Doreen Cronin, Principal of St Richard’s Catholic College, has paid tribute to an inspiring and outstanding teacher who passed away suddenly.
In a letter to parents, she described Dr Joolz Durkin, 56, as a ‘fantastic professional’ whose priority was always the children.
“Her kindness and generous spirit to everyone knew no bounds,” she wrote. “Her sense of humour and joie de vivre were great examples of how to get the most out of life.”
Miss Cronin said Dr Durkin died of a heart attack and urged everyone to keep her, as well as husband, Matt, and sons, Connor and Ethan, in their prayers.
“She will be greatly missed by staff and pupils, having packed so much into her personal and professional life,” she added. “Staff and pupils are extremely grateful to have had her in their lives.”
Dr Durkin had worked at the school for 14 years as a science teacher and curriculum enrichment co-ordinator.
Miss Cronin said she was always smiling and a great believer that anything was possible. “We were very sad to lose her skills, talents and expertise to independent education last year,” she wrote.
Her willingness to give something a go always encouraged her pupils.
“She loved her subject and certainly enjoyed igniting a passion for science in pupils with regular trips, competitions, experiences and enrichment activities, as well as the introduction of astronomy to the curriculum,” she added.
Her many achievements included gaining the school a Space Education Quality mark as well as numerous PTI awards for science leadership and enrichment.
She also secured the ARISS project for the school, bringing the astronaut, Tim Peake, to the school hall via the International Space Station.
“This was one of many incredible events that she will be remembered for, as well as her ability to engage fully in projects such as dressing up as a pirate to introduce the Year 7 Pirates Project or as a Dalek for the annual Science Week play,” wrote Miss Cronin.
- Dr Durkin’s funeral took place on Monday July 27th and saw staff, pupils and friends line the road to pay their respects as the cortege paused opposite the school field.
Photograph: Adam Griffin