About Us



The PDST is 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. 


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. 


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.







The 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 brings technical and pedagogical knowledge and skills to the organisation to provide a wide array of supports for schools - see pdsttechnologyineducation.ie












Senior Management  



Nuala Taaffe

National Director

Nuala is a primary school principal on secondment from St. Joseph’s NS in Killenummery, Co. Leitrim, where she worked as a teaching principal for ten years. Initially, Nuala was seconded to the PDST as a Leadership Advisor. She was then appointed to the role of Team Leader of the Leadership Team. She coordinated continuous professional development opportunities for school leaders in both the primary and post primary sectors. Following this, Nuala took over the role of Deputy Director for Policy, Research and Design, wherein she had responsibility for cross-sectoral CPD design. She also led and supported the work of the PDST Research Committee. Nuala was appointed National Director of the service in February, 2022.

Anthony Kilcoyne

Deputy Director

Digital Technologies

Anthony is a post-primary teacher on secondment from Archbishop McHale College, Tuam. 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. 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. Following this, he was appointed to the position of Deputy Director for digital technologies.

Orla McKiernan

Deputy Director

 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 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. Orla was appointed to the role of Team Leader for Primary Mathematics before being appointed Deputy Director for Operations and Service Cohesion.

Michael McNamara

Deputy Director

 Policy, Research and Design

Michael is a primary school teacher seconded from Cregmore National School, Galway, where he worked as a mainstream class teacher. He initially joined the PDST as an advisor on the Digital Technologies Team where he supported schools to effectively embed digital technologies into teaching, learning and assessment practices. Michael was subsequently appointed to the role of Team Leader for Digital Technologies (Primary & Post-Primary) where he coordinated professional development opportunities for teachers and school leaders within the key areas of digital technologies, digital planning and digital framework implementation. Following this, Michael was appointed to the position of Deputy Director for Policy, Research and Design.  





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:


Helen Van Eesbeck

Team Leader

STEM Subjects

Helen is a post-primary teacher of Agricultural Science, Biology, Junior Science & Maths and is currently on secondment St. Killian’s College, New Inn, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway. Helen worked as an Agricultural Science Associate before being seconded to the PDST Post Primary STEM team. As an Advisor, her core work has involved the design, development and delivery of a two-year programme of CPD for teachers of the new Leaving Certificate Agricultural Science specification. This involved working with teachers from all over the country. Helen was then appointed as Post Primary STEM Team Leader and has responsibility for Leaving Certificate Computer Science, Agricultural Science, Biology, Physics and Chemistry.


Rory Collins

Team Leader

Primary Literacy

Rory is a primary school teacher on secondment from Ogonnelloe National School, Co. Clare, where he worked as a mainstream teacher in a multi-grade setting.  He joined the PDST Literacy team as an advisor on this team and primarily supported teachers with the implementation of the Primary Language Curriculum and assisted schools with the school self-evaluation process.  He was also involved in the design of workshops and materials to support literacy instruction. Rory  then became the Acting Team Leader for Primary Literacy, after which he was appointed as the Team Leader for Primary Literacy.  

Shane Leonard

Team Leader 

Primary Languages

Shane is a primary school teacher seconded from St. Peter's NS, Monasterevin Co Kildare where he worked as a mainstream class teacher. He has a strong interest in the area of Language and Literacy and was initally seconded to the PDST as an advisor for the Primary Language Curriculum Team and is now Team Leader. His role was to facilitate and support schools in the implementation of the Primary Language Curriculum/Curaclam Teanga na Bunscoile through seminar delivery as well as in school support. 


Lisa Noone

Team Leader

Health and Wellbeing

Lisa is a Primary Teacher seconded from Mercy Primary School in Sligo where she worked as a mainstream class teacher. Lisa joined the PDST Health & Wellbeing Team and as an Advisor on this team and worked extensively on workshop and seminar design and delivery as well as school-based support across the curricular area of SPHE. Lisa was subsequently appointed as Team Leader for the cross-curricular areas of SPHE and PE at Primary level and then as Team Leader for the cross-curricular areas of SPHE and PE at Post Primary level.

Ciara Delaney

Team Leader

Health and Wellbeing

Ciara is a primary school teacher seconded from Attyrory National School, Co. Roscommon, where she worked as a Mainstream Class Teacher with Special Duties. Ciara joined the PDST as a Health and Wellbeing Advisor, providing support in the areas of Teacher Wellbeing, Children's Wellbeing, Physical Education (PE), Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE), Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE), Child Protection, Anti-Bullying and the revised Stay Safe programme. Core elements of Ciara's role within the team was the design and development of the Move Well, Move Often Physical Literacy Resource for Primary Schools and the Introduction to Teacher Wellbeing workshops. Following this, Ciara was appointed to the role of Team Leader for the Primary Health and Wellbeing Team. 

Niall Larkin

Team Leader

Digital Technologies

Niall is a primary school teacher seconded from Durrow National School, Tullamore, where he has experience working as a mainstream class teacher and a Special Education Teacher. He joined the PDST Digital Technologies Team and as an advisor on this team, Niall's role primarily encompassed working with teachers to effectively embed digital technologies into their practice to support and enhance teaching, learning and assessment in the classroom. Subsequently, Niall was appointed to the role of Team Leader for Digital Technologies (Primary & Post-Primary). 

