from "St Michael's College and Academy - A Celebration 1921-2007",
published June 2007

hosted on

Return to book contents page

The staff

Staff 1959

Mr P J Leahy
Three staff
Mr L Walsh
Staff 1984
Staff 2006

Guidance Staff

The first Principal Teachers of Guidance were appointed in 1968 – Mr Vincent Campbell (St Margaret’s House), Mr Brendan Dorrian (St Ninian’s), Mr Peter McManus (St Mungo’s) and Mr John Mitchell (St Columba’s). The last PTs of Guidance (2007) were: Mrs Anne Brown, Miss Agnes Lennon, Mr David McIlroy and Mr Anthony Ross.

The staff in 1958-59 (from p.50)

Back row: the foreign language student, Mr J Leishman (Technical Subjects), Mr V Campbell (Art), Mr Mullen, Mr L Walsh, Mr Hughes, Mr E Mellan (Modern Languages), Mr O McGuire
Middle row: Miss K McCann, Mr H Medine, Mr J McKinley (Science), Mr J McCutcheon (Classics), Mr Farrell, Mr Harkin, Mr P J Leahy (Science), Mr Laird, Mrs D Barkey (Home Economics)
Front row: Sr Marie Celeste (Geography), Mrs M McGuinness (Maths), Miss Fulton (Commercial), Sr Eugenius, Miss D Higgins (Secretary), Sr Pauline (Head Teacher), another foreign language student, Sr Mary Campion (English), Miss M Wade (English), Miss M Doran, Sr Paul Mary

Mr P J Leahy (from p.9)

From an appreciation by Sr Pauline in 1991: Mr Leahy came, from Shrewsbury, in 1928 and gave all of his 43 years teaching to the school. He was for many years Principal Teacher of Science and became the first Deputy Head. He was among the foremost in organising and shouldering the additional hard work of removal from Irvine to the new building in Kilwinning. Mr Leahy was meticulous and competent, thoughtful and compassionate. With his passing, much of an era has gone.

From recollections by colleague John Mitchell: Packing and ferrying the school materials in 1965 was quite an undertaking. Mr Leahy was, in those days, quite a motorist: his Sunbeam Rapier (a racing variant of the Hillman Minx) could be seen every day for weeks speeding between Irvine and Kilwinning along the then new by-pass.

From recollections by Sarah Clegg (nee McQuade): His nickname was PJ. His car, being a wee puddle jumper, had the same nickname. His science room had its very own smell – a mixture of gas, chemicals, musty sponges, and a lack of fresh air. As he was the only Science teacher [in the 1930s], he taught all classes, all ages.

Memories of 3 staff (from p.31)

Mr P J Leahy was somewhat fanatical about the cars he owned. At one point, he had a classy Sunbeam Rapier and he was often to be seen at lunchtime removing stones from its tyres. Pupils were then obviously so well-behaved that neither dinner nor corridor duty was a requirement! P.J. used to shudder with dread at the approach of Miss Wade in her old red Morris 1100; invariably she drove in second gear. Maisie would roar into the car park and drive in right beside Mr Leahy's car. He blanched visibly as, with abandon, she threw open the door of her car, especially when it made contact with his precious vehicle!

Miss Maisie Wade, of happy memory, was a deeply spiritual person whose mind was most definitely set on the things of the world to come, rather than on the material universe which we inhabit. She was kind, gentle and prayerful – so prayerful that often she confused the teaching of R.E. and English. Needless to say, many pupils were happy to be spared the rigours and intricacies of Parsing and General Analysis to listen to stories of the lives of the saints and, therefore, they did not advise her of her mistake. The tale is told that, on one occasion, when she was giving Sister Eugenius a lift back to the convent from a conference at Fatima House, Coodham, she began to deliver a discourse on the joys of a good confession. So enraptured did she become that she took her hands off the wheel of the car. The prayers of Sister Eugenius are reported to have saved the day!

Miss Mary Whiston ('Wee Mary') devoted her entire teaching career to the pupils of St Michael's. She was a strict disciplinarian and was meticulous regarding the tidiness and cleanliness of her classroom. She was also a deeply religious person and many prayers were said by her pupils, both at the start and at the end of lessons. It is not generally known that she was a very generous person who, throughout her life, contributed to a wide range of charities.

Mr Leo Walsh (1910-1968) (from p.18)

“No more wine? Then we'll push back chairs and talk.” (Browning)

Former pupils of the 1950s and 1960s will be familiar with this quotation from Browning which accompanied Former Pupil News in the School Magazines of that era – news which was faithfully research-ed and compiled by Leo Walsh.

