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.

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.

Sandra Irwin-Gowran

Head of Education

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 is to support the implementation of the equality-based ethos in schools and ensuring that they are acting under the regulatory framework.

Adrienne Flynn

Head of Services

Since 2015, Adrienne has worked with Educate Together in different capacities. Adrienne 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.

Luke O’Shaughnessy

Communications Manager

Luke has worked for Educate Together since 2010, and is responsible for developing and implementing Educate Together’s marketing strategies, advocacy campaigns and public relations activities. Luke has an academic background in history, political science and public affairs.

Keith Mooney

Patronage Administration Officer

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. Keith has particular responsibility for the appointment of Boards of Management and the redeployment panel. Keith previously held the role of Administration Assistant.

Jessica Simpson-McKee

Administration Officer (HR, Governance) 

Jessica has been working with Educate Together since 2011. Jessica has previously held the roles of Acting Officer Manager, 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.

Saoirse McLave

Administrative Assistant

Prior to her appointment to the Educate Together national office, Saoirse McLave worked with Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin) Students Union and Maynooth University. She holds a BA in English and History, and an MA in European History, both obtained at Maynooth University.

Vera Shanahan

Primary Education Officer

Vera co-ordinates courses on Educate Together and the Learn Together curriculum in the Colleges of Education. She is involved in supporting the curriculum in the schools through inservice and the development of resources. Vera is a former teacher in the Dalkey School Project and former deputy principal in Malahide/Portmarnock ETNS.

Susana Núñez

Second-level Education Officer

Susana has over twenty years of experience in the field of education in Ireland gained through teaching and developing education programmes at primary and second level, further education, community education, as well as in the youth sector.

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.

Gerry Mc Kevitt

New Schools 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 New Schools Officer.

Jennifer Buttner

School Support and 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

Buildings Officer

Niall is a business graduate and has spent most of his working life in industry. 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.