Frank Catalano

Frank Catalano

Principal
Glen Waverley Primary School

Frank Catalano

Principal
Glen Waverley Primary School

I have had the pleasure of working with the Department of Education and Training (DET) for 30 years and I am currently in my 9th year as Principal of Glen Waverley Primary School in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Glen Waverley Primary School is very multicultural with 80% of the students learning English as an Additional Language (EAL) and 98% have a Language Background other Than English (LBOTE). Our current enrolment is approximately 900 students which has almost tripled since my appointment.

Throughout my career I have been fortunate to work in schools in the Western, Northern and Eastern metropolitan areas of Melbourne which have all been invaluable experiences and all with unique differences but many similar challenges. This has enabled me to develop understanding of strong leadership and the preconditions of high performance.

My educational philosophy is based on research and a student centred approach. I firmly believe that the children are the most important members of a school community hence it is imperative that they have a strong voice in every aspect of their school. I also believe that building staff capacity and developing whole school approaches, which are based on robust research, are central to an effective and high performing school.

Throughout my career and leadership roles, I have been a strong advocate for enriching learning outcomes through building and sustaining:

  • A culture of high expectations and performance for students and staff
  • A focus on our core business of improving student learning outcomes
  • Entrenching the need for whole school approaches to curriculum and wellbeing programs
  • The use of strategic data to drive improvement and future directions
  • The preparedness to nurture staff and build their capacity and
  • The importance of developing strong community engagement

In my role as an educational leader, I am also an avid believer in the importance of coaching for improvement, self-reflection, resilience and increased performance. I am an accredited Coach and currently work with two coaches (one from an educational background and the other from private industry who specialises in organisational health). I have had the absolute pleasure of coaching numerous aspiring and beginning principal colleagues along with the members of my leadership team and various staff members.

Education is my passion and I look forward to sharing my journey and also learning from you too

Steve Francis

Author & Former Principal
Kowloon Junior School & Jindalee State School

Steve Francis

Author & Former Principal
Kowloon Junior School and Jindalee State School

Steve Francis is an expert in the complexities of leading effective schools. He understands the challenges and demands of being a leader in schools.

For the past three years Steve has been recognised by Educator magazine as one of the top 50 most influential educators in Australia. As well as having been the Principal of a number of schools from a one-teacher school through to a large metropolitan school in Queensland and an international school in Hong Kong, Steve is also the author of four books including "First Semester CAN MAKE OR BREAK YOU!"

Since returning to Australia in 2008, Steve works with leading educators to help them reach their potential and optimise their schools. He brings passion, energy and practical insight to his professional development programs.

Steve completed a Masters in School Leadership on teacher stress. This led him to develop the Happy School program. Almost 700 schools subscribe to receive Steve’s weekly Happy School articles and use them to boost staff morale and reduce teacher stress. This innovative program has been extended to certify schools that are “Employers of Choice”.

The Survey My School instrument to assist schools to measure and improve school culture and the Survey My Class instruments to gather formative feedback from students to teachers and to help school leaders drive school improvement, were also developed by Steve.

Steve is passionate about work-life satisfaction and keeping things simple

Travis Gandy

Chief Operating Officer
Compass Education

Travis Gandy

Chief Operating Officer
Compass Education

With a background in accounting, and nearly a decade of experience in the educational technology sector, Travis Gandy blends in-depth technical knowledge with a wealth of real-world experience. Overseeing operations at Compass, his career has placed him at the intersection of finance, technology, and education. An average week for Travis will find him travelling the breadth of Australia to deliver technological solutions for schools, educators, and students. Whether delivering strategies for institutions to implement new technology on a budget, or developing software to save on administrative costs, Travis is a strong advocate of the power of tech in schools. 

Liana Gooch

Deputy Principal
Korowa Anglican Girls School

Liana Gooch

Deputy Principal
Korowa Anglican Girls School

Liana Gooch has worked in five schools across three countries in an array of leadership role related to Learning  as acting Head of Department, MYP Coordinator, Academic Enhancement Coordinator and Director of Learning, Teaching and Innovation. She is presently the Deputy Principal of Korowa Anglican Girls’ School in Melbourne.  During her career, drawing on evidence based practice, Liana  has initiated an array of initiatives which support staff in their professional learning growth and the optimisation of curriculum and learning strategies to best prepare students for their future.  An avid interest in  learning spaces, technology, entrepreneurship and innovation has led to her involvement in the set up and development of two makerspaces as well as the implementation of  Digital Technology and Design initiatives. 