Leo Walsh, a former pupil of the school, taught Mathematics in St Michael's from 1948-68 and during his twenty years in Irvine and Kilwinning, he distinguished himself by his loyalty and dedication. It was he who commissioned the Christmas Crib for which he paid half and for which he fund-raised for the remaining half. His wife, Bessie (nee Shanks), donated the school organ in his memory. It was also he who campaigned for staff and pupils to be given a half holiday on the Feast of St Michael (29th September). This happy custom came to an end with the advent of Strathclyde Region in 1975.

John Walsh, the son of Leo and Bessie, a former pupil and member of staff of St Michael's, and appointed PT Computing in St Matthew’s, has put all the twelve St Michael's school magazines produced in the years 1957-64 and in 1966, 1968, 1977 and 1990 on a CD, being sold in aid of SCIAF and the Ecuador Mission of Father Martin Chambers, raising several hundred pounds for these worthwhile causes. Details of how to buy one are on our main page.

The staff in 1984 (from p.16b)

Back Row: Hunter Dewar (Tech.), Jim Aitken (Tech.), Brian McNulty (Maths) , Alan Mousley (Chem.), David Cush (Music), June Richmond (Remedial), Marion Quinn (Secy), Joan McCutcheon (Secy), David McSorley (Chem.), Alan Ritchie (Chem), Andrew Herbert (technician), Eric Kolonko (A.V.A.), Willie Monaghan (Maths), Jim Jenkins (Eng.), Bernard Walsh (Phys.), Robert Barr (technician), Paul Dorrian (Geog.)
Second Row: Sr Bernadette (Fr.), Gillian Macfarlane (Eng.), Eleanor Steel (Geog.), Luisa (Span. Asst.), Anne Callaghan (Mod. Lang.), Maureen Davie (Remedial), Bob Smith (Art), Jim Coxhead (Biol.), Tom Murphy (Bus. Stud.), Stephen O'Connell (Maths), Jim Vernon (P.E.), Michael Davis (Librarian), Brian Garvie (Maths), Harry Merrick (Maths/Comp)
Third Row: Rita Paul (H.E.), Janice Carson (Bus. Stud.), Patricia Byrne (Bus. Stud.), Margaret Mary Dorrian (H.E.), Marie King (Hist./Classical Stud.), Rose Ann Mitchell (Eng.), Jackie Yuill (Art), Sharon Stirling (Art), Frances Murphy (Hist.), Donald McPherson (Phys.), John Walsh (Biol.)
Fourth Row: Jean Lamb (Maths), Margaret McDonald (Eng.), Helen Marie Fitzpatrick (R.E.), Christine Murphy (Eng.), Angela O'Neill (Eng.), Stephania Rodgers (Fr.), Anne Brown (P.E.), Mary McCourt (Mod. Lang.), Dorothy Penno (H.E.), Mary Gallacher (technician), Agnes Lennon (Mod.Stud.), Ken McClure (Chem.), Mrs Hemming (H.E.)
Front Row: Tom Nellany (Art), Campbell Cassidy (Eng.), Helen Convery (Geog.), Brian Lobodzinski (Mod. Stud.), John Mitchell (A.H.T.), Ken McKinlay (A.H.T.), Peter Maxwell (D.H.), Jim McCutcheon (Rector), Charlie Scullion (A.H.T.), Johnny Leishman (Tech.), Anna Adamson (Music), Susan Anderson (Biol.), Ian J Dickson (Classics), Tom Malkin (Phys.), Sr Dominic Savio C.P. (Hist.)
Not in picture: Gus Walsh (Maths), David McIlroy (P.E.), Andrew Haddow (Music)

Our current longest-serving staff - as in the school's last year, 2006-07 (from p.80)

The current staff member clocking up the longest continuous service (apart from one month) is Mr Andrew Herbert, who arrived as a trainee lab technician in 1969. In 1972 he became full-time assistant to Eric Cairney, and in 1975 was appointed Senior Technician.

Two teachers are about to com-plete an unbroken 36 years. Mr John McLaughlin arrived as a Modern Languages teacher in 1971, soon moving up to PT Spanish, later to PT Modern Languages. He took the S1/S2 football for seven years. Among the staff, he is known for his Delphic utterances of great wisdom, and for his advice at the pool table, and has in recent years applied his charm to chairing the termly informal staff meetings.

