Leadership Nudge® 385 – The Killorglin Principal

May 11, 2022by Sandy Wilmer

In today’s Nudge, David catches up with Donal O’Reilly at Killorglin Community College in Ireland. Former Principal O’Reilly shares his story of how Intent-Based Leadership transformed this school’s environment.


David Marquet: I’m here in lovely Ireland and Killorglin with Donal O’Reilly, who was the former Deputy and then Principal here at the Killorglin Community College. A great example of a “Turn the Ship Around” situation going from very few, almost 0% of the students going on to third tier to nearly 100% over his 15 years when he was the leader here. What are your secrets? 

Donal O’Reilly: I don’t know if there are any secrets, David. But I’ll tell you three things we did here. We built on teamwork, we built on relationships, and we made this a trusting culture. The teamwork we worked with all staff, all teachers or leaders. The relationships, we built the relationships with staff, the relationships with students, we got the parents in – the parents trusted us. And we built a trusting environment as well, among staff, again, amongst the parents was more than partly with students.  

So when students were asked “How are you feeling?” And they go, “Yeah, I’m okay.”  

Today, I come along and say, “Tell me where you are on a scale of one to 10.” And they go, “Well, it’s a four.” And I go, “Right now, you’re not okay.” So for me while you’re at a four, and then there was a trust culture there where they opened up, and sometimes it was a small problem, and sometimes it was a big problem. Often it was a problem that we couldn’t solve, but it was there. 

Perfect. There you have it. Teamwork, relationships, trust. Thank you very much for what you do. 

Cheers. 

Sandy Wilmer

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Intent-Based Leadership International, LLC • 1435 E. Venice Ave #104-173 • Venice, FL 34292 • +1.941.408.0311

Intent-Based Leadership International, LLC • 1435 E. Venice Ave #104-173 • Venice, FL 34292 • +1.941.408.0311