St. Tiernan’s College originated in 1957 as a two-roomed school and was known as Crossmolina Technical School. It was built by Mayo Vocational Education Committee in response to a demand for young apprentices from the newly established Bord na Mona at Bellacorrick. There were just two teachers employed initially, a Rural Science teacher, Ned Crimmin believed to be from Co. Limerick and Gerry Whelan, a woodwork teacher from Co. Waterford.
The students were all boys and were taught six subjects over two or three years if preferred before they sat the Group Certificate examination. The six subjects were:
There was no formal principal appointed at this stage and this situation, although with several changes in teaching personnel persisted until the school was extended in 1966. Three specialist rooms, science, woodwork and metalwork were added that year and girls were enrolled for the first time. The school was now known as Crossmolina Vocational School and Frank Corduff who had replaced Gerry Whelan in 1958 was appointed the schools first principal.
With the advent of free education and transport in 1967 the enrolment at the school continued to grow and students sat the Intermediate for the first time in 1969. Jack Leighton became the first vice- principal at the school that same year. In 1968 the first secretarial class were enrolled with Maureen O`Donnell as tutor and has continued ever since, developing in recent years into the increasingly popular Post Leaving Cert Course in computer studies.
The first set of prefabs arrived in 1972, were replaced and extended in 1988 and further extended in 2000 as numbers at the school continued to grow. A restricted Leaving Certificate curriculum was introduced with students sitting the Leaving Cert. examination for the first time at the school in 1974. Only four subjects were catered for, Construction Studies, Engineering, Technical Drawing and Biology (changed to Physics/Chemistry in 1979). The other subjects Irish, English and Maths necessitated the students to travel to the convent school with students from there travelling to St. Tiernans to study the Construction and Drawing. This arrangement did not cater for girls to any great extent resulting in small numbers of girls attending the school.
Jack Leighton was appointed principal in 1987 and Toss Gibbons became vice-principal the same year. Toss went on to succeed Jack as principal in 1998 with Oliver Bolton appointed as deputy principal. In 1999 the arrangement with the convent school was discontinued and the name of the school was changed to St. Tiernan’s College. A comprehensive Leaving Cert curriculum appealing to both boys and girls was introduced. An innovative summer works scheme was developed, involving voluntary labour by a number of teachers, which greatly improved the appearance and infrastructure of the school. Oliver Bolton was appointed principal in 2002 with Paddy Gaughan as his deputy in 2003 and in 2006 Paddy was replaced by Brenda O`Malley.
The school benefited from major capital investments in 2003 and again in 2009 with all rooms being renovated, re-equipped and modernised, particularly the science, woodwork, engineering and home economics rooms. Investment in Information Technology was given priority with Laptops, Data projectors and Broadband installed in every classroom.
Conor O` Reilly was appointed the fifth principal at the school in 2009 as enrolment continues to grow with 250 students now in the school and a staff of 25 employed there.