DROMARA Primary School re-opened on Thursday with its first new principal at the helm in more than 40 years.
That man is Andrew Armstrong, a Fermanagh native now living in Lisburn.
The 40 year-old steps into the shoes so ably filled for 41 years by Dromore man, turned Dromara resident, Stanley Poots, who retired in June this year.
For Mr. Armstrong the Dromara post is his first as principal, but he is no more daunted by that than he is by the inevitable prospect of working initially in Mr. Poots shadow.
Indeed, it was the outstanding reputation of the school shaped by Mr. Poots that, as much as anything, moved him to apply for the job.
“The school is in good shape and that’s one of the things that prompted me to go for the job,” he said.
“It has a good reputation, both locally and further afield, and the facilities are outstanding.”
Certainly, he said, he did not forsee making any radical changes at Dromara Primary in the immediate future.
Married with two children of his own, who attend school in Lisburn, Mr. Armstrong started his teaching career at Antrim Primary School around 1994, after attending Stranmillis Teacher Training College.
In the years that followed his roles included those of Vice-Principal at Stranmillis Primary School and Acting Principal at Newtownbreda Primary School.
Though Thursday was his first day proper in his new post, Mr. Armstrong has been looking forward to taking up the reins since his appointment earlier this year.
“I am like a Primary One pupil coming in,” he said. “It’s been a steady build-up of excitement.”
There was not, however, any of the trepidation that might be expected of a new P1 pupil, given that Mr. Armstrong has had some weeks to become acclimatised.
“Some of the local Principals have been in touch to wish me well.
“Everyone I have met so far, parents, staff and children alike, have made me very welcome; that’s the sort of friendly place it is,” he said.