Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST)


The PDST was established in September 2010 as a generic, integrated and cross-sectoral support service for schools. The establishment of the organisation was synonymous with the amalgamation and restructuring of a number of stand-alone services which now operate under the PDST providing their services to schools in the context of PDST’s overall vision and mission.  The PDST is now the country’s largest single support service offering professional learning opportunities to teachers and school leaders in a range of pedagogical, curricular and educational areas.


Today, PDST encompasses a broad range of supports previously provided by a number of individual support services and programmes which include:


  • Primary Professional Development Service (PPDS)
  • Second-Level Support Service (SLSS) 
  • Leadership Development Service (LDS)
  • School Development Planning (SDP)
  • Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA)
  • Transition Year (TY) 
  • Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP)
  • Junior Certificate Schools Programme (JCSP)
  • Reading Recovery
  • Maths Recovery
  • An tSeirbhís Tacaíochta Dara Leibhéal don Ghaeilge (STDL Gaeilge)
  • National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE) now known as PDST Technology in Education.
  • Junior Cycle Physical Education, (JCPE)
  • Social Personal and Health Education (SPHE) support service.

The work of the PDST contributes to school improvement by fostering reflective practice through the school self-evaluation process and through the ongoing development of teachers and school leaders through a range of CPD models.


Amongst the priorities for the Department of Education and Skills (DES) for the coming years is the implementation of proposals to improve Literacy and Numeracy in both primary and post-primary schools. Other key priorities include supporting school leadership, school self-evaluation, assessment, ICT for teaching and learning, inclusion, health and wellbeing and post primary subjects and programmes. These priorities inform the work of PDST and are addressed through the work of individual teams across the organisation.



The aim of the PDST is to provide high quality professional development and support that empowers teachers and schools to provide the best possible education for all pupils/students.


Our mission is to support teachers as reflective practitioners by providing a range of professional development opportunities and supports that enable teacher learning, collaboration and evidence-based practice with an emphasis on:


  • curriculum and pedagogy
  • learning and teaching methodologies
  • school improvement and school self-evaluation
  • school leadership, culture and leading learning
  • pupil/student and teacher welfare
  • information and communications technology 

The overall goal for the PDST is to be widely acknowledged as an innovative, responsive and trusted provider of continuing professional development and support for teachers and schools.





PDST provides continuing  professional development and support through its team of teachers, primary and post-primary, seconded from their schools to work with the PDST. Our Technology in Education team bring technical and pedagogical knowledge and skills to the organisation to provide a wide array of supports for schools - see . The structure and roles within PDST are described as follows:

Senior Management  


Ciara O'Donnell

National Director

Ciara is a primary school teacher on secondment from Scoil Nano Nagle in Clondalkin, Dublin where she worked as a Home School Liaison Co-ordinator for six years. Initially  Ciara was seconded to the Primary Curriculum Support Programme (PCSP )in 2005 as a trainer/cuiditheoir for the revised Primary Curriculum. In 2006, Ciara was appointed National Co-ordinator  for History, Geography and Science with the PCSP. She  was  appointed Deputy Director for Curriculum and Development for the newly established Primary Professional Development Service (PPDS) in 2008. On the establishment of the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST), Ciara held the roles of National Co-ordinator for DEIS support and Regional Co-ordinator for Education Centre regions 1 and 2. Ciara became PDST’s Deputy Director for Research and Design  in 2012 before being appointed  National Director of the service  in 2014.

Martin Barrett

Deputy Director

Organisational Affairs

Martin is currently on secondment from the Cork ETB School of Music where he held the post of Deputy Principal. Martin has extensive national and international  professional experience  across the arts, culture and educational sectors . In CPD, Martin was part of the 1990's Curriculum Support Team for the implementation of then 'new' Leaving Certificate Music Syllabus  Following extensive experience as a post primary music teacher, Martin held a senior lectureship position in Music Education at Stranmillis College at Queen's University Belfast. He has been a music/educational facilitator for organisations including the Association of Irish Choirs, The Post Primary Music Teacher's Association, The International Society for Music Education and the EU Japan Fest.


Anthony Kilcoyne

Deputy Director

Digital Technologies

Anthony is a post-primary teacher on secondment from Archbishop McHale College, Tuam and has being seconded to the PDST since 2011. As an advisor with the PDST, Anthony supported schools in focusing on the improvement of teaching and learning across the curriculum, through literacy and numeracy, school self-evaluation, programme, DEIS and technology integration supports. In 2013 Anthony was appointed to the role of Team Leader for PDST School Leadership where he coordinated professional development opportunities for current and aspiring school leaders, to include school self-evaluation. In October 2017 he was appointed to the position of Deputy Director for digital technologies.


