Board of Directors

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.

Directors are 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.

Jennifer Cummins

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.

Danny Haskins

Vice Chairperson of the Board

Since August 2019 Danny has been Chair of the new school ETSS Wicklow. Prior to that, he was on the board of Stepaside ETNS for 4 years and, as one of the founders of Wicklow ETNS, on their board for 8 years, including four as Chair. He is on the patronage, HR and international sub-committees. His day job is dairy farming.

Aidan Clifford

Aidan Clifford joined the Educate Together board in 2017 and sits on the education and governance sub-committees. He is also a board member of Encountering the Arts Ireland and A Partnership with Africa and a founding member of Irish Forum for Global Education and member of the Dublin City Council Culture Company Culture Advisory Panel. He represents the Department of Education and Skills (DES) on the Council of Europe Education Policy Advisors Network (EPAN) on competences for a democratic culture and the Ethics, Transparency and Integrity in Education (ETINED) committee. He is a member of the DES committee on education for sustainable development (ESD), the DES science, technology engineering arts and maths (STEAM) committee and the DES Teacher Artist Partnership (TAP) design team under the Arts in Education Charter and Creative Ireland. Formerly director and now as associate represents the CDETB Curriculum Development Unit on the Irish Aid funded global citizenship/development education WorldWise Global Schools (WWGS) consortium.

Colm Ó Cuanacháin

Colm worked as a primary school teacher and as Principal at Gaelscoil on Ghoirt Álainn Educate Together School in Cork for five years. He has a PhD in human rights education and initiated the establishment of the Irish Centre for Citizenship and Human Rights Education in St Patrick’s College, DCU. Colm worked in human rights and development for almost twenty years. He was director of Comhlámh, the Irish Association for Returned Development Workers, and also served as Secretary General of Amnesty International in Dublin. Colm has wide experience in organisational development and governance, having served on a range of boards at international and national level. 

Siobhan Mortell

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 O’Connor

Colm is principal of Cork Educate Together Secondary School. Before his appointment as principal, Colm 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

Emma Lane-Spollen has had three children at Midleton 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.

Áine Clancy

Áine joined the Educate Together Board 2020. She has also taken up a roll on the Educational Training Board Partnership sub Committee of the Board, having been a member of the City of Dublin Educational Training Board for several years. Áine has extensive experience within the Educate Together network. She served on the inaugural board of Clonturk College, was chairperson of Cabra Community College and is currently on the board of Glasnevin ETNS. Áine has been an elected representative on Dublin City Council and is currently a director on the North West Area Partnership.

Richard Woulfe

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.

Doris Abuchi-Ogbonda

Doris was an inaugural board member of Esker Educate Together National School, Lucan as parents’ representative until 2011. She is on the board of St. Andrews National School, Lucan as a Community representative from 2015 to date; and a director on the board of The Rights Platform since 2014. She has cross sectoral experiences in Legal practice; Community Development and Youth work. She also worked in child protection. Culturally versatile, Doris Coordinates the Migrant Access Programme-MAP. MAP provides support for the Inclusion of, and access to the labour market by migrants.

Matt Wallen

Originally from Colorado, Matt graduated from St Olaf College in Minnesota with a degree in Fine Arts and Elementary Education.  He taught in elementary and middle schools for 5 years before relocating to Ireland in 2002.  He completed an MA in English Language Teaching and then began working at Limerick School Project.  Over the course of 11 years working in the school, Matt took on roles as support teacher, SNA, class teacher, dance teacher and principal.  During those years, he completed a PhD in Education and Applied Linguistics at University of Limerick.  He has published in academic journals and lectured at conferences and teacher training colleges on the topics of multilingualism, intercultural education and continuing professional development for teachers.  Matt became the principal of Knocknacarra Educate Together NS, a developing school in Galway City, in 2014.