What do you do in your role? I am privileged to be part of a passionate, dedicated team that works alongside our teachers to support the education of all students and sometimes, specific students, including those with disabilities. The role is as diverse as each student and is as challenging as it is rewarding.
What are your areas of specialisation? My particular area of specialisation is in the study of Autism, how it impacts students’ learning and how they manage the world of education. This area of interest has directed my ongoing study in how best to support students to develop the skills required to navigate what, at times, can be a very turbulent sea.
What was your first job? I have always loved school. I am the oldest of seven children and my mother instilled in me a love of reading. WhiIe it was my dream to go to university, I always knew that it was not financially possible. I worked part time in catering all through high school. While still at school I sat government exams and gained entry into the civil service. Within six months I was working as a clerical officer in an accounts department earning almost as much as my father.
How long have you worked? In my twenties I took time away from full time work to have my two beautiful children. I worked part time in a range of catering roles but knew I had more to contribute. Following lengthy discussions and much research in the library, a plan was hatched to allow me to access further study. In 1995 I began two years of night school that permitted adult entry to study at The Queens University of Belfast. I graduated in 2000 with a degree in Politics and History presented by the American senator, George Mitchell who had lead the Northern Ireland Peace Talks. I followed this with a Post Graduate Certificate in Education. For three years I worked in a primary school setting until our family immigrated to Australia in November 2004. Once in Australia I realised I could not shake the learning bug and my long-suffering husband coined the phrase “born again student”. In 2006 I graduated with a Masters Degree in Education and a Graduate Certificate in Special Needs Education. For four years I worked in a special education unit and found I had a real passion for supporting struggling learners. This lead me to apply for the position of learning support facilitator in the senior school at Trinity, beginning in 2009. Nothing prepared me for the welcome I received and I continue to affirm the beautiful people I work alongside – I was home! Just over two years later, the department was renamed ‘Learning Enhancement’ and I now work with the most amazing group of dedicated staff supporting teachers and students from Prep to Year 12.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job? I work alongside teachers and leaders who care deeply about the young people they teach. Supporting a child to succeed in learning, walk across the graduation stage to collect a certificate and move on to other possibilities, is a team achievement. It truly does take a village to raise a child and I am honoured to be a member of this village at Trinity.
What specialised skills, knowledge and/or talents do you use in your work? Over the past five years I have conducted research into Resilience for a doctoral thesis. This has helped me to support our teachers as they work with students who have learning challenges to overcome. Resilience skills are needed to progress through life and are important in allowing students to access learning when they face some of the challenges that life can place in their way.
What are your interests/hobbies outside of work? Outside of work, when I am not studying, I love to read. I enjoy science fiction and anything historical. I have taken to yoga and nothing can beat a walk on the beach.
Where were you born? I was born in Dublin but lived for 22 years in a small town just outside Belfast.
What is your favourite colour? Purple
What is your favourite song? My favourite song is “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Diana Ross
What is your favourite cuisine? Definitely Indian food.
If we’re sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great year it’s been for you in this role, what would you say we achieved at Trinity? I believe that Trinity will have seen the graduation of a Year 12 cohort that is vibrant and will go on to do great things; students who have benefited from the care and deep commitment of the passionate teachers at Trinity.
When have you been most satisfied in your life? Right now. I had set firm goals for myself and while some seemed like dreams, I have far exceeded them.
Who is your role model, and why? Without a doubt my role model is my mother. She left school at fourteen and educated herself through the local library. She gave me the gift of reading and a deep passion for learning. Mum raised seven children and made sure we stayed in school, had outside interests to keep us out of trouble and encouraged a deep and abiding relationship with God. My favourite childhood memory is my mother reading us a story out of the Bible about David in the lion’s den.
What do you like to do in your down time? I love to walk on the beach, read or watch a movie.
What is your favourite family pastime? As a family we love to play board games.
How did you meet your husband, the love of your life? I met my darling husband in a swimming pool in Majorca. Three days later he asked me to marry him. We married the following year and this year, we celebrate 33 years of wedded bliss.
What do you do to keep busy? I get bored easily so I generally keep busy by staying on top of household chores and pottering in the garden. My dad calls me “Hurricane Angela”, because I do not sit still for very long.
What things do you not like to do? I really do not like queuing.
Tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your life? Getting my Bachelor degree was really the most significant for me because I am the first person from my family on either my mother’s or my father’s side, to go to university. Becoming a Doctor of Education is a personal achievement.
Tell us about a time when things didn’t go to plan. Things never go to plan when I navigate. On one of our regular holidays to France I was map reading and it took four trips around the roundabout to get out of the harbour area because I had the map upside-down. My internal GPS is broken!
What do you think is the next big thing in ICT? Microchips - either in our clothing or that can be implanted under our skin.
Tell us more about yourself; what else can you share with us? One very important moment always makes me smile when I remember it. When my grandson was three years old he held my face in his hands and said, “Nanny, if I am your prince will you be my princess?” Priceless!