Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST)




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. 


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.

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.


Nuala Taaffe

Deputy Director

Policy, Research

and Design

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 and coordinated continuous professional development opportunities for school leaders in both the primary and post primary sectors. In February 2019, Nuala was appointed as Deputy Director for Policy, Research and Design.

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 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 Deputy Director for Operations and Service Cohesion in October 2017.





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:


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.


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 in September 2016.  As an advisor on this team, Rory 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. In April 2019, Rory became the Acting Team Leader for Primary Literacy, and in July 2019 he was appointed as the Team Leader for Primary Literacy.  

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.

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. 


Lisa Noone

Team Leader (Acting)

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 in September 2015. As an advisor on this team, Lisa has worked extensively on workshop and seminar design and delivery as well as school-based support across the curricular area of SPHE, incorporating the revised Stay Safe programme, Child Protection, Relationships and Sexuality Education, Anti-Bullying, Cyber-Bullying & Internet Safety and Teacher Wellbeing. Subsequently, Lisa was appointed as (acting) Team Leader in January 2019. This role oversees the cross-curricular areas of SPHE and PE at 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 in 2014 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. In September 2018, Ciara was appointed to the role of Team Leader for the Primary Health and Wellbeing Team. 

Michael McNamara

Team Leader

Digital Technologies

Michael is a primary school teacher seconded from Cregmore National School, Galway, where he worked as a mainstream class teacher. He joined the PDST Digital Technologies Team in November 2016. As an advisor on this team, Michael'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, in September 2018, Michael was appointed to the role of Team Leader for Digital Technologies (Primary & Post-Primary).  

Sharon Kiely

Team Leader

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

Sharon is a post-primary teacher on secondment from Firhouse Community College in Dublin, where she taught the Business subjects, Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP), Leaving Certificate Applied Programme (LCA) and French. She has extensive professional experience across the business and education sectors. Sharon joined the PDST in 2017 as an Advisor, providing a range of supports to teachers, primarily across the Post-Primary Subjects and Programmes team. She has worked extensively on the design and delivery of professional development supports for the new Economics Specification and in the areas of Business, LCA, LCVP and School Self-Evaluation. In July 2019, Sharon was appointed to the role of Team Leader for Politics and Society, LCA, LCVP, Economics and Senior Cycle Business subjects. 

Stephen Gammell

Team Leader

T4 and TY
Post-Primary Mathematics

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 appointed team leader for post-primary maths, T4 and TY in September 2018.secondment

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  (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 since 2016, she was appointed to the role of Team Leader for MFL, Home Economics, SC English, Cultural and Environmental subjects and JCSP in March 2019.







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) in 2005 as a visual arts cuiditheoir. From 2005 to 2010 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. In 2010 she 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. In 2013, she was 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. In April 2019, 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 since 2006 working on the Forbairt and Misneach programmes. He joined PDST as a full time advisor with the Leadership Team in 2017, after a two years as a Research Associate with the Teaching Council. He was appointed as Team Leader for the PDST Leadership Team in April 2019. 

Patrick Whitlow

Team Leader (Acting)

Primary STEM

Patrick is a primary school teacher seconded from St. Brigid’s Primary School, Kildare Town, where he worked as a mainstream class teacher. He joined the PDST Primary STEM Team in September 2017. As a PDST advisor, Patrick supported schools by focusing on the improvement of teaching and learning in mathematics, science, inclusion through team teaching, school self-evaluation and the integration of digital technologies. Patrick was appointed as Acting Team Leader for Primary STEM in October 2019. Patrick now leads and manages the design and delivery of professional development opportunities in Mathematics, Science and Inclusion through Team Teaching.

Sylvaine Ní Aogáin

Team Leader (Acting)


Is múinteoir bunscoile í Sylvaine atá ar iasacht ó Ghaelscoil Bhrian Bóroimhe. Thosaigh sí ag obair leis an PDST i mí Mheán Fómhair 2020 ar Fhoireann na Gaeilge. As an advisor on the Gaeilge team, Sylvaine facilitated seminars on the Primary Language Curriculum (PLC) and supported schools with the implementation of the PLC through sustained support. She has been involved in the design of PDST webinars to support múineadh na Gaeilge and the PLC. Sylvaine was a Michael Jordan Fellowship Scholar (DCU) completing a Ph.D. on Second Language Acquisition having previously undertaken M.Oideachais san Oideachas lán-Ghaeilge (Coláiste Mhuire gan Smál) and Teastas Iarchéime, Léann an Aistriúcháin (NUIG).

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