The Principal of Hillsborough’s Beechlawn School, Mrs Barbara Green, said this week she was shocked to learn she had been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List.
Mrs Green, Beechlawn principal for the past 25 years, said too she was “humbled but delighted” with the news.
Beechlawn is a co-educational Controlled School catering for about 175 pupils with Additional Educational Needs.
Mrs Green thanked staff, pupils, parents, friends and family who had supported her during her 40 years as an educator.
“I regard this as an honour for the whole school,” she said, “including the staff, governors, teachers, classroom assistants and auxiliary staff, as well as parents and, particularly, the pupils.
“I also want to thank the Education Authority South Eastern Region for their continued support and guidance over my past 25 years at Beechlawn.”
Mrs Green also hoped her honour would encourage more people to pursue a career in the field of special educational needs.
“Forty years in education, with the focus on special needs, has gone by in a flash,” she said, “yet no-one knows the journey they are going to take.
“So I would like to encourage others to follow this route.
“The core is about each and every pupil I have had the pleasure to teach and their journey through the barriers of dyslexia, moderate learning difficulties, autism and complex needs.
“I really have been very fortunate and will be accepting (the award) on behalf of all friends, colleagues, parents and pupils I have met on my own journey.”
Mrs Green, who lives in Aghalee, said both her immediate and extended family were extremely delighted when they found out she had received the MBE for Services to Special Education.
“It is a great honour and privilege,” she added.
Lagan Valley MLA Edwin Poots, who has worked to support Beechlawn School over the years, congratulated Mrs Green on the recognition she received.
“This honour is very well deserved,” he said.
“The leadership shown in Beechlawn School has been both exceptional and exemplary.
“The satisfaction level at the school is a demonstration of the hard work that has been put into the school’s development and creating opportunities for the young people in attendance.
“I would like to offer my heartiest congratulations for an award well deserved.”