Jason Cotter

Team Leader

Politics & Society, LCA, LCVP, Economics and Senior Cycle Business Subjects

Jason is a post-primary teacher on secondment from Presentation College Athenry in Galway, where he taught the Business subjects, Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP) and Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) Programme . He has extensive professional experience across the business and education sectors. Jason joined the PDST as an Advisor, providing a range of supports to teachers, primarily across the Post-Primary Subjects and Programmes team. He has worked extensively on the design and delivery of professional development supports for the revised Leaving Certificate Applied Module Specifications. Subsequently, Jason was appointed to the role of Team Leader for Politics and Society, LCA, LCVP, Economics and Senior Cycle Business subjects.

Stephen Gammell

Team Leader

Post-Primary Mathematics, Applied Maths & T4

Stephen is on from Kildare Wicklow ETB, having taught mathematics, physics and science at Scoil Chonglais for eight years. He was involved as a teacher in the pilot phase of Project Maths before joining the support service for the national roll out of Project Maths. During his time in the support service, Stephen has worked extensively in workshop design and delivery, in school-based support, in digital resource development and in developing the PDST Lesson-Study programme. Stephen was subsequently appointed team leader for post-primary maths and T4.

Mona Metcalfe

Team leader

MFL, Home Economics, SC English, Cultural & Environmental Subjects & JCSP

Mona is on secondment from Beech Hill College, Monaghan, where she taught French and IT. She has a wide range of experience and expertise in the area of learning and teaching as well as in the use of digital technologies in education. She was employed as the Web Manager of French.ie  (Scoilnet) and developed the pedagogical design of Language Quests at The European Centre for Modern Languages in Graz. She has also worked for The Education Department of The University of Limerick as a Teaching Practice Tutor for student teachers. Mona has facilitated workshops and presented at conferences for The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) in the USA and the French Teachers’ Association (FTA) here in Ireland on the use of language web-portals, avatars as a teaching tool and language quests. Coupled with this, she has collaborated with the NCCA on the use of digital tools in the language classroom. Having worked as a local facilitator for PDST, she was appointed to the role of Team Leader for MFL, Home Economics, SC English, Cultural and Environmental subjects and JCSP.







Caoimhe McLaughlin

Team Leader

CPD, Research & Design


Caoimhe is a primary school teacher on secondment from Holy Trinity School in Mervue, Galway. Caoimhe was initially seconded to the Primary Curriculum Support Programme (PCSP) as a visual arts cuiditheoir. Caoimhe worked with both PCSP and PPDS on the revised curriculum across various subjects including Drama, Music, English, Maths and Learning Support. She also supported schools with organisational planning, EAL and assessment. She then returned to school, working in both mainstream and SEN. During this time Caoimhe continued to work in teacher CPD through provision of courses through ATECI and her work as both a mentor and facilitator with NIPT. She was then seconded to the PDST as a literacy advisor supporting schools with self-evaluation, curriculum and planning. Most recently, her work with schools has been in supporting the implementation of the the new Primary Language Curriculum. Caoimhe was appointed as team leader for CPD, Research and Design.


Bernard McHale

Team Leader


Bernard McHale is a primary school principal on secondment from Clonberne Central School in Galway. He worked as a class teacher in Holy Rosary Primary School, Ballycragh, Firhouse, as Principal of Corgary N.S. and for four years Deputy Principal of ESF Bauhinia School in Hong Kong. He also worked as Principal of Ábalta Special School in Galway. Bernard has worked in curriculum development and design and in initial teacher education. He worked as a part time associate with Leadership Development for Schools (LDS) and with PDST, working on the Forbairt and Misneach programmes. He joined PDST as a full time advisor with the Leadership Team and after two years as a Research Associate with the Teaching Council, Bernard was appointed as Team Leader for the PDST Leadership Team.

Darren Murphy

Team Leader

Design, DEIS & JCSP

Darren is on secondment from Beneavin De La Salle College in Finglas, Co. Dublin where he taught Maths and Physics. Darren first joined PDST as an associate on the Maths facilitating Lesson Study. Following on from this, joined PDST as an advisor on the Maths team. While on the Maths team, Darren was involved in extensive workshop design and delivery, sustained school-based support, and resource development. Darren was subsequently appointed Team Leader for DEIS, JCSP and CPD Design.

Realtín Berry

Team Leader

Primary STEM

Realtín is a primary school teacher on secondment from St. Joseph’s Junior National School in Tullamore. Realtín taught mainstream, multi-grade and served as a Language Support teacher prior to being seconded to the PDST. As a PDST Advisor, Realtín supported schools by focusing on the improvement of teaching and learning in numeracy through team teaching, school self-evaluation, and the integration of digital technologies. Realtín was appointed to the role of Team Leader for Primary Numeracy and then became the Team Leader for Primary STEM. She now leads and manages the design and delivery of professional development opportunities in Mathematics, Science and Inclusion through Team Teaching.

Eilís Magner

Team Leader

Project Coordinator

Eilís is a primary school teacher on secondment from St. Mary's National School, Athlone where she worked as a special education teacher across all levels.  Prior to that, she worked as a teaching principal in East Galway for twelve years.  Eilís joined the PDST as a Literacy advisor where she supported teachers and school leaders with the implementation of the Primary Language Curriculum through the facilitation of national seminars and also school support.  Eilís was appointed to the role of (acting) Team Leader for Primary Languages before taking on the role of Project Coordinator.  

Melissa Campbell

Team Leader

Guidance & TY 

Melissa is on secondment from Gaelscoil Lorgan in County Monaghan. Melissa has taught at both primary and post-primary level, and has wide-ranging professional experience across the finance, education and youth work sectors. Melissa joined the PDST as an advisor, working with both the Primary Language team and Foireann na Gaeilge in supporting teachers and school leaders through contextualised school support.  Melissa was appointed to the role of (acting) Team Leader for Primary Languages before subsequently being appointed to the role as Team Leader for Guidance and TY.

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.