The Grove Nursery
The Grove Nursery
Our Staff

The Staff

Mrs Thompson, B. Ed. D.A.S.E.

Mrs Thompson, B. Ed. D.A.S.E.

role: Principal

Mrs Joan Thompson has been Principal of The Grove since 2011, having previously been Principal of a nursery school in Newtownabbey for eight years. Since graduating from Stranmillis College. Mrs Thompson has been involved in every aspect of Nursery Education. She is passionate about making education 'fun' for children and creating a happy atmosphere within our nursery. She enjoys the more 'creative' or messy activities in school.

In her spare time she enjoys walking Finlay, the Westie in Castle Leslie, cooking for friends, gardening and reading. She competes with Mrs Rowe to seek out the best coffee shops!

She has 3 grown up children and three active grandsons!

Mrs Debbie Gervais, B. Ed.

Mrs Debbie Gervais, B. Ed.

role: Teacher

Mrs Debbie Gervais, the newest member of 'The Grove Team' has had a lot of experience in Primary and Nursery education, alongside looking after her husband and three children. Peter, Ellen and Patrick. Another graduate from Stranmillis University College.

Her quiet disposition has a calming effect on an otherwise hectic school day. In school Mrs Gervais organises our outdoor play, coming up with novel and exciting ways to extend the children's learning in all areas of the curriculum.

Her interests outside school include reading, walking, cooking and eating!

A native of Co. Fermanagh, she now lives near Benburb.

Mrs Louise Rowe, NNEB, NVQ3

Mrs Louise Rowe, NNEB, NVQ3

role: Nursery Assistant

Mrs Louise Rowe is our longest serving member of staff and she can remember nearly every child and family who has passed through The Grove. She is our resident gardener and cookery advisor, often helping the children to grow, harvest and cook our own vegetables. Her gentle and caring nature makes her a favourite with the children!

She has a broad general knowledge regarding clothes/gift/shoe/coffee shops in Northern Ireland - in fact any kind of shop anywhere!


She loves caravanning in the holidays, walking Misty the Spaniel in Tollymore or looking after her seven grandchildren.

Mrs Sharon Grimley, NVQ3

Mrs Sharon Grimley, NVQ3

role: Nursery Assistant

Mrs Sharon Grimley is our resident staff advisor regarding hairstyles, beauty and fashion, having previously worked in this profession. She takes care of our guinea pigs in school (although she won't take them home!) and cares for our indoor plants. Her sense of fun and keenness to develop spontaneous play which arises during the day, ensure school is never boring for the children,

Another caravanner in Co Down and Westie owner, she is ever youthful, being the mum of two active teenagers.


Her interests include interior design and 'running around' The Mall!


Mrs Karen Finlay, B.Sc.

Mrs Karen Finlay, B.Sc.

role: Nursery Assistant

Mrs Karen Finlay spends most of her day giving individual attention to those children who need a little extra encouragement to settle into school, sustain play, attempt new challenges or simply to interact with staff members or peers. A Geography graduate, she advises us about 'The World Around Us' aspect of the curriculum and as a mum to three children, Hannah, Peter and Reuben (all past pupils of The Grove) she keeps us up to date with what is 'cool'.

Mrs Finlay enjoys baking, drawing, reading and walking at a gentle pace!

Mrs Dawn Houston

Mrs Dawn Houston

role: Cook

Mrs Dawn Houston or 'Cookie' as the children call her has a long history with The Grove- her mother, Mrs Nancy Cunningham being the first Principal, 40 years ago.

Her meals which the children state " are nicer than my mummy's" would make Jamie Oliver proud and we all appreciate the little 'extras' and special treats on Party days or parents' meetings.

Dawn, another youthful granny, also enjoys caravanning, holidays abroad and 'chill time'.


Mrs Janette Carson

Mrs Janette Carson

role: Secretary

Mrs Janette Carson is an expert on all things administrative in education, having spent over thirty years working in the SELB.

She keeps the wheels well oiled, resources ordered, finances recorded and banked and Mrs Thompson organised! The children especially love visiting Janette in her 'glass' office or sitting on the special swivel chair.

Outside school, she enjoys walking, cookery, music and genealogy.

Mrs Christine Martin

Mrs Christine Martin

role: Building Supervisor

Mrs Christine Martin commenced in The Grove in September 2016 and really enjoys looking after our school in spite of the chocolate muffins, play dough, lentils and glitter we leave for her in the afternoons.


Christine combines her work in school with being a Catering Assistant in The Armstrong Primary. Always on the go, she puts the rest of us to shame- she runs marathons, hill walks, jives and line dances. Hopefully her enthusiasm and energy will rub off on the rest of the staff!




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