Mr Ian Dickson also arrived in 1971, appointed as PT Classics. As well as teaching Latin, Greek, Classical Studies, Computing and Information Systems, he has also organised many Classics trips, run the Tuck Shop (for 6 years), the school newspaper (for 6 years), the Drama Club (for 25 years) and the School Fund (for 15 years). He also organised two pantomimes in the 1980s and has helped to stage the recent series of musicals. Another recent success was creating the web link which enabled pupils and staff at home to follow, day by day, the progress and impressions of our staff and pupils during their 2005 visit to Malawi. He now ends his career by devoting time and energy to the preparation of this book and to the final St Michael’s musical.

Mrs Rose Ann Mitchell, who started teaching at St Michael’s in 1970, is the staff member with the longest broken service – 27 years (1970-74 and 1984-2007). Now, as Principal Teacher of English, she is very proud of her team – Mr J Jenkins, Mrs J McClung, Mrs G Malkin, Mrs M Morrow, Mrs F O’Neill, and Mrs A Shiells, for their friendship and their hard work together.

Many other staff have long service, but we will mention here only those who are about to complete 34 years at St Michael’s. FOUR of the present staff arrived in 1973 – Mrs S Anderson (now Mrs Deeming), Miss A Callaghan (now Mrs Brown), Miss A Lennon, and Mr A Mousley (all the way from Liverpool, bringing with him not only his cricket and football preferences, but also his son, Mr J Mousley, who is now on our staff); Mr A Mousley has now for some years served as one of our Depute Heads.

The staff in 2006 (the last staff photo) (from p.100)

Back row: Mr I J Dickson (PT Classics; Computing), Mr J Mousley (Pupil Support), Mr P Blair (Maths), Mr A Bancewicz (PT Chemistry), Mr L Hornby (PT P.E.), Mrs R Anderson (PT Computing), Mr T Hume (IT technician)
Second Back row: Mrs J McClung (English), Mr D McIlroy (PT Guidance), Mr T Malkin (PT Physics), Mr P Carmichael (PT History), Mr A Ritchie (Physics), Mr J Jenkins (English), Mr J Coxhead (Biology), Mr A Latta (Mod. Lang.), Mr A McGuigan (PT Geography), Mr P Semple (Chemistry), Mr J McLaughlin (PT Mod. Lang.), Mrs C Day (Maths), Mrs H McTurk (Maths), Miss S Hefron (Maths), Mrs M Boyle (Classroom Assistant)
Middle row: Mrs A Frow (Home Economics), Mrs J Forrest (nee Ritchie) Mr T Ross (PT Guidance), Miss B McFadden (Maths), Mrs A Shiells (English), Mrs P Daly (nee Vogwell) (Music), Mrs I Betteley (AVA technician), Mr A Herbert (Senior Technician), Mrs J McNicoll (Maths), Mrs G Malkin (English), Mrs M McArthur (nee McCourt) (Mod. Lang.), Mrs A McCabe (Geography), Mrs F O’Neill (English), Mrs C Gallacher (Pupil Support), Miss L McCormack (Art & Design), Mrs E Harvie (Classroom Assistant)
Second front row: Mrs P Fitzsimmons (Classroom Assistant), Miss L Jepson (Art & Design), Mrs M King (PT Pupil Support), Mrs M T Hughes (Admin. Asst., Office), Mrs A Cunningham (Sen. Clerical, Office), Miss A McNicol (Librarian), Mrs R A Mitchell (PT English), Miss T Donnelly (Business Studies), Mrs J Reid (Maths), Mrs J Stewart (nee Fleeting) (P.E.), Mrs J Lindsay (office), Miss M O’Donnell (Acting PT R.E.), Mrs S Clark (P.E.), Mrs S Deeming (PT Biology), Mrs A Brown (PT Guidance), Mrs J Hemming (PT Home Economics)
Front row: Mrs A Lunardi (History), Mrs C Shields (Technical Subjects), Mrs W Dorrian (P.E.), Mrs M Tomlinson (Mod. Lang.), Mr A Mousley (Depute H.T.), Mr B McCabe (Depute H.T.), Mr E Allan (Head Teacher), Mr M Docherty (PT Maths), Mr R Johnstone (Depute H.T.), Mrs J Buchert (Mod. Lang.), Mrs T Ferrier (Classroom Assistant), Mrs K Malkani (Art & Design), Miss A Lennon (PT Guidance)
Among those not present are Mr B Walsh (PT R.E., retired), Mr J Aitken & Mr I McCulloch (Technical), Mr J Lynn (Tech. Asst.), Mr R Sheerins (PT Art & Design), Mrs D Goss (PT Music), Mrs S Taylor (PT Mod. Stud.), Mr T Murphy (PT Bus. Stud.), Mr G Ritchie (retired), and janitors Mr D Duffy and Mr T Thompson. [Courtesy of Tempest Photography]

Return to main book contents page 
return to top of page