A NEW principal has been taken over the reins at Ballymacash Primary School following the retirement of Mr Wes Gilmore after 18 years at the helm.
Mr Stephen Gray has moved moved up from vice principal at the school which is now in its 78th year.
He began his teaching career in Elmgrove Primary School in East Belfast before moving to Ballymacash as Vice-Principal in May 2004. He said he was looking forward to his new position.
"I am delighted to now have the opportunity as Principal to continue the work of my colleague and predecessor Mr Gilmore. Even in retirement I can still see his desire for the school to go from strength to strength" Mr Gray said.
"From my very first day in the school, I have enjoyed working with the staff, pupils and parents and I'm honoured to have the opportunity of leading the school as Principal."
The father of three children - two of whom are now at the school - says he is aware of the "importance of choosing the right school, knowing your children are having the best opportunity to succeed and that they are happy"
He continued: "I am confident that Ballymacash will continue to be a place where pupils and staff develop, achieve and enjoy. With the prospect of an extension to our current accommodation, a new all weather sports facility and a healthy enrolment both in playgroup and nursery — I am confident there are many more successes to come."
Now enjoying his retirement, Mr Gilmore reflected on the many changes he had seen, especially in the enrolment with the school being much larger now than back in 1991 when he became principal.
He said: " I have had the privilege of working with excellent children and very supportive parents in my time here as well as a very hard working and caring staff who are willing to 'go the extra mile' for the pupils.
"I am also very grateful to the Board of Governors and the PTA who have been unstinting in their support of the school and have been a great encouragement to me personally."
The retiring Principal of Ballymacash Primary Wes Gilmore wishes his successor Stephen Gray good luck.