New Principal appointed to Finn Valley College

Donegal ETB has announced the appointment of Mr Séan McFadden as the new Principal of Finn Valley College in Stranorlar, effective from 1 January 2024. Séan replaces Mr Alan Thompson who is taking up the position of Principal of the Abbey Vocational School in Donegal Town, also in January 2024.

Originally from Gaoth Dobhair, Séan has worked for Donegal ETB since 2000, after spending a year in St Michael’s Diocesan in Trim Co. Meath. He initially taught in Crana College in Buncrana for fourteen years teaching Engineering and Technology, before spending four years teaching in Mulroy College in Milford and the last four years as Deputy Principal whilst also being seconded with the JCT in the 2018-2019 academic year. During his time with Donegal ETB, he has led many teaching and learning initiatives.

Speaking about his new appointment, Séan said, “I am delighted and extremely proud to have been appointed as the Principal of Finn Valley College. I am leaving one fantastic school community in Mulroy College and joining another, it is a wonderful position to be in. I am looking forward to the challenge of connecting with the students, staff and parents and working together to build on the great work of the outgoing Principal, Mr Alan Thompson. The commitment of the fantastic staff of the school in providing excellent learning experiences for the students, in a culture of care and respect, is one that I hope we will continue to nurture and support in the years ahead.”


Finn Valley College has a student population of 450 students, including Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) students and a staff cohort of 63, including teaching staff, Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) and ancillary staff.

In congratulating Séan on his appointment, Donegal ETB’s Director of Schools Dr Martin Gormley said, “I am delighted to announce the appointment of Mr. Séan McFadden as the new Principal of Finn Valley College. Séan’s exceptional leadership qualities and commitment to educational excellence will undoubtedly contribute to the further development of the school. I look forward to a bright future under his leadership for Finn Valley College in further progressing the work that was previously led by the outgoing Principal, Mr Alan Thompson, together with the staff, parents and students.”

Chief Executive Anne McHugh said, “I very much welcome the appointment of Séan to Finn Valley College. Our mission is to offer education and training opportunities that help students to achieve their full potential and to contribute to the social, cultural and economic life of their communities. Our Principals play a pivotal role within our schools in leading the senior management team and their contribution is central to the delivery.”

Finn Valley College is one of fifteen of the county’s twenty-seven post-primary schools under the management of Donegal ETB, the county’s largest education and training provider. The ETB is also a trustee partner for a further eight Community and Comprehensive schools in the county. Over 5,600 students attended Donegal ETB post-primary schools in 2022.

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