Academy board 

The Academy is governed by a board that includes members from the government, Catholic and Independent school sectors. 

The Academy’s strategic direction is set by the board and is outlined in our strategic plan on a page.

The board balances governance expertise, school education and community interests to support the Academy to meet the diverse professional learning needs of Victorian educators.

The board has both advisory and decision-making responsibilities and is directly accountable to the Minister for Education for the performance of the Academy’s functions.

The Academy's chief operating officer us responsible to the board for all policy and operational matters, and to the Secretary of the Department of Education for budgetary, personnel and other administrative matters.

Dr Toni Meath


Dr Toni Meath

Dr Toni Meath GAICD FACEL is principal of Melbourne Girls Grammar. She is an accomplished leader with deep knowledge of the Victorian education sector. Dr Meath’s work in education innovation has been published nationally and internationally. Previously Dr Meath was principal of the Mac.Robertson Girls’ High School and the founding assistant principal of Nossal High School, Victoria’s first co-educational select entry high school.

Until her appointment as the inaugural chair of the Academy board, Dr Meath was a member of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority board.

Kieren Noonan

Kieren Noonan

Head of Innovation and Learning and a member of the executive at Independent Schools Victoria, Mr Kieren Noonan is an innovative education professional with extensive experience working in educational leadership and strategically delivering innovative products, solutions and initiatives. 

Mr Noonan is skilled in education leadership and management, training delivery, process management and product and service design. He has extensive experience as a teacher, principal and education executive across sectors in both Victoria and South Australia.

Mr Noonan is the nominee of Independent Schools Victoria.

Judith Downes

Judith Downes

Ms Judith Downes has worked in senior executive and non-executive roles in banking, finance, accounting, funds management, life insurance and property, and has over 25 years’ experience as a company director.

Previously, she worked in senior executive and non-executive roles at ANZ including chief financial officer and chief operating officer of the Institutional Division. She was director of the Australian Mathematical Science Institute and a member of the Financial Reporting Council.  Prior to working as an accountant, Ms Downes taught secondary mathematics.

Ms Downes is currently the chair of Bank Australia and a non-executive director for ImpediMed, as well as the chair of the Academy’s Audit and Risk Committee.

Professor Viv Ellis

Professor Viv Ellis is dean of the Faculty of Education at Monash University. He is also a professor in the faculty and a global expert on teacher education. He has worked with government agencies and nongovernment organisations across the UK, Europe, Asia and Australia, most recently on the Norwegian government’s reforms to upper primary/lower secondary initial teacher education.

Prior to his work at Monash, Professor Ellis was the founding co-director of the Centre for Innovation in Teacher Education and Development, a strategic partnership between King’s College London and Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, where he currently holds an honorary research professorship. Before working in universities, Professor Ellis was a secondary school teacher; he has held senior leadership roles in schools, subject teaching associations and universities.

Terri Lee-Fitzpatrick

Ms Lee -Fitzpatrick is a Yawuru Jarndu, Yawuru woman from Rubibi/Broome, Western Australia, and has been based in Melbourne for over 20 years. She has more than 30 years’ experience in education. 

Ms Lee-Fitzpatrick has been a teacher at Thornbury Primary School for 21 years. She has expertise in literacy, and has led the Woiwurrung language and cultural program for 6 years. Thornbury Primary School was awarded the 2019 Victorian Education Excellence Award for Outstanding Koorie Education.

Ms Lee-Fitzpatrick is a sought-after adviser and contributor to professional learning programs and resources, including recent Koorie English Online modules.

Dr David Howes

Dr David Howes

Dr David Howes is the Deputy Secretary, Schools and Regional Services at the Department of Education. Prior to this, Dr Howes was chief executive officer of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority.

Dr Howes began his career as a teacher in the western suburbs of Melbourne, where he worked for 10 years as a teacher and in a range of school leadership roles. He has since held a number of positions, both in Victoria and overseas, including working as an educational adviser to the Royal Government of Cambodia between 2003 and 2006.

Dr Howes is the nominee of the Department of Education.

Executive leadership team

The Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership’s (the Academy) executive leadership team plays a pivotal role in achieving the Academy’s objectives.

The Academy is structured around 5 divisions, and is led by a chief executive officer (CEO). The CEO is responsible to the board for all policy and operational matters, and to the Secretary of the Department of Education for budgetary, personnel and other administrative matters.

The CEO is supported by a team of highly skilled and experienced directors.

Dr Marcia Devlin

Inaugural CEO

Dr Marcia Devlin AM

Dr Marcia Devlin AM PhD GAICD joined the Academy in 2021 as the inaugural CEO. She is a globally recognised expert in education, equity and leadership, a qualified teacher and a registered psychologist. Marcia began her education career as a primary school teacher before moving into the tertiary sector. Her PhD examines the impact of professional learning on university teacher’s work.

Prior to her appointment at the Academy, Dr Devlin was senior deputy vice-chancellor at Victoria University and held executive and senior roles at Federation University Australia, RMIT University, Deakin University and the University of Melbourne.

Internationally recognised for her expertise in education, she has given more than 100 keynote and invited addresses in 10 countries, won over $6 million in research funding and has more than 330 publications to her name.

