Moore Dickson: Headmaster 2008-2017.
Moore Dickson was educated at Campbell College and Pembroke College, Cambridge and having become a member of staff in 1980 at the Academy, he rapidly distinguished himself not only as a gifted and inspiring English teacher but also as a man whose sympathetic common sense in the exercise of his pastoral responsibilities rescued the academic careers of many pupils who had lost their way. These talents were recognised by the school as he held increasingly important positions in the teaching faculty, becoming, in 2009, the 13th Headmaster.
Moore Dickson served as Headmaster during a difficult financial time in education in Northern Ireland. Difficult decisions had to be taken in an effort to move the school forward despite great pressure and sometimes unrealistic expectations from the educational establishment. Moore’s political instincts were finely honed and much in evidence in deciding when best to give way and when to hold firm. It was much to his credit that under his leadership the school added a ‘state of the art’ music suite, a modern home economics department, a learning support unit, additional dining facilities and the conception and development of a heritage centre in the Crombie Building.
In addition to his academic leadership. Moore Dickson was an enthusiastic and committed supporter of the school’s cultural and sporting traditions and brought energy and dedication to both. A much-needed Astroturf hockey pitch added to the already impressive facilities on offer at the Roughfort Playing Fields and improvements were made to the drainage of the rugby pitches and to the facilities at the J.C. Picken Pavilion. Additionally, a new fitness suite cum administrative unit was added to the school’s sports hall. One of his proudest achievements was to jointly coach the Third XV, one of whom was a future British and Irish Lion, to victory in their cup competition. Few poets have had such coaching success.
Despite the challenges and demands of his position, Moore Dickson never lost those qualities of humanity and tolerance that defined him as a worthy leader of the school’s traditions and it is significant that in the latter years of his administration he was recognized by the schools’ inspectorate as an “outstanding” leader who had done much to develop the confidence and vitality of Academy pupils.