Stella Jinman

Principal
Cecil Andrews College

Stella Jinman

Principal
Cecil Andrews College

2018 WITWA 20 in 20 Outstanding STEM Award Winner and Skilling Australia Award Recipient for Outstanding Leadership and Commitment to STEM Education in Australia  

Principal Stella Jinman initiated Cecil Andrews College to be the first School in the State to trial the P-TECH Pilot program. The P-TECH program involves long term partnerships between industry, schools and tertiary education providers, which enables businesses to play an active role in the learning and career development of their future workforce. Stella and Cecil Andrews College are working collaboratively with a number of locally based corporate employer partners including: Austal, Thales Group, Civmec Construction & Engineering, Deloitte Australia, HP and Datacom Australia. The College is currently also working with Engineering Australia and SalesForce. 

Stella successfully attained $5m in state funding to build a state of the art, purpose built STEM Centre at Cecil Andrews College that won an award in 2018. The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) Centre, with pedagogy focused around the P-TECH program, was designed with flexible, interactive spaces able to transform and accommodate. The STEM centre provides a space for emergent technologies, including artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality; drones, robotics, cyber safety and biochemical projects. It’s about inviting children into education and making it so appealing they cannot resist. 

In 2013 Cecil Andrews College faced closure. Since taking on the Principal role, Stella Jinman has in just six years turned Cecil Andrews College into a Teacher Development School; specialising in STEM, Innovation and Technology with Specialists Arts and AFL Programs at its core.  Year 12 Attainment levels increased from 33% to 100% along with a significant improvement in literacy and numeracy among many other student achievements. 

Stella is a future-focused, educational leader with a strong drive for innovating transformation in student centred education. Her background in the leadership of a diverse range of schools has resulted in holistic twenty first century education that engages and is inclusive of all students. She has influenced, formed and maintained new and effective long term partnerships, which have transformed education into ecosystems where students are in supported pathways of learning. She drives teams to innovate classroom practice that is contemporary and reflects the current needs of students. 

An innovative and forward thinking leader, Stella Jinman is blending 21st Century technologies into the curriculum, to map the content to real-world skills that are needed in the work places of the future.  

Matthew Johnson

Matthew Johnson

National President
Australian Special Education Principals Association

Matthew Johnson

National Board Vice Chairperson & Executive Officer
Australian Special Education Principals Association

Current Roles: 

  • National President of ASEPA (Australian Special Education Principals’’ Association (2019-2020) 
  • Principal: Glenvale Special School Central Coast NSW (since 2017) 
  • Australian Special Education Principals’ Association Board Member: (since 2016) 
  • Australian Special Education Principals’ Association Vice Chair (since 2016) 
  • Immediate Past President and current Vice President of the NSW Special Education Principals’ and Leaders’ Association (SEPLA) (since 2008) 

Matthew Johnson has been with the NSW Department of Education NSW for 30 years and originally visual arts and music trained. He has held positions in high schools, central schools, primary schools, regional and head office positions, in rural, remote and metropolitan areas. He has been working in special school settings for 20 years and has been a principal of four special schools.

Matthew has held positions as State Coordinator of Behaviour Programs NSW DEC, was a NSW Premiers’ Special Education Scholar, an International Fire Instructor (Lead Trainer Botswana Fire Program - NSW Rural Fire Service), Assistant Regional Director State-wide School Performance – Special Schools (QLD), the Immediate Past President of the NSW Special Education Principals’ and Leaders’ Association and current Vice President (SEPLA - NSW) and is the Vice Chair of the Board of the Australian Special Education Principals’ Association (ASEPA). He is a member of the NSW Secondary Principals Council and the NSW Primary Principals Association. 

Matthew is currently the principal of Glenvale Special School, on the Central Coast of NSW, which caters for 160 students across three campuses. 

