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Blackboard Awards 2023

Fiona Keegan, St Kevin's Primary School

Subject or Primary school year: Principal
Your place of birth: Belfast
Studied at: St Mary's University College, Belfast
First job: Working in my aunt and uncle's delicatessen
What it taught me: This taught me the importance of time keeping, putting the customer first, being prepared to work hard and to take pride in my work. As it was a small local shop with regular customers, it gave me sense of community and I saw first hand the importance of
Family/status: Single
Best advice you could give someone thinking of a teaching career: Teaching is the best job in the world – as long as you truly want to do it. No two days are the same which means that you are not only kept very busy but you will never be bored!
 Do everything you can to make sure that the children in your care know that they are valued, loved and have a part to play in society. Encourage them to believe in themselves and to rise to challenges with bravery and celebrate every small win.
 Teaching is a privilege but stressful with weighty responsibility, so your wellbeing is paramount. The children in your care deserve the very best from you so look after yourself! I made it my goal to balance work and home life by not giving up my hobbies, even during the busiest of times. A good work / life balance will help you to achieve your best in and out of school.
 We tell our children to ‘listen and learn’ I offer the same advice - listen to and learn from your colleagues, teaching and non-teaching. Have the courage to inspire young minds and to grab every professional opportunity that comes your way. Teaching is the most exhausting but fulfilling of jobs imaginable. The greatest gift you will give your children is your time, your love, your humour and your unconditional support.

I am very privileged to be the Principal of an amazing school - St Kevin’s Primary School, Belfast. For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to be a teacher. I trained at St Mary’s University College, Belfast for four years where I studied Geography as my primary subject. I graduated in 1995 and was very fortunate to secure a permanent teaching position here in St Kevin’s – and I am still here…. many (28) years later!
 Before becoming Principal I taught Primary 4, Primary 2 and Primary 1, however, as I assisted with music throughout the years, I was blessed to be able to work with every child in school in preparation for their Sacraments.
 Throughout my time in St Kevin’s, I have always been keen to promote and to be involved in every facet of school life, aiming to offer our children and families every opportunity possible. I have been Drama Coordinator, Assessment Coordinator, Vice Principal and now Principal.
 As Principal, one of the many things I enjoy is the honour of working alongside our families to support and guide their children. St Kevin’s is rooted in the heart of the Greater Falls community and it is an honour to play our part in that community life. It is most definitely teamwork in St Kevin’s as I am truly blessed with an amazing staff who will always go that extra mile for the children in our care.
 Whilst I can honestly say that I love my job, my other passion is music. I am a member of numerous musical companies in Northern Ireland and believe that music and singing has, without a doubt, given me the balance, drive and energy to live my life to the full, in and out of school.

West Belfast will always hold a very special place in my heart – it is now part of who and what I am and I am very honoured and proud to be nominated for this award.

Blackboard Awards 2023