National office staff

The Dublin-based national office is responsible for carrying out Educate Together’s role as a patron and a management body. The national office is also responsible for carrying out the organisation’s Strategic Objectives, as set out by the Board of Directors of Educate Together. Educate Together’s 2019 – 2021 Strategic Objectives are available to view here:

The national office offers guidance to our schools and their Boards of Management and supports the development of the Educate Together network nationwide. The national office switchboard (01 4292500 / is manned between 09:00 – 13:00 and 14:00 – 17:00 on weekdays.

The work of the national office is organised into defined programme areas, with staff deployed to projects within these programmes according to needs and available resources:

  • Governance and Patronage (GP)
  • Education and Support (ES)
  • New Schools (NS)
  • Finance, HR and Administration (FHA)
  • Development and Fundraising (DF)
  • Communications and Advocacy (CA)
  • Representation and International Development (ID)

Emer Nowlan

Chief Executive Officer

Emer was appointed as CEO of Educate Together in 2020. She has a lifelong interest in equality and brings a wealth of experience to the role, having held a range of educational and leadership roles in varied contexts in different countries over the past 25 years. Originally qualified as a second-level teacher, Emer holds a Masters and a PhD in education. She has a long association with Educate Together as a staff member, parent and activist, and has occupied a number of key roles in the organisation since 2007. Before re-joining Educate Together in 2020, Emer led the development of the Migrant Teacher Project in Marino Institute of Education, and lectured in Equality in Education and Children’s Rights in UCD.

Governance and Patronage Programme

Adrienne Flynn

Governance & Patronage Programme Manager

Adrienne is our Governance & Patronage Programme Manager. Since 2015 she has worked with Educate Together in different capacities. In 2017 she took up her current role. She also has a number of years’ experience as a member of a Board of Management, as well as broader policy development and management experience. Adrienne holds an Advanced Diploma in Law and Education from The Honorable Society of King’s Inns and is responsible for ensuring that Educate Together can fulfil its obligations as a patron, a management body and company for its members. The programme works towards evaluating and improving the quality of member schools in order to ensure compliance with the Educate Together charter and other legal obligations.

Emily MacKinlay

Governance and Patronage Officer

Emily provides support to the Governance and Patronage programme. She has particular responsibility for the appointment of Boards of Management and the redeployment panel. Emily previously held the role of Administration Assistant.

Hannah Ingle

Governance and Patronage Assistant

Hannah has just recently graduated from UCD with a MA in Public History, with her research interests mainly being in social history and public policy. Her previous work experience is mainly in retail management, while completing her studies. Hannah’s main responsibility in the National Office is in Garda Vetting procedures.

Education and Support Programme

Sandra Irwin-Gowran

Education & Support Programme Manager

Sandra has over 20 years in the education sector including teaching at second level; teacher education and training; curriculum and resource development; policy analyst and advocate for equality-based schools. Sandra comes to Educate Together from a decade of work on LGBT advocacy with GLEN where her primary role was Director of Education Policy. Her role at Educate Together is to manage the Education & Support programme which supports the implementation of the equality-based ethos in schools and ensuring that they are acting under the regulatory framework.

Fionnuala Ward

Primary Education Officer

Fionnuala co-ordinates courses on Educate Together and the Learn Together curriculum in the Colleges of Education. She edits online and face-to-courses on the Learn Together and is involved in supporting the curriculum in the schools through inservice and the development of resources. Fionnuala has an MA in Equality Studies from UCD and is currently on secondment from Griffith Barracks Multi-Denominational School.

Deirdre O’Donoghue

Governance Specialist

Deirdre has been involved with Educate Together since 1988, when she was appointed to the National Executive of the organisation. In 1994, she became Educate Together’s first employee, initially as National Co-ordinator. Her work involves supporting the school network,  including a confidential service to principals and chairpersons of Boards of Management, aiming to ensure good practice in the area of leadership and governance. This is done through training, advice, resources, facilitations, ethos self-evaluation tool for schools and volunteering. Deirdre has worked in a number of diverse areas: accounting, media, mediation, health, law, retail and wholesale. She holds a degree in Social Sciences, a Diploma in Mediation, and is a qualified TEFL teacher. She is also a member of the INTO’s Mediation Panel.

Laura Dooley

Second-level Education Officer

Laura Dooley is the Education Officer at Educate Together. Her role involves developing the second-level Ethical Education curriculum and providing support to schools to implement it. Laura is a qualified second-level teacher and recently completed her PhD at Dublin City University. Her research involved investigating the views of second-level students on intercultural education and immigration in Ireland. Laura also holds a Masters in Comparative Literature from DCU and a BA in English and Sociology from Maynooth.

