A fresh chapter in the history of Hazelwood Integrated College commenced this term with the appointment of a new principal.
Ms Máire Thompson took up the post of Hazelwood’s fifth principal.
Ms Thompson is well known in local education circles, having previously been principal of Malone Integrated College since 2013.
She has a BA Hons in Sports Studies with a PGCE in Physical Education.
Ms Thompson has received many accolades throughout her teaching profession most recently being UK Headteacher of the Year at the 2017 Pearson Teaching Awards nominated for the award by pupils, parents and colleagues.
Her achievements have been due to her effective connection with people, energizing with perseverance and developing a culture of collaboration.
On her new beginning at Hazelwood, Ms Thompson said: “Like the New Year 8 students I too am looking forward to my new beginning at Hazelwood Integrated College.
“My approach to educating young people involves setting high expectations and instilling belief. Each child is different which is the beauty in teaching, however each child also has the right to be in an environment where everyone believes they can achieve in their own way to their best ability.”
Ms Thompson is now an Ambassador for the University of Ulster where she attended, an Associate Assessor with Education and Training here in Northern Ireland and is also Chair of the Department of Education Newcomer Inspectorate. To summarise Ms Thompson’s career path, she stated that the most significant steps were “Getting my Maths GCSE after four attempts taught me the importance of perseverance and it allows me to relate to many of our current students, then getting a first class honours was a really proud moment.
“My mother died when I was five and I suppose obtaining my degree really affirms for me that your circumstances do not define you. Becoming one of the youngest serving principals at 41 in a post primary was a significant step.
“My proudest moment as principal was when the school received the Derrytrasna Award during 2015 for Outstanding Pastoral Care in a Post Primary School.
“Today, I look forward to getting to know the students, parents/guardians and staff here at Hazelwood Integrated College and sharing in its many success stories.”
A former Physical Education teacher with a passion for sport, Ms Thompson (45), is credited with operating an open door policy.
Away from work, her time is spent with her family Harry and Gabrielle.
Meanwhile, the school welcomed 204 Year 8 students to their new beginning as they start their post primary education.