New Carrick principal ‘looking forward to new challenge’

James Maxwell.
James Maxwell.

Carrickfergus Grammar School is set to welcome a new principal in April following the appointment of James Maxwell.

Mr. Maxwell is currently head of Markethill High School in County Armagh where he has been in post for the past eight years.

Previously, he was a languages teacher at Ballyclare High School where he started his career and an assistant head at Belfast High School for three years.

Mr. Maxwell said that he is looking forward to his return to East Antrim. Previously, he lived in Larne for 12 years.

“I love that area of Northern Ireland and I am looking forward to moving up that way again.”

Commenting on the “strong reputation” of Carrickfergus Grammar in the area, he said that he has been “privileged” over the years to have had occasion to go into the school where he has witnessed “great relationships between the staff and pupils and pastoral care” as part of an inspection team which visited the North Road school two years ago.

“Hopefully that speaks volumes. I really did have a great feeling about the school and I am excited about taking up the reins”.

He said that he will be working with outgoing principal Kieran Mulvenna to ensure a smooth transition.

“I am looking forward to a new challenge but know that I am going to a very good school and hopefully lead it on the next part of its journey.

Mr. Maxwell who teaches French at Markethill has indicated that he would like to continue teaching in Carrick saying that his “heart will always be in the classroom”.

He added: “It is important for leaders in schools to be able to lead from the front.”

The talented linguist won the UK German Teacher of the Year Award from the German Embassy in London in 2005.

In 2013, Markethill High was named as the best school in Northern Ireland for modern languages by the British Academy in London, and made it to the top three schools in the UK. Last year, Markethill High became the first school in Northern Ireland to introduce “English Mastery”, a “knowledge-rich” curriculum for English at Key Stage three.

In his spare time, he takes part in a cross-country club and enjoys participating in Saturday races.

He has a “huge passion” for mountain climbing and hiking – having scaled Kilmanjaro and other mountains in the Himalayas and Alps. He jokes that if he is not in the classroom, he is likely to be found in the Mournes.

“I am very much looking forward to the move and moving the school forward. I am very grateful for the welcome I have received from Carrick.”