NEW principal of the Cope Primary School Mrs Phyllis McWilliams is on familiar ground in her new post, having spent her career to date in a small, rural school.
Mrs McWilliams was a teacher at Churchill Primary School in Caledon for 25 years, the final 12 of which were as principal.
Originally from the neighbouring area of Tynan, she started her education in the village school and then transferred to Armagh Girls’ High School, and has “many happy memories of times spent there”.
She was a regular attender at St Vindic’s Parish Church and a member of the Girls’ Friendly Society and the Girl Guides.
She said, “It was during my later teenage years while working with the Girl Guides and teaching Sunday School that I realised my future was in education and in particular that of young children.”
On completion of her A levels, Mrs McWilliams moved to Stranmillis College in Belfast to fulfil her dreams of becoming a primary school teacher and after graduating was offered a position in Churchill Primary School, where she was to enjoy many happy years of teaching.
She said, “I am now delighted, with the support of my husband and four children, to take up the post of principal at The Cope Primary School, Loughgall. My vision for The Cope is to build on the existing good practice, to ensure that the school has a warm, caring and stimulating environment, where every child is valued and where every child will reach his or her full potential.
“In my short time at the school I have been heartened by the warm welcome, support and dedication from the staff and Board of Governors.” She added, “Over the coming months, I look forward to building a working partnership between parents and school, which will be beneficial to the education of their children and in fostering positive links with the wider community of Loughgall.”
Mrs McWilliams replaces Mrs Jennifer Bartholomew, who retired at the end of last term after 20 years as principal.