'Inspiring' former principal hailed for his 'special' commitment to education
John Curran left his mark wherever he went.
Friends and former colleagues, devastated at his tragic death, remembered the man with words like "inspiring" and "special".
Good Shepherd National School in Churchtown, Dublin, where he was its first principal in 1989, said his "vision and enthusiasm still influence our ethos and can be seen at work throughout our school today".
His commitment to education went beyond the confines of his own classrooms and school and almost 20 years ago, he helped to set up the Irish Primary Principals Network (IPPN) to support principals in their professional lives.
His friend of 20 years, David Ruddy, the current IPPN president, said he recognised that the role was "a very isolating job and he used to say 'we need to talk to each other'. In the very early days, he was on the road, meeting the grassroots, in the thick of it all".
Although he retired early, in 2005, Mr Curran continued to work with the IPPN in a supportive capacity, including as PRO for a number of years.
The death of his son Eoin in a sailing accident in 2010, was a difficult blow to bear and, according to Mr Ruddy, it was signing up as director of education for Mellon Educate "when I think he really got his spark for life again".
Mr Ruddy and other former colleagues recalled how he cajoled them to help him out in South Africa, after retirement or during holidays, with orders to bring with them old books and other resources that he could use in the classrooms. "He had a way of getting around people."
Earlier this year, Mr Curran brought a delegation from South Africa, including the minister and the secretary general for the ministry for Education in the Western Cape, to the IPPN conference to showcase Irish school leadership practice.
"With all the complaining we do, he wanted us to show them how we can work together," Mr Ruddy said.
Hard work aside, Mr Ruddy remembers a friend who was "laid back and witty".