JIll Laughlin

Jill Laughlin

Principal
Camberwell High School

Jill Laughlin

Principal
Camberwell High School

Jill Laughlin commenced her teaching career at Horsham High School in 1982. She taught at Springvale Secondary College during the mid to late 1980s and in this time taught many students from Vietnamese refugee backgrounds. Jill realised that she needed skills, knowledge and understanding to respond effectively to the learning needs of these students. She commenced a post graduate qualification in Teaching English to Speakers of other languages in 1990.

 She worked at Dandenong High School from 1994 until 2010 and in this time took on many roles including Literacy, year level coordination, Professional Learning and Curriculum Coordination. Jill completed a Masters of Education in ESL while teaching at Dandenong. She led the ESL program at Dandenong High for 6 years, a significant role, in a school where most students use English as a second language and 25% are refugees. From 2006 Jill was an Assistant Principal and member of the school leadership team developing the vision and framework for the new school, merging 3 schools into one and developing and constructing a new school on the existing Dandenong site.

She is currently Principal of Camberwell High School. She has been in this role since April 2010.  Jill’s experience has resulted in a student centred educational vision. Her current work at Camberwell is focused on embedding the learning landscape, which she has developed and led in collaboration with the school community over the past 8 years. The Enterprise Centre, home base for Year 9 students was opened in 2013. Currently three buildings are being redeveloped as learning spaces and home bases for Years 11, 8 and 7 students.

Korowa Anglican Girls’ School

Kellie Lyneham

Deputy Principal – Student Wellbeing
Korowa Anglican Girls School

Kellie Lyneham

Deputy Principal - Student Wellbeing
Korowa Anglican Girls School

Kellie Lyneham is currently the Deputy Principal Student Wellbeing at Korowa Anglican Girls’ School. Prior to this position she held a range of leadership roles, including EAL Co-ordinator and International Student Co-ordinator at Wesley College St Kilda Road; and, International Student Co-ordinator, Indigenous Student Scholarship Co-ordinator, Head of Year, Head of Personal Development and Religious Education, and most notably, Director of the innovative Middle Years Program at Melbourne Girls Grammar. Kellie believes that relationships must be at the core of our work as educators – she is committed to ensuring that the students with whom she works are provided with access to structures, resources and programs which enable them proactively manage their academic and social/emotional wellbeing, and ultimately flourish as young women who are well prepared for their futures. 

Catherine Mission

Catherine Misson

Former Principal
Melbourne Girls Grammar

Catherine Misson

Former Principal
Melbourne Girls Grammar

In 2008 Catherine was appointed to executive position of Principal at Melbourne Girls Grammar (MGGS) where her leadership of vision, staff and infrastructure has rapidly established world class educational programs. Her flagship accomplishments include the reimagining of education Programs to ensure that exceptional and diverse opportunities are available to all girls at Melbourne Girls Grammar.

Catherine’s reputation as a leading educator within the global education landscape has been enhanced and expanded through her innovative approach, such as the blended learning architecture of the Senior Years Program, the Artemis Program, a holistic wellbeing program which empowers MGGS girls to be strong, capable global citizens, and the development of new workforces, such as Wellbeing Coaches and Academic Coaches, working alongside teachers. The Centre for Educational Enterprise (CEE) was established as part of Catherine’s strategic vision to provide customised professional learning opportunities for teachers and to create a network of enterprising schools dedicated to transforming education to be fit for purpose in a rapidly transforming world.

Catherine is a Fellow of the Australian Council of Education Leaders, a recipient of the John Laing Award from Principals Australia (please get correct wording for these 2 awards), a previous Board member of the Centre for Strategic Education, and an active contributor to national and international conferences and professional activities.

Loretta Piazza

Principal
Meadowglen Primary School

Loretta Piazza

Principal
Meadowglen Primary School

Dr Loretta Piazza has been a principal for more than 20 years in the Victorian state education system; the last 16 at Meadowlgen Primary School in Melbourne’s northern growth corridor. 

Having led predominantly tough low SES schools, Loretta has a proven track record that dispels the notion that postcode is a predictor of academic success. 

In recent years, Loretta has become a strong advocate for principals and their health and wellbeing and works collaboratively with the Australian Principals Federation as a state councillor, and the Victorian Department of Education and Training to ensure principals are supported in their important and challenging school leadership roles. 