Aoife Blood

Ethos Guidance Officer

Aoife comes to Educate Together following six years at Citywest ETNS, where she was a teacher and Assistant Principal. Her role is to develop guidance for Educate Together schools in good practice implementation of the Educate Together Charter. She works across the primary and second-level sectors.

New Schools Programme

Adelaide Nic Chárthaigh

New Schools Programme Manager

Adelaide manages the New Schools programme. The programme aims to increase the provision of Educate Together school places at primary and second-level, to meet the demand across Ireland for this type of education. It also aims to ensure that school accommodation is of an excellent standard. Adelaide joins Educate Together from Suas Educational Development where she was responsible for both Business Development and their education programmes in Ireland . With an MBA from Henley Management College, Adelaide also holds qualifications in project management and public relations.

Gerry Mc Kevitt

Regional Development Officer

Gerry first became involved in Educate Together in the late 1990s, as a parent member of the campaign group which resulted in the opening of Swords ETNS. He then became involved in the national organisation as a volunteer, and later was the first New Schools Officer to be appointed to the national office team in 2007. Gerry brings his extensive and valuable experience of establishing and managing numerous Educate Together primary schools to the role of Regional Development Officer.

Jennifer Buttner

Regional Development Officer

Jennifer first became actively involved with Educate Together in 2014, as a parent member of the South Kildare Educate Together second-level campaign group, and joined the Educate Together national office team in 2016 as a Regional Development Officer on the New Schools programme. Jennifer studied Physics at DIT and Trinity College Dublin, and worked for many years in the semiconductor industry at Analog and Intel. She most recently worked for the parenting website Mykidstime, as content editor.

Niall Wall

Regional Development Officer

Niall is a Business Graduate and spent most of his working life in industry but a lifetime’s passion for education saw him join Educate Together and his drive, aligned to a sharp business acumen, has been a boon to the organisation in many ways.

Liz Martin

Regional Development Officer

Liz works as a Regional Development Officer within the New Schools team. The New Schools programme aims to increase the provision of Educate Together schools at primary and second-level, to meet the demand for Educate Together schools in areas across Ireland. Liz has worked and campaigned for various social justice and equality issues and is a Law & Social Justice graduate who has recently completed a Masters in Equality Studies.

Finance, HR and Administration Programme

Jessica Simpson-McKee

Office Manager

Jessica has been working with Educate Together since 2011. In her current role, she is Acting Office Manager. Jessica previously held the roles of Governance and Patronage Officer, Administration Assistant and Diary Secretary to the CEO. She holds an M.A. in Theological Studies from St. Patrick’s College Maynooth.

Annie Hughes

Administrative Assistant

Annie has spent time working in Zambia for African Impact as a Project Co-ordinator. Annie has a Masters in Irish History and plans to continue her education in the field of community development.

Keith Mooney

Administrative Assistant

Keith has held various positions in the private sector over the years before returning to education in 2012, completing a BA in English and Classics and an MA in Postcolonial and World Literature, both at Maynooth University.

Development and Fundraising (DF)

Bridget Dawson

Development & Fundraising Manager

Bridget manages and develops the company’s major gift investment campaign and provides strategic fundraising support. She brings experience across partnerships, marketing, communications and events; previously working at Barnardo’s in London and Global Women in Auckland. Bridget has a Masters in Management, an undergraduate in Marketing.

Communications and Advocacy (CA)

Luke O’Shaughnessy

Communications & Advocacy Programme Manager

Luke has worked for Educate Together since 2010, and is responsible for planning, developing and implementing Educate Together’s marketing strategies, advocacy campaigns and public relations activities, both external and internal. He is responsible for managing the efforts of the organisation’s communications team. Luke has a background in history, political science, international relations and public affairs.

Niamh McGarry

Communications and New Schools Officer

Niamh has a background in digital strategy, online marketing and graphic design and has completed an MA in Cultural Policy and Arts Administration at UCD.

Orla Sadlier

Communications Project Officer

Orla currently works as Communications Project Officer in the national office. Her educational background includes a HND in Animation from Colaiste Dhulaigh, a BA in English, Media & Cultural Studies from IADT Dun Laoghaire and a MSt in Women’s Studies from the University of Oxford. Orla has previously worked in journalism and advocacy.