CSSC staff

The staff of the Controlled Schools’ Support Council (CSSC) have a wealth of expertise from a range of sectors. Led by Chief Executive Mark Baker, the teams will cover education; marketing, research and communication; and corporate services. 

  • Mark Baker photo

    Mark Baker

    Chief Executive

    Mark has joined CSSC after 6 years working for the Education Authority, the last 4 as an Assistant Director in Education. He has significant experience in the area of collaboration and shared education, having worked as part of the award winning Queen’s University team that developed the programme in Northern Ireland and internationally.

    He is an English language teacher and has managed schools around the world.

  • Shane McCurdy

    Shane McCurdy

    Head of Corporate Services

    Shane is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy.

    He was Chief Executive of the North Eastern Education and Library Board prior to its dissolution, having previously been its Chief Finance Officer and was the Interim Head of Finance of the Education Authority on its establishment.

  • Arlene McPhillips

    Arlene McPhillips

    Head of Marketing, Research and Communication

    Arlene has over 20 years of experience in public sector communications, including working as a Campaigns and Stakeholder Manager (NI) with the Cabinet Office to support local delivery of the Prime Minister’s priority campaigns. Previously, Arlene worked with researchers, policy experts, national and local government departments, public health schools, academic institutions and community organisations to communicate key messages to inform public policy to support healthier populations in Northern Ireland and Ireland.

    Arlene is an Accredited Member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and former Chair of CIPR NI. Arlene is also an advisory group member with the Northern Ireland Public Sector Communications Forum, working to raise professional standards in public sector communications.

  • Jayne Miller

    Jayne Millar

    Head of Education Support

    Joining CSSC was the perfect fit for Jayne, a Stranmillis graduate.  A former teacher and Vice Principal, Jayne joined the NEELB in 2002 gaining experience as Primary Officer and Assistant Senior Education Officer.

    Before joining CSSC, Jayne was a member of EA’s Children and Young People’s Services senior team.

  • Andrew Brown

    Andrew Brown

    Schools’ support officer

    Andrew has had a rewarding teaching career after graduating from Stranmillis in 1987. He is a former Vice-Principal of a large post-primary school.

    Before joining CSSC, Andrew worked as an External Adviser supporting Principals in PRSD and as an Executive Coach working with senior management.

  • Jill Brown

    Jill Brown

    Schools’ support officer

    Jill Brown has over 30 years’ experience in education working both nationally and internationally. Over the last eleven years she has worked in quality improvement and post-inspection support, including leading national initiatives and international projects.

    Jill was the post-16 representative on the Northern Ireland Steering Group for Numeracy (2006 – 2011).

  • Marianne Duncan

    Marianne Duncan

    Finance Officer

    Marianne is a qualified accountant with over 25 years’ experience.

    She has worked in a range of sectors, including the public, private, education and charitable sectors.  Previously, Marianne headed up the Finance and HR Department of a non-departmental public body as part of the senior management team.

  • Derek Harkness

    Derek Harkness

    Schools’ support officer

    Derek has worked in primary education for 33 years, as a teacher, ICT Advisory Officer and as Principal in three primary schools.

    He has extensive experience in school leadership and school improvement, including development of future leaders through the PQH programme, PRSD training with Governors and assessing trainee teachers.

  • Mary McGurk

    Mary McGurk

    Executive Assistant

    Mary joined CSSC having worked for over 25 years in the vocational training sector supporting young people to achieve qualifications and move into employment.

  • Heather McKenzie

    Heather McKenzie

    Schools’ support officer

    Heather McKenzie studied at Stranmillis College and graduated in 1993 with BEd(Hons).  Since then she has worked in one village and two rural schools.

    Although trained as a key stage 2 teacher, Heather has taught all primary classes, from reception to primary 7.  She has been a full-time Principal since 2005. 

  • Tracy McLoughlin, Corporate Services Officer, CSSC

    Tracy McLoughlin

    Corporate Services Officer

    With over 20 years’ experience spanning corporate and governance functions in both the public and private sectors, Tracy brings a wealth of experience to our team. Having graduated from Queens University with an MSc in Organisation and Management, and holding a professional accreditation through CIPD, she is well-versed in corporate services matters including business planning, effective governance and risk management, to drive success through informed decision-making.

  • Colleen Murray

    Colleen Murray

    Marketing and Communications Officer

    Colleen has 30 years’ experience in communications, website and social media management which she will use to support controlled schools. Colleen holds a BA (Hons) in Business Studies from Ulster University and a Business Management Certificate from Queen's University Belfast. 

  • Zoe Phelan

    Zoe Phelan

    Human Resources Officer

    Previously Zoe has worked in various private and public sector organisations supporting their HR function, primarily within recruitment. She graduated from Northumbria University in 2008 and in 2014 obtained an associate CIPD accreditation. Prior to joining the Controlled Schools’ Support Council Zoe worked for Belfast Met in HR Services.

  • Richard Reid image

    Richard Reid

    Schools’ support officer

    Richard has joined the CSSC team in a job-share capacity, working alongside Schools' Support Officer Jill Brown.

    Richard has worked in primary education for 21 years. In the last 12 years he has been Principal of three controlled primary schools. During that time, he had experience as an Executive Principal responsible for leading two schools at the one time.

    Richard has a passion for coaching in education and is keen to see school leaders develop a coaching culture in their schools. 

  • Tracey Woods

    Tracey Woods

    Schools’ support officer

    Having graduated from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, Tracey taught History and Government and Politics for 15 years.

    Tracey Woods has been an examiner for WJEC and CCEA.  More recently, she assisted with the revision of GCSE and A-Level specifications, and oversaw the introduction of CCEA’s new GCSE Government and Politics qualification.