Dr Devlin is a trust member of the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre and an elected Lifetime Fellow of the UK-based Society for Research into Higher Education. She also currently serves on the editorial boards for several academic education journals in Australia and the US. She is formerly a non-executive director on the Melbourne Polytechnic board and Chair of their Education Quality Committee and a Board member of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority VCAA). Dr Devlin served on the VCAA Executive Committee and Audit Committee, and as Chair of the Senior Secondary Certification Reform Committee. She was also the Universities of Australia appointee on the advisory board of the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education.

Dr Devlin brings 30 years of national and international experience to the Academy and a strong commitment to continuously improving the quality of learning and teaching, enhancing inclusiveness and diversity in education, ensuring the concept of ‘excellence’ encompasses equity and strengthening educational leadership. In 2023, Dr Devlin was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), for significant service to higher education, and to women.

Dr Claire Brown

Director, Teaching Excellence Division

Dr Claire Brown, Director, Teaching Excellence Division

Claire commenced her teaching career as an English and Theatre Arts teacher in Western Australia, taught English as a Foreign Language in Japan and then returned to Australia to take up positions as a teacher educator, researcher and administrator at Edith Cowan University and subsequently leading a K-13 professional learning system (Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) at Victoria University.

Claire’s lifelong commitment to education is driven by her conviction that teachers do the most important work in our communities and need to be celebrated and supported. Claire has studied and researched her belief that the pursuit of teaching excellence is both art and rocket science. Her PhD analysed the quality of Australian education policy, noting that teaching excellence is dependent on education policy excellence. 

As Director, Teaching Excellence Division, Claire leads the provision of the Academy’s flagship in-house Teaching Excellence Program (TEP) across all school sectors for Victoria’s exceptional teachers.

Kate Morris

Director, Leadership Excellence Division

Kate Morris, Director, Leadership Excellence Division

Kate Morris is an educational leader with a career-long passion for ensuring students can access a rich ecosystem of learning and increasing the positive impacts of government resources on student outcomes. Kate began her career as a teacher and held various leadership roles in schools, including Principal of Northcote High School.

Kate has also held leadership roles in industry and government, including the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority and the Victorian School Building Authority.  

Kate was Interim CEO of the Bastow Institute for Educational Leadership, where she led the development of the business case for the Academy, the design of the Teaching Excellence Program and in response to COVID-19, the pivot to online delivery of professional learning programs.  

As Director, Leadership Excellence, Kate oversees the delivery of high-quality leadership professional learning, working with experts in policy, program management and educational leadership theory and practices.

Katy Theobald

Director, Academy Services Division

Katy Theobald, Director, Academy Services Division

Katy Theobald was formerly Associate Director, Research and Evaluation at Ambition Institute (one of England's largest not-for-profit teacher and leader development providers), where she delivered innovative research into school and system leadership. Katy moved to Australia following her Churchill Fellowship, which took her to Singapore, New Zealand and Australia to learn how school leaders in communities experiencing disadvantage create innovative, future-focused schools. Katy has presented this research at international conferences and been published in academic and sector press.

Katy was also Associate Director, Education for the Bright Spots Schools Connection at Social Ventures Australia and managed the Workforce Analytics and Cross-sector Impacts Team in the Victorian Department of Education, providing analysis of teacher demand, supply and mobility to support strategic policy development.

As Director, Academy Services, Katy oversees a range of services to ensure the Academy provides high quality professional learning and an engaging and seamless participant experience.

Megan Knowles

Director, Business Services Division

Megan Knowles, Director, Business Services Division

Originally a Youth Worker, Megan moved into public health and health promotion in early childhood development with the Queensland government, where she developed her passion for education.  

Megan worked in Queensland as a classroom teacher and then Learning Community Manager before she joined the Victorian Department of Education in the Professional Learning Communities Unit. In this role, Megan supported teachers implementing evidence-based inquiry to classroom practice to improve student outcomes.

During Melbourne’s second COVID-19 wave, Megan joined the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, working on the reopening of schools. In 2020, she joined the then-Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership where she established the Business Priorities Unit.

As Director of the Academy’s Business Service Division, Megan is responsible for the provision of the Academy’s corporate services and business continuity, as the Academy provides high-quality professional learning while establishing itself as a statutory authority.

Tyron Paspa

Director, Regional Division

Tyron Paspa, Director, Regional Division

Tyron Paspa joined the public sector in 2012 and has held roles in investment strategy, early childhood, infrastructure, program management, and policy across the Victorian School Building Authority, Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Education.

Across these roles, Tyron has had some significant achievements, including being a founding manager within the VSBA, working with government to secure more than $10 billion in funding for various initiatives, leading the Asset Management Reform initiative in schools and supporting DHHS during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is the connection with people and focus on delivering public value that Tyron considers the most enjoyable aspects of the public sector.

As Director, Regional Division, Tyron will oversee the establishment of the Regional Centres, bringing together key stakeholders across Victoria, working with the VSBA to identify and design the centres and bring them to life as high quality and accessible professional learning locations.   

Last updated 06 March 2023