Peter Walker

National President
Australian Association of Special Education

Peter Walker

National President
Australian Association of Special Education

Peter Walker is a former principal who has spent over 20 years teaching and leading in diverse educational settings across both NSW and SA. In 2016, he presented at Tedx Adelaide on the value of inclusive education. In 2018, he was an invited guest at the Adelaide Festival of Ideas. He is the national president of the Australian Association of Special Education (AASE) and currently lectures at Flinders University. 

Tyson Wood

Tyson Wood

Managing Director
Smart Teachers & Tes Australia

Tyson Wood

Managing Director
Smart Teachers & Tes Australia

A qualified and experienced teacher, Tyson co-founded Smart Teachers in 2005 and co-lead its development for the first 12 years of operation.  Noteworthy accomplishments include leading the development of Smart’s Expert Teacher Appraisal Framework, a resource that assists recruiters in identifying the competencies that align with the Australia Professional Standards for Teaching and school organisational needs.  He also built alliances with leading education authorities which helped shape company child protection and reportable conduct safeguarding for schools.   Today, Smart has over 140,000 teachers and recruits for non-government and government schools throughout Australia.

Smart Leaders was established by Tyson following two years of research into leadership progression and succession in Australian schools.  He organised Smart’s own Leadership Forum in 2015, bringing together 25 leaders from all education sectors to discuss leadership recruitment.  To date, Smart has helped over 170 schools attract and select dynamic leaders.

In 2016, Tyson assisted in the merger of Smart Teachers and Tes.com, the world’s largest online education community.  Since 2018 he has been Company Manager of Smart and Tes Australia, helping lead the continued growth of attraction and recruitment offerings while developing new retention services designed to advance the education workforce in Australia.

Lisa Wright

Lisa Wright

Principal
Weilmoringle Public School

Lisa Wright

Principal
Weilmoringle Public School

Since starting teaching Lisa has always had a passion for working with disadvantaged students. In 2016 she took on the role as Principal in a remote Aboriginal community over 100kms from the nearest town for three months, two years later she is still there.  

Lisa’s teaching career started in a mid-sized school, Banksmeadow Public School (350 students) on the coast in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs where she drove the development of technology education and worked closely with the Aboriginal community to build relationships and develop a deeper understanding of Aboriginal history and culture. During this time she collaborated with teaching colleagues from across the state to embed the use of video conferencing as a way of students and staff being able to work with like-minded individuals who were geographically distant. She also helped introduce gardening and healthy food programs with a focus on sustainability and environmentally friendly practices.  

As leader of the English team at Croydon Public School Lisa led a team of over 30 staff through curriculum change and scaffolded staff professional development on cross curricular priorities and general capabilities. Her collaborative approach ensured a team of staff were confident and enthusiastic about coaching others to ensure that Australian Curriculum requirements were deeply embedded in classroom programs. 

As an Assistant Principal at Canterbury PS in Sydney’s inner west Lisa worked closely with Chinese and Korean language teachers to produce units of work aimed at integrating the cross curriculum priority of Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia. The purpose was to create modern units with strong links to our local community which developed students’ understanding of how our relationships with our Asian neighbours have impacted Australian society. Students had the opportunity to engage with language, history and culture.  

During Lisa’s time at Canterbury Public School she was integral in introducing Quality Teaching Rounds, working with pre-service and early career teachers and building capacity in teachers to develop leadership skills. Working with a Critical Friend was a key aspect of how executive staff were mentored to become more effective leaders and inspired early and mid-career teachers to take on leadership roles. 

Despite Weilmoringle Public School being very remote Lisa has introduced a philosophy of high expectations and has managed to continue to mentor early career teachers. Lisa is a strong believer in prioritising teacher well-being and works closely with colleagues across the state to ensure those in isolated communities are accessing support as needed. She has provided opportunities for students to work with a professional illustrator, introduced a sustainable garden program and worked with community and various government agencies to develop a pre-school program. Lisa has also implemented a teacher exchange program to provide professional learning and collaboration opportunities encouraging metropolitan based teachers to experience life in the outback. As an active member of the Primary Principals Association she works closely with her principal colleagues both locally and around NSW. Lisa believes it is vital for children to learn skills that will equip them for a future we can’t even imagine. 

PARTNERS