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) 
  • 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.

Rachel Farrell

Deputy Director

Organisational Affairs

Rachel is a post-primary teacher on secondment from the Sacred Heart School, Tullamore, Co. Offaly where she taught maths and the business suite of subjects to all classes and levels prior to being seconded to the PDST in 2011. As an advisor with the PDST, Rachel supported schools in integrating ICT, literacy, numeracy, key skills and school self-evaluation into teaching and learning across the post-primary curriculum. In 2014 Rachel was appointed to the role of Deputy Director for Organisational Affairs which includes human resources and financial management.

Seán Gallagher

Deputy Director


Seán is a primary school Principal on secondment from Attymass NS, Ballina, Co. Mayo. Initially Seán was seconded to PCSP as a curriculum trainer for the new SPHE curriculum in 2001. He was appointed the PCSP coordinator for Physical Education in 2004 and held the position of Deputy Coordinator of PPDS with responsibility for regional structure and ICT. Since the establishment of PDST, Seán has been the Deputy Director with responsibility for ICT. 

Mia Treacy

Deputy Director

Policy, Research

and Design

Mia is a primary school teacher on secondment from St. Patrick’s Junior NS where she worked as a learning support teacher and a mainstream class teacher before being seconded to the PCSP in 2006 as trainer for the revised primary curriculum including Drama, English, Mathematics, and Learning Support. Mia was appointed Assistant National Coordinator of the PPDS in 2008. On the establishment of the PDST Mia worked as an advisor and as Regional Coordinator. Subsequent to this Mia was appointed PDST team leader for numeracy in 2012 and holds the position of PDST Deputy Director since February 2014.


 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



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:


Anthony Kilcoyne

Team Leader

School Leadership

Anthony is a post-primary teacher on secondment from Archbishop McHale college in Tuam where he taught history, geography and ICT prior to being seconded to the PDST in 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 2014 Anthony was appointed to the role of Team Leader for PDST School Leadership. He now coordinates professional development opportunities for school leaders, to include school self-evaluation. 

Caroline McHale

Team Leader

Post-primary Subjects & Programmes, LCVP and TY

Caroline is a post-primary teacher seconded from Presentation De La Salle College, Bagenalstown Co. Carlow. Caroline joined the SLSS in where she worked a generic advisor prior to being appointed National Coordinator for LCVP and subsequently National Coordinator for Business and Enterprise.  On the establishment of the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST), Caroline worked as the National Co-ordinator for Business and Enterprise, acting National Co-ordinator for Science and acting Regional Co-ordinator region 3. Currently, Caroline is Team leader for Post-primary subjects and Programmes including LCVP and TY.

Image of Pat Coffey

Pat Coffey

Team Leader

Post-primary Literacy / L1 English, LCA  & JCSP

Pat is a post-primary teacher of Mathematics and Irish currently on secondment from St Mary’s Academy, CBS, in Carlow. Since being seconded to PDST in 2012, Pat has supported post-primary schools engaging in the school self-evaluation process, primarily in the area of improving the teaching and learning of numeracy across the curriculum. In September 2015, Pat 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, and Cultural & Environmental subjects.

Catherine Treacy

Team Leader 


Catherine is a primary school teacher on secondment from St. Canice’s NS, Rosbercon, New Ross, Co. Wexford where she worked as a mainstream class teacher.  Catherine was seconded to PCSP in 2006 as a Cuiditheoir for English, Maths and Learning Support. Catherine then worked with the DEIS team for 5 years before taking up the position of Team Leader for Primary Literacy in 2012.  Catherine remains in this position to date.

Conall Ó Breacháin

Team Leader

Primary Languages

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.

Orla McKiernan

Team Leader


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 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 Numeracy.

Brian Murray

Team leader

Health and Wellbeing

Brian is a post-primary teacher on secondment from O’Carolan College, Nobber Co. Meath where he taught geography, guidance CSPE and SPHE and co-ordinated the LCA programme.  He was seconded to the SPHE support service in 2012 as a regional manager for post-primary SPHE.  Brian joined the PDST as an advisor in 2013 and has supported schools in the area of Health and Wellbeing including SPHE/RSE, mental health, anti-bullying, sexual orientation, substance use and child protection. In 2015 Brian was appointed to the role of Team Leader for Health and Wellbeing. 

Mark Finlay

Team leader

E-learning planning

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 eLearning Planning 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