Mary Ann Gilligan was born and raised in Belleville. She attended St. Peter’s Elementary School and graduated from Belleville High School. She is a graduate of Montclair State University where she obtained a master’s degree in The Arts of Teaching and later attended the College of St. Elizabeth where she earned a second master’s degree in Educational Leadership.
Mrs. Gilligan began her teaching career at St. Peter's School in Belleville and then at Belleville School Number 9. From there, she moved to Number 5 for 2 years and then transferred to the middle school to teach ELA. Mrs. Gilligan was promoted to Assistant Principal of BMS and shortly thereafter was appointed principal of School Number 5 in 2019. She feels a strong connection to the Belleville community and strives to do her part to better the lives and day-to-day of those who come to School Number 5. Mary Ann has been working in education for 19 years.
Prior to being appointed as an administrator, Mrs. Gilligan served as an adjunct at Montclair State University, where she taught freshman writing. As an administrator, she brings her love of writing and collaboration with her to school every day. She drops everything when a student knocks on her door to share a piece of writing with her. One of her favorite quotes comes from Mark Twain: The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. Her mission in life is to help students see they all have a purpose in life and that all types of education should be valued not only because it brings that purpose to light, but also prepares them to carry it out.