dedication, drive and enthusiasm to make a difference in the lives of young people.
In addition to her role as Principal, Deirdre is a Director and the Vice-Chair of the Post-Primary Transfer Consortium (PPTC), Chair of the Grammar Heads Association (GHA) and an Executive Member and current President of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL). In addition, Deirdre represents Northern Ireland (NI) on the UCAS Executive Board. She is the Chair of the Magherafelt Learning Partnership (MLP), a member of Queen University Head Teachers Forum, one of a small number of accredited E-Safety Assessors in Northern Ireland and a CEOPS Ambassador. This year she was selected to be included in the ‘Who’s Who’ publication of those making a significant contribution to UK society.
Prior to joining St. Mary’s, Deirdre was appointed to the Education and Training Inspectorate as the Principal Inspector for Leadership and Management. She remained there for eight years, leaving as a Managing Inspector with responsibility for Further and Higher Education and 14-19 Development.
A graduate of both Queens University and the University of Ulster, Deirdre began her working life as Electronic Engineer, where she worked for over four years for a large American company. Her option to train as a teacher led to her taking up her first teaching post in Grosvenor Grammar School in Belfast, where she became, in time, one of the Vice Principals.
In her spare time, Deirdre enjoys spinning, golf, flying and salsa dancing.