Profile of Directors

Alan Henry, OBE,  Chair of the NICIE Board of Directors Alan has spent 25 years working as an HR professional, including 20 years as HR director for a large public body. He is currently the Independent Assessor of Complaints for the Public Prosecution Service and a Board Member of the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration Board. He is a lay panellist for Industrial Employment Tribunals. Alan is a former Commissioner of the Equality Commission, the Human Rights Commission and the Civil Service Commission. He is a governor in the South East Regional College and a governor in Blackwater Integrated College. Alan was appointed chair of NICIE Board of Directors in December 2014.

Tim Webster joined the NICIE Board of Directors in 2012 as a trust representative for Foyle Trust for Integrated Education. He has been a Foundation Trust Governor on the Board of Governors for Oakgrove Integrated Primary School and Nursery since 1991 and has chaired the board since 1992. Now retired, Tim worked as a landscape architect, graphic designer and illustrator in the Northern Ireland Civil Service from 1973-2013.

Dermot MacCann now retired joined the NICIE board in 2012. He worked for the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulator (NIAUR) 2002-2012. He was  also a member of the Single Electricity Market (SEM) committee an all island body responsible for the regulation of electricity on the island of Ireland. Prior to 2002 he worked as a senior economist in OFMDFM, DETI and DFP. He is also a Director of BELTIE.

Eamon Quinn joined the NICIE Board in December 2014.  He has over twenty years’ experience as a manager, fundraiser and consultant within the arts and charities sectors in Northern Ireland. He has worked for organisations including Tinderbox Theatre Company, Queen’s University of Belfast, Arts Care and War on Want NI. Eamon teaches on the Arts Management MA at Queen’s University of Belfast and among his freelance roles he is the Northern Ireland Grants Advisor for Comic Relief.

Maeve Marnell  is a Queens graduate and qualified as a solicitor in 2000. She specialised in defence litigation before setting up the charity Food For Thought Africa in 2007. The charity works to overcome poverty in Africa through education and she regularly travels to Kenya to manage the charity’s projects there.

Dr Anne Marie Telford has a significant portfolio of non-executive director experience. She served as Council member of Ulster University for seven years up to 2015 chairing its Strategy and Governance Committee. Anne Marie has just completed a five-year term chairing an all –Ireland body overseeing the performance of an Institute of Hospice & Palliative care. She is currently a member of a Departmental Project Board, reporting to the Health Minister, on regulation of the pharmacy profession in N Ireland. Other roles have included Council membership of the General Dental Council, the Pharmaceutical Society of N Ireland and membership of the Stroke Association N Ireland Committee. Areas of expertise include strategic planning and decision-making, corporate governance and performance monitoring.  Anne Marie qualified as a doctor at Queen’s University Belfast. Prior to her retirement in 2009 she worked as a Director of Public Health leading the planning of many regional and local health care services in N Ireland.

Denise McIlwaine is a chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and is currently working as an HR Business Partner in her local council.  She started her career with Boots Chemist and became the Practice Manager.  She went on to become a store manager for a large department store and gained valuable retail operational experience.  She then went on to become a personnel manager in the care sector.  Denise is also a lay member for the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal panel.  She brings to the board valuable and current HR experience and advice.  She loves to travel and has visited 6 of the 7 continents.  She is an avid reader and enjoys the outdoors, walking her Hungarian Vizsla dog.

Patricia Douglas trained as a nurse in the RVH.  She qualified and was a staff nurse in the cardio thoracic and casualty wards for four years.  She then trained as a midwife and worked for 3 years in the Ulster Hospital.  After a break of 4 years, she worked as a classroom assistant in Downey House Preschool for 7 years.  During this time she completed a BA(hons) in Early Childhood Studies at Stranmillis University College – progressing on to a PGCE.  After qualifying, she secured a teaching post in the Hazelwood IPS nursery.  She served on the Board of Governors for four years and has been the teacher representative on the PTA for eleven years.

Ewa Szlachta is currently a P6 teacher at Hazelwood Integrated Primary and Nursery school.  She was born and raised in Poland and moved to Northern Ireland with her husband and two children in 2005.  She trained as a teacher at the Foreign Language Teacher Training College in Wroclaw, Poland, where she specialised in teaching English as a foreign language. She also studied English Literature at the University of Wroclaw, where she achieved a BA and an MA.  After qualifying, she spent four years teaching English at post primary schools in her home town.  Ewa has worked in the Integrated Sector for the last twelve years, and is wholly committed to the ethos of Integrated Education.  She strongly believes that it is the way forward for Northern Ireland.  However, with the current disproportion of integrated and denominational schools, there is still a long way to go.

