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Speakers and workshops

The conference includes a range of excellent speakers and workshops, including a variety of guest and school workshops and two keynote addresses.
Principals Conference workshop

Keynote speakers

Dr Kirstin Ferguson AM

Dr Kirstin Ferguson AM

Award-winning leadership researcher, bestselling author, columnist, and keynote speaker.  

“Leading with Impact: Mastering the art of modern leadership”

In this highly interactive keynote address, award-winning leadership expert and best-selling author Dr Kirstin Ferguson AM will entertain and challenge us about whether our leadership approach is still fit for purpose. Through the use of videos, case studies and her down-to-earth style, Kirstin will challenge each of us to think about how we can best role model leading with the head and heart amidst the competing demands on our time, and in an increasingly complex working environment. Using the latest research from her bestselling book, Head & Heart: The Art of Modern Leadership, Kirstin will bring a leadership lens which is guaranteed to inspire you to be the most effective leader you can be.

About Dr Kirstin Ferguson AM

Dr Jenny Donovan

Dr Jenny Donovan

CEO, Australian Education Research Organisation

“Using evidence on implementation and on practice: a powerful combination”

Instructional leadership is a big and complex job. The first part of this keynote will describe evidence from the research literature about leading school-level change, as well as insights from AERO’s own work to apply these approaches in Australian schools. One insight is perhaps self-evident, but often overlooked: change efforts should focus on teaching practices that are most likely to deliver improved learning.

The second part of this keynote will describe what we know about which practices these are. Combining evidence about implementation with evidence about what to implement offers a powerful pathway to maximising learning for every student.

About Dr Jenny Donovan, CEO of AERO

Workshop presenters

  • Dave Faulkner – CEO and Co-founder, Education Changemakers: ‘Dream Team: A practical guide to leading improvement as a team’
  • Dr Richard Chambers – Clinical psychologist and leadership consultant: 'Enhancing collaboration through empathic communication, conflict resolution, and psychological safety'
  • Elizabeth Branigan – Educational leadership expert, Philanthropy Australia ‘Deep Listening for Networking and Collaboration’
  • Emily Unity – Youth mental health advocate, software engineer and creative designer ‘Consultation to Co-Design: Principles and Methods for Collaborative Leadership’
  • Emina McLean – Lecturer, researcher and English leader, La Trobe University ‘Leveraging literacy leadership in schools and systems’
  • Hannah Matus - A/Project Director and Nerida Mason - Manager Information Sharing Implementation, Victorian Child Information Sharing Division ‘Working together to promote student wellbeing and safety through Child Link
  • Jason Smallwood - Executive Director Curriculum and Leyna Buller - Senior Policy and Strategic Advisor F–10 Revision ‘Introduction to the Victorian Curriculum F–10 Version 2
  • Mel Neil – Founder and CEO, Mind Insurance ‘Positive Leadership - