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New Principal for Sullivan Upper School

The Board of Governors is pleased to announce that Mr Craig Mairs has been appointed to succeed Mr Chris Peel as Principal of Sullivan Upper School. Mr Peel is retiring on 31 August 2022.


Mr Mairs was born in Coleraine and educated at Limavady Grammar School. He completed his degree in 1995, gaining an MA (Hons) in English Literature and History from the University of Edinburgh. He undertook his teacher training in the North West of England, receiving his PGCE from Manchester University in 1996.


Mr Mairs has taught English, Religious Studies and Physical Education during his teaching career and for the last eight years has been Principal of Oldham Hulme Grammar School, in Greater Manchester. His career has seen him gain both academic and pastoral experience having held the posts of: Head of Year, Head of English and Deputy Principal (Head of Sixth Form). He has a keen interest in sport and drama, has coached school football and cricket teams and was the director of twelve school musicals.


Oldham Hulme Grammar School is an independent, co-educational school with 800 pupils in the age range 2-18. Under Mr Mairs’ leadership it achieved a ‘double excellent’ outcome in its 2019 Independent Schools Inspectorate inspection. In 2021 the school was shortlisted as a finalist in the Independent Schools of the Year Awards in the ‘Outstanding Response to Covid 19’ category.


Outside of school, Mr Mairs is active in his local church and enjoys cycling and reading. He is married to Kirsty and has two children (Alexandra 16 and Samuel 10).


Commenting on his appointment as Principal, Mr Mairs said: “During the interview process I was struck by the commitment of Sullivan Upper’s Governors and Management to academic excellence and a holistic approach to education which prizes the personal qualities developed through extra-curricular activities. The values of the school summed up in its motto of ‘the Gentle Hand Foremost’ resonated with me and I am very proud to be appointed Principal of Sullivan Upper School. I have been very happy at Oldham Hulme Grammar School, but my family and I are excited about the move to Northern Ireland. I look forward to playing my part in leading the school community and ensuring the success of future generations of its pupils.”


In accordance with the notice requirements of his existing post, Mr Mairs will take up his new appointment on 1 January 2023. Following consultation, the school’s two current Vice-Principals (Mrs Moore – Pastoral, and Mr Thompson – Teaching & Learning) have agreed to fulfil the responsibilities of Sullivan Principal on an ‘acting-up’ basis in the interim period.