Cathy McIver (B.A. PGCE, M.A.), is currently working on the Collaboration and Sharing in Education Project (CASE) in EA.  She is a teacher of modern languages in an integrated school, where she is also coordinator for integrated education, community relations and ‘Shared Education’.  She began her teaching career teaching languages in a post primary school in London.  She taught English at the University of Lille and in a business school in France.  She also spent a year teaching in Cambodia, in an international school in Phnomh Penh, before returning to Northern Ireland, where she has been teaching for the last fifteen years.  Catherine is a member of the NICIE Teachers’ Committee, the steering group for the ‘Big Small Stories’ project and the steering group for ‘The Moving Forward Together Partnership of Antrim and Randalstown Schools’.  She is passionate about integrated education, travel, equality and human rights.  Over the last few years she has taken part in community relations at home and abroad, working with schools in Northern Ireland, France, America and China.  She is dedicated to developing peace and reconciliation and education in Northern Ireland.

John Scott has been appointed a a schools’ representative at the October AGM.  He is from Whitehead and in 2017 completed eight years as a Department of Education appointed governor at Ulidia Integrated College, Carrickfergus.  Now retired, John has over thirty years’ experience at senior levels in the NICS and the private sector.  In both, he was responsible for managing and providing information technology solutions and services to major clients within Northern Ireland and Great Britain.  In these roles he gained significant expertise in all aspects of provider/ client relationships, financial and staff management, project delivery and planning and reviewing.

Cathal Mullaghan is a Trustee representative.  He has been actively involved in the Integrated Schools movement since 1985 and was a founder parent of Hazelwood IPS and Nursery.  He is a director on the Belfast Charitable Trust for Integrated Education.  When his children left Hazelwood IPS, he was invited to join Hazelwood College, where he is now a foundation governor.  Now retired, Cathal worked for the NI Tourist Board, serving as head of research, and then head of marketing services.  He has served as a councillor on Belfast City Council for 6 years until 2011, during which time he was a member of BELB.  His other roles have included councillor non-executive director to the Public Health Agency Board, and councillor non-executive director to the Libraries NI Board.

Helen Smyth  is an education professional with diverse experience and skills gained through research, teaching, education authority and administrative roles.  She has taught in a range of post primary schools across Northern Ireland’s distinctive system of controlled, voluntary, maintained and integrated schools, including grammar and comprehensive systems, single sex and co-education schools. Helen joined Lagan College, Northern Ireland’s first planned integrated school, in 1982, a year after its foundation.  She worked as Head of Geography at Lagan College.  At her retirement in August 2019 Helen had contributed 37 years to teaching in Integrated Education in Northern Ireland.  During that time she also secured a secondment to Belfast Education and Library Board as Curriculum Support Officer with responsibility for teacher training and resources in the Belfast area. Helen has been active in the NASUWT and was school NASUWT representative between 2015 and 2019.  She held the post of President of the North Down Association of the NASUWT, 2017-2018. She continues to actively support the work of the NASUWT. 

William Fletcher has been principal at Cliftonville IPS since November 2017. He has twenty-three years’ experience in education. Bill spent the first 12 years of his teaching career at Nettlefield PS before moving to Hollybank PS in 2008, firstly as vice principal and then as principal. Before taking up his first teaching post, he spent a year working with Community Relations in Schools (CRIS) and other cross community organisations such as Northern Ireland Children’s Holiday Scheme (NICHS) which nourished his desire to one-day work within the integrated sector. 

Amanda McNamee is the Principal of Lagan College, Northern Ireland’s first integrated school. Amanda graduated with a BA (Hons) in English Literature at Queen’s University before studying her PGCE, Masters in Education, Counselling qualifications and PQH(NI). Amanda is passionate about child centred, all ability, integrated education. Her specialisms are in pastoral care, additional educational needs and staff support and development.  Amanda has been very privileged to have worked in the Belfast Boys’ Model School, Drumragh Integrated College and Methodist College prior to gaining her SENCO  position at Lagan College. She has been the Chair of APTIS on two occasions and joined NICIE’s Board of Directors in December 2019.