The Board consists of eight Directors, the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson. As the Centre is a joint north/south initiative, both Department of Education and Skills, Ireland and Department of Education NI are each responsible for appointing four Directors to the Board. The Chairperson and/or Vice Chairperson are appointed on an alternating basis by the two Departments. During the current term of the board commencing 1st April 2021 until 15th March 2024, DES is responsible for appointing a Chairperson and DE is responsible for appointing a Vice Chairperson.



Rosemary Steen – Chair

Rosemary Steen is Chief Executive of the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland since February 2020. Rosemary has extensive Corporate Affairs, Government Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility experience from the Telecommunications, Utilities and Business Industry Body sectors. She has previously held senior positions in  EirGrid, Vodafone, Shell and IBEC. Rosemary was a founder board member of AsIam - 


Sheila Darling – Vice Chair

Sheila Darling is a former Principal of St Mary’s High School, Downpatrick. She brings to the Board experience in leadership and governance, experience of influencing the strategic direction of an organisation and a knowledge of the education sector. She has worked in a range of educational settings in NI, Ireland and Uk for over 40 years. She previously held the position of chair in the Lecale Area Learning Community. Sheila has held senior positions in the educational sector in both SELB and SEELB. She has worked closely with Social Services in the care of vulnerable students.

Maureen Costello

Maureen Costello is a former Director of the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) in the Department of Education and Skills. She has been actively involved in the Psychological Society of Ireland, including acting as Honorary Secretary on its Council. She has been an NCSE Council Member and a member of the National Co-ordinating Group of the Progressing Disability Services Strategy (HSE).  She currently serves as the Independent Chair of the DES expert Working Group developing guidelines to assist schools in managing student behaviour in crisis situations and is a member of the Ethics Committee of the Growing Up in Ireland longitudinal study. Maureen’s previous roles include Educational Psychologist with NEPS, Principal of North Bay Educate Together School and special education teacher in St Patrick’s N.S., Drumcondra.

Dervla Tierney

Dervla Tierney is a Chartered Accountant and a member of the Institute of Directors. Dervla has specific knowledge and experience in Finance, Corporate Governance, Compliance and Risk Management. She has previously held senior positions in CRH and KPMG. Dervla is a Non-Executive Director of Wexford Home Care Team Limited and has served on the Board of Management of Coláiste Bríde, Enniscorthy and the Credit Committee of Enniscorthy Credit Union.

Jim Mulkerrins

Jim Mulkerrins is a former Principal Officer in the Department of Education (Special Education and Teacher Education Sections). Jim has demonstrated significant expertise in Special Education and Autism service delivery and Policy and outlined significant achievements in implementing significant change and reform to SEN policy. Jim has chaired numerous working groups and steering groups and has significant experience in delivery of cross sectoral projects working with the HSE, Department of Health and Department of Children at senior level. Jim was formally responsible of the executive and oversight committees of the Middletown Centre for Autism.

John Murphy

John Murphy is a former Divisional (Senior) Inspector in the DE Inspectorate for over 20 years. John has demonstrated significant expertise in Special Education, Autism and Teacher Education. John was part of the team responsible for the development, delivery and evaluation of the Middletown Centre for Autism advice and support service pilot in the South. John was a member of the OECD SEN Committee, an NCSE council member and a member of the NCSE Research Committee.

Colin Millar MBE

Colin Millar is a former Principal of Killard House Special School. He is a voluntary Boys Brigade Disability Consultant UK and Duke of Edinburgh Award NI Additional Needs Adviser. He brings to the Board experience of governance and building strong relationships with others. He has an outstanding knowledge of the demands of SEN and has a clear commitment to improving the lives of children with disabilities.

Daíthí Murray

Daíthí Murray is currently Vice Principal of St Paul’s High School, Bessbrook and a radio and TV presenter with BBC NI. He brings to the Board experience in leadership and has strong communication skills.

Dorothy Angus

Dorothy Angus was Director of Access, Inclusion and Well Being in the Department of Education from 2005 to 2012. Policy responsibilities included special educational needs, child protection and the promotion of pupil emotional health and wellbeing. Mrs Angus also held posts at director level in DFP and OFMDFM. She is currently a school governor and a volunteer with both Business in the community’s ‘Time to Read’ scheme and the NSPCC’s Schools Service. Mrs Angus continues to bring to the Board skills in the field of management, business planning and organisational and policy development.

Irene Murphy

Irene Murphy has held posts as Head of the Disablement Advisory Service (DAS) in the Trainingk and Employment Agency; Head of Special Education Team (SET) and then the Special Education and Inclusion Review Team both within the Department of Education. Mrs Murphy has worked on a voluntary basis as secretary to the Belfast branch of the National Deaf Children’s Society. Mrs Murphy continues to bring to the Board skills in the field of special education and autistic spectrum disorders.

Time commitment

The Chairperson and Directors are expected to make the commitment of time necessary to fulfil their role on the Board and any associated committees. They are expected to attend board meetings, committee meetings and other events, including any evening meetings and public occasions. The Board normally meets every six weeks, and its committees meet at regular intervals throughout the year and, factoring in the need for attendance at other events, including any evening meetings and public occasions, the expected time commitment is equivalent to:

· approximately 2-3 days per month for the Chairperson; and

· 1-2 days per month for Directors.

Board meetings and committee meetings are normally held during business hours.


The remuneration of the Chairperson is based on a daily rate of £230 (or Euro equivalent), Vice Chair £200, and Directors on a daily rate of £160 (or Euro equivalent), plus relevant travel expenses, based on DPER or NICS Civil Service rates. The posts of Chairperson and Directors are non-pensionable.