The role of the Board of Directors is to shape the strategic direction of Educate Together in the long term, to guide and support management performance and to monitor progress towards agreed objectives. It is fundamentally a governance role and is at a remove from the day-to-day running of the organisation.
The Board of Directors consists of 10 persons elected by members and these elected members may co-opt two more. The term of office for elected members is three years and there is a system or rotation whereby a number of directors come to the end of their term of office each year. The Chairperson of the Board is also elected for a three-year term. Persons co-opted to the Board of Directors are co-opted until the following AGM, and usually have specific skills (e.g. financial, marketing, legal, social science, human resources, development/fundraising, etc).
The Dublin-based national office is responsible for carrying out Educate Together’s role as a patron and a management body.
Chairperson of the Board
Jennifer Cummins has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2014. Jennifer was elected Vice Chairperson in 2015 and Chairperson in 2017. She currently works as the Co-ordinator of Ballymun Anseo School Completion Programme which aims to support children and young people at risk of early school leaving. Jennifer has served on several Boards nationally. She started her Doctoral research in Ethical Education in 2016.
Vice Chairperson of the Board
Since January 2016 Danny has been Patron Nominee to Stepaside Educate Together National School’s Board of Management; prior to that he was on the board of Educate Together in Wicklow town for 8 years, including four as Chairperson. His three children have attended Educate Together schools.
Chief Executive Officer
Paul has been involved with Educate Together schools for the past 26 years, as a parent, activist, board member and national representative. He was elected Chairperson of Educate Together on its transformation into a limited company in 1998, was re-elected in 1999 and 2000 and held this post until May 2001. In June 2002, he was appointed CEO of Educate Together. As CEO of Educate Together, Paul works closely with the Board of Directors to ensure that the strategic objectives of the organisation are realised and that the views and needs of the organisation are accurately represented to Government and to the public.
Aidan Clifford joined the Educate Together board in 2017 and sits on the education sub-committee. He is a member of the Department of Education and Skills (DES) Teacher Artist Partnership design team under the Arts in Education Charter and Creative Ireland and represents DES on the Council of Europe Ethics, Transparency and Integrity in Education committee and the Education Policy Advisors Network on competences for a democratic culture. Formerly director and now associate represents the CDETB Curriculum Development Unit on the Irish Aid funded development education WorldWise Global Schools consortium and the DES committee on education for sustainable development. He is a board member of Encountering the Arts Ireland and A Partnership with Africa, supports Poetry Ireland’s educational initiatives and initiatives addressing the root causes and effects of disadvantage.
Robert Cochran has been Chairperson of Ballinteer Educate Together National School since January 2013. Over several decades, he has been involved in a wide variety of projects and campaigning activities in the fields of human rights, civil liberties and equality. He has a Master’s degree in Business Administration and has set up and managed a wide range of both commercial and charitable companies. He was elected to the Educate Together board in 2015.
Caitriona first joined Educate Together in 2004, when she became a teacher and Deputy Principal of Newbridge ETNS. Caitriona is now principal of Citywest ETNS, a rapidly-developing school in Dublin 24. Caitriona is also a mentor for newly-appointed principals with the Centre for School Leadership. Caitriona joined the Educate Together board in 2017.
Siobhan has many years of experience teaching German at University College Cork. She is passionate about education in general as well as language teaching & learning. Having seen first-hand over many years the type of learner that is created by the current manner of teaching, learning and examining at secondary level in Ireland, she is delighted to channel her creative energy and practical experience to contribute to changing this for the better. She joined the Educate Together Board of Directors in 2017.
Colm is Principal of Cork Educate Together Secondary School. Before his appointment as Principal, Colm O’Connor was the Head of Geography at Ecole éuropéenne de Bruxelles IV. Colm had previously worked for 10 years in Coláiste Chríost Rí in Cork as a teacher of History and Geography.
Emma Lane-Spollen has had three children at Mildlton Educate Together School in Cork. Emma is currently CEO of the Tomar Trust. Prior to that, Emma worked for the One Foundation, and later Tusla, the Child and Family Agency on its organisational development. Through a secondment to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in 2013, Emma supported the development of the Better Outcomes Brighter Futures 2014-2020 National Policy Framework for Children and Young People.
Richard is a Dispute Resolution Partner at law firm Mason Hayes & Curran, a staunch supporter of the Educate Together Charter. He joined the Educate Together Board in 2017. Richard chairs Mason Hayes & Curran’s Corporate Social Responsibility Committee which has a particular focus on supporting educational initiatives. Richard was for many years on the Board of Management of Griffith Barracks Educate Together National School.
Martina von Richter
Martina von Richter has rich experience in the area of social entrepreneurship and impact investments. She joined Phitrust Partenaires in 2007, a leading French social venture fund. She is a highly regarded expert and advocate of impact investments within the finance community and is dedicated to teaching children about responsible entrepreneurship, peace values and life skills. She was elected to the Educate Together Board in 2014.