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Long-time dedicated Omagh High teacher appointed principal after serving in an acting role.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Long-time dedicated Omagh High teacher appointed principal  after serving in an acting role. thumbnail Mrs Ruth Elkin, who has been appointed principal of Omagh High School, busy at her desk on which is a congratulatory bouquet of flowers. Mrs Elkin has been in the role of acting principal for some time.

AFTER many years of holding the role of acting principal, Mrs Ruth Elkin is 'delighted' to be officially confirmed as Omagh High School's permanent principal.

Mrs Elkin had been acting principal on an intermittent basis since 2010, but on Friday the announcement was made that the much-respected Omagh womanwould be taking the top position on a long-term basis.

It is a tremendous honour for Mrs Elkin who has been employed at the school for 36 years - since she was aged only 21!


In her younger days, Mrs Elkin attended Omagh Academy before progressing to Stranmillis University College, Belfast. She was then offered a job at Omagh High School and started in September 1981, initially as a Maths and PE teacher, and in 2006 she was appointed vice-principal.

Mrs Elkin is married to Mark, who is a farmer. They have three children - Katharine, who is married and is the mother of the couple's first grandchild, Joy, Jennifer who is a nurse and Richard who works at Omagh Golf Club, as well as being a farmer.

"I am very privileged to be principal of Omagh High School, and and I am delighted that the school has stability," Mrs Elkin enthused. "The school has always been a huge part of my life - I have always treated the people at this school as my family. It is always lovely to hear how past pupils are doing, and now it is their children and sometimes even their grandchildren who are attending the school.

"I have always been very happy at Omagh High School, it has always been my school and I have always tried my very hardest and will continue to do so.

"I would like to thank the staff - teaching and non-teaching - for their tremendous support, especially the great vice-principals, Mrs Susan Gibson and acting vice-principal, Mrs Gillian Quigley - we are very much a team. The Board of Governors have also been a great group of people to work with.

"I would like to thank the late Mr Bill Harper - former principal -who was a great role model for me in my career - he taught me at Omagh Academy and was principal here for several years, leaving in 2001."

Continuing, Mrs Elkin said she was determined to maintain the high standards which have been set at the school over recent years.

"We are a relatively small controlled secondary school, but we continue to produce great results. I am very proud of the pupils and have great support from their parents. We were deemed as an 'outstanding' school in previous inspections and, therefore, it is a great challenge to ensure those standards are maintained.


We will work very hard to make it happen, we won't let our guard down." Omagh High School is one of five schools currently preparing to re-locate to the new Strule Shared Education Campus by 2021 - Arvalee School and Resource Centre has already successfully moved - and Mrs Elkin admits it is a "very exciting time" for all.

"I am delighted to be given the opportunity to take Omagh High School forward for the next upcoming years and into our new premises at Strule Shared Education Campus.

"It is a great challenge and for the past two years we have been out on a weekly basis working through various issues, initially the design and planning of the school and now we are delving into the financial elements.

"These are very exciting times. Our school is 57 years old, we had been promised a new school a long time ago, but the goalposts have now moved. We are going as Omagh High School with our own ethos and identity."


Mrs Iris Clarke, chairperson of the Board of Governors, congratulated Mrs Elkin on what she described as a well-deserved appointment and wished her well in the years ahead.

"We value highly her dedication to the school over the years, are delighted with her appointment and know she will continue to serve as a fine leader at the school," she added.

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