Membership of CCEA Council

CCEA's Council normally consists of a Chairperson and 13 other members appointed by the Department of Education (DE) and includes representatives from education, industry and commerce as well as having government assessors. At present, the Council is undergoing re-constitution and it is hoped that a newly formed Council will be in place from 1 March 2021.

The Interim membership from 1 February 2021 is as follows:

Interim Chairperson

Mrs Carol Fitzsimons MBEMrs Carol Fitzsimons MBE

Mrs Carol Fitzsimons MBE is currently Chief Executive Officer of Young Enterprise NI. She is an Associate Lecturer in the Open University within the Faculty of Business and Law and is also a Scout Leader. Mrs Fitzsimons will bring to the Council experience of managing staff, operational delivery, developing strategic plans and financial and risk management. She is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Mrs Fitzsimons has declared that she has not undertaken any political activity during the last five years and does not currently hold any other public appointments.

Council Members

Dr Leslie Caul OBEDr Leslie Caul OBE

Dr Leslie Caul OBE is from Newtownabbey and has held senior positions in Stranmillis University College and over a period of 30 years has written books and academic articles on education. He has held the position of Chair of the Irish Football Association (IFA) since 2007.

Dr Caul is Chair of CCEA’s Regulation Committee. He brings to the Council experience in governance and strategic leadership and a knowledge and experience of education within the Further Education/Higher Education sector. Dr Caul does not hold any other public appointments and he has not undertaken any political activity during the past five years.

Mrs Kathleen O'HareMrs Kathleen O'Hare

Mrs Kathleen O’Hare is from Newry and from 2002-2018 was the Principal of two post-primary schools in Northern Ireland. – St Cecilia’s College in Derry and Hazelwood Integrated College in North Belfast. Mrs O’Hare is Chair of CCEA’s Education Committee, and brings to the Council experience in governance including strategic planning and a knowledge and experience of education in both the post primary and Higher Education sectors. Mrs O’Hare is on the Board of Belfast Metropolitan College where she chairs the Curriculum, Quality and Engagement Committee. She does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity during the past five years.

Mr Brian WilsonMr Brian Wilson

Brian is currently employed by the British Council as a Skills Advisor providing technical advice on thematic programming on skills and employability in the Middle East North Africa and Americas regions. Mr Wilson is Chair of CCEA’s Finance Committee, and brings to the Council experience of promoting good governance, holding teams to account, financial and risk management and influencing opinion and developing networks. Mr Wilson is also a member of the Governing Body of the Belfast Metropolitan College for which he receives a sitting fee for each meeting attended. He does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activities during the past five years.

Ms Patricia SlevinMs Patricia Slevin

Ms Patricia Slevin is a former Principal of Victoria College, Belfast and is currently a member of the Senate at Queen’s University Belfast and of the CCEA Education Committee.  She brings to the Board experience of governance, making an impact with others and strategic thinking.

Ms Slevin is Chair of CCEA’s Audit & Risk Assurance Committee

She does not serve on any other public Boards and has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.

Mrs Paula LeitchMrs Paula Leitch

Mrs Paula Leitch is a former Assistant Principal of the Belfast Model School for Girls and former member of the Belfast Education and Library Board.  She is currently a professional associate with the Controlled Schools’ Support Council and CCEA.  She brings to the Board experience of governance as a school governor and leadership as a previous Board member.

She does not serve on any other public Boards and has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.

Mrs Samantha KirkMrs Samantha Kirk

Mrs Samantha Kirk is VP of Engineering and Site Lead for Dynamic Signal, a Silicon Valley based technology firm. She brings to the Board experience of governance, digital transformation, strategic thinking and delivering improved outcomes through partnership working.

She does not serve on any other public Boards and has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.

CCEA Officers

Mr Justin Edwards
Chief Executive

Miss Noleen Kennedy
Manager, Council Secretariat, Chief Executive's Office