Conall Ó Breacháin

Deputy Director

Policy, Research

and Design

Conall is a primary school teacher on secondment from St. Fintan's National school in Sutton.  He joined the Primary Curriculum Support Programme (PCSP) in 2006 as a  Gaeilge cuiditheoir. Following the formation of the Primary Professional Development Service (PPDS), Conall worked as an advisor for assessment and joined the newly formed team of DEIS advisors. Conall continued to work in the DEIS context after the PDST was established and went on to join  the PDST’s primary literacy team designing and providing professional development in all aspects of literacy including school self-evaluation. Conall was appointed Acting Team Leader for Primary Literacy in April 2015 before being appointed Team Leader for Primary Languages in September 2015.  In October 2017 he took on the position of Deputy National director with responsibility for research and design.  


Annette Cregan

Deputy Director

 Operations and Service Cohesion

Annette is a primary school teacher on secondment from Manister National School, Co. Limerick where she worked as a mainstream class teacher. Annette was seconded to PDST in 2012  and supported schools in literacy and ICT. Annette worked as the Acting team leader for Literacy in 2013. She was appointed Team Leader for Numeracy in 2014 before being appointed Deputy Director for Operations and Service Cohesion in July 2015

Orla McKiernan

Deputy Director (acting)

 Operations and Service Cohesion

Orla is a primary teacher on secondment from St. Mary’s N.S. in Tallaght where she taught as a classroom and resource teacher. Orla joined the PDST in 2013 as a Numeracy advisor supporting teachers in the  implementation of  the primary mathematics curriculum, promoting an instructional approach to developing mathematical thinking and assisting schools with the school self-evaluation process for Numeracy. In September 2015 Orla was appointed to the role of Team Leader for Primary Mathematics before being appointed Acting Deputy Director for Operations and Service Cohesion in October 2017.
National Coordinator 

Anne Brosnan

National Co-Coordinator


Anne joined the PDST as National Coordinator of STEM in September 2017 with special responsibility for the Maths Development Team. She was a teacher of Mathematics in Ardee Community School until she was seconded as a Regional Development Officer to the Junior Certificate Mathematics Support Service in 2002. In 2004 she joined the Teaching & Learning for the 21st Century (TL21) project team as a research fellow at NUI, Maynooth. Upon completion of TL21 she joined the SLSS’s Mathematics Support Team. In 2008, she was appointed National Coordinator of the Project Maths Development Team with responsibility for providing professional development support to post-primary teachers of Mathematics during the national roll out of the new Mathematics curriculum. Since this time, Anne has continued to lead CPD provision for post-primary Mathematics teachers which has included the successful development of a nationwide Lesson Study programme and the annual Maths Counts Conference.


Team Leaders 


Team Leaders support senior management in co-ordinating the work of the PDST, manage a team of advisors, associates and local facilitators, which includes designing, planning, scheduling, monitoring, reviewing and evaluating professional development programmes within their remit. Team Leaders are responsible for an area of national priority.  Our team leaders and  their areas of responsibility  are as follows:


Nuala Taaffe

Team Leader

School Leadership

Nuala is a primary school principal on secondment from St. Joseph’s NS in Killenummery, Co. Leitrim. She has worked as a teaching principal for ten years and taught in a variety of schools following her graduation from Carysfort College in 1988. Nuala was seconded to the PDST in 2015 as a Leadership Advisor. This role included working on the design and delivery of the Misneach, Forbairt and Tánaiste programmes for school leaders and the One-Day Seminars on current issues for primary principals. In 2017, Nuala was appointed to the role of Team Leader for PDST School Leadership. She now coordinates continuous professional development opportunities for school leaders in both the primary and post primary sectors.

Enda Carr

Team Leader

STEM Subjects

Enda is a post-primary teacher of Science, Chemistry and ICT and is currently on secondment from St. Mary's, Holy Faith,Glasnevin in Dublin. Having been seconded to the area of STEM in 2016, he has supported schools in the area of numeracy and the senior sciences as well as  being involved in the delivery of the Amgen Teach CPD programmes over the last two years in collaboration with European Schoolnet. In November 2017, Enda was appointed Team Leader for post-primary both the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP) and the Transition Year Programme. He also leads the following subject areas: Design and Computer Graphics (DCG), Technology, Engineering, Construction Studies and Senior Cycle Agricultural Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Applied Maths, Computer Science, Economics, Business Studies and Accounting.

Anne Grills

Team Leader

Team Leader, Post Primary Subjects and Programmes

Anne is a Post-primary teacher of French and English currently on secondment from Manor House School in Dublin. Having worked as an associate with PDST in the area of MFL Anne was seconded to PDST in 2016, supporting schools in the improvement of teaching and learning and in September 2017 was appointed Team Leader for post-primary Literacy, Junior Certificate Schools (JCSP) and Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) Programmes, and the following post-primary subjects; Senior Cycle English, Modern Languages, Home Economics, Cultural & Environmental subjects and Politics and Society.

Regina Dunne

Team Leader 


Regina is a primary school teacher on secondment from St Catherine’s National School, Rush, Co Dublin where she worked as a mainstream class teacher and also in EAL support. She joined  PDST in September 2015 as a Literacy advisor. Regina was the Academic Coordinator for English Language Teaching and Learning at the Applied Language Centre, UCD from 1996-2006. She was appointed to the role of Team Leader for Primary Literacy in September 2017.

Lisa Ní Dhoinnléibhe

Team Leader 

Primary Languages

Lisa is a primary school teacher on secondment from Gaelscoil Aonach Urmhumhan in Nenagh where she worked as a mainstream class teacher. Lisa joined the PDST in 2015 and initially worked as a Gaeilge advisor supporting schools in the areas of Gaeilge and school self-evaluation. Subsequently she worked as an advisor with the Primary Language Curriculum team where she was involved in seminar design and delivery and also school support. In November 2017 Lisa was appointed to the role of Team Leader for Primary Languages.

Realtín Berry

Team Leader (acting)


Realtín is a primary teacher on secondment from St. Joseph’s JNS in Tullamore. Realtín taught mainstream, multi-grade and served as a Language Support teacher prior to being seconded to the PDST in 2015. As an advisor with the PDST, Realtín supported schools in focusing on the improvement of teaching and learning in numeracy, through team teaching, school self-evaluation, and the integration of digital technologies. In 2017, Realtín was appointed to the role of Acting Team Leader for PDST Numeracy. She now leads and manages professional development opportunities in Numeracy, Science and Learning Support.

Leanne Traynor

Team leader

Health and Wellbeing

Leanne is a Primary Teacher seconded from Lakeview Special School in Galway where she worked with students with Mild General Learning Disabilities and Autism. Leanne joined PDST Health & Wellbeing Team in November 2016 to support teachers in the revised Stay Safe programme as well as Child Protection, SPHE, Relationships & Sexuality Education, Anti-Bullying and Teacher Wellbeing. In June 2017, Leanne was appointed Team Leader for Health & Wellbeing.  This is a cross-sectoral role which oversees SPHE, Wellbeing and Child Protection at Primary & Post-Primary levels as well as Physical Education at Primary & Post-Primary. 

Mark Finlay

Team leader

Digital Technologies

Mark is a primary school teacher on secondment from Bushypark National School, Galway where he worked as a learning support teacher and mainstream class teacher. He commenced work with PDST in 2014 as a regional advisor in the area of Numeracy and ICT for teaching and learning. Subsequently Mark was appointed Team Leader for Digital Technologies in October, 2016.

Seosamh Mac an Iomaire

Ceannaire foirne


Is múinteoir bunscoile é Seosamh atá ar iasacht ó Gaelscoil Mhic Amhlaigh, Gaillimh.  Thosaigh sé leis an gClár Tacaíochta don Churaclam Bunscoile ( PCSP)  i 2006 mar chuiditheoir Gaeilge agus chuaigh sé ar aghaidh ag obair mar chuiditheoir Gaeilge / Tús Maith leis An tSeirbhís um Fhorbairt Ghairmiúil do Bhunscoileanna ( PPDS ) ina dhiaidh sin. D'oibrigh Seosamh mar Chomhairleoir Uimhearthachta don tSeirbhís Um Fhorbairt Ghairmiúil do Mhúinteoirí ( PDST ) le roinnt mhaith bliainta anuas. Tá Seosamh ag obair anois mar Ceannaire Foirne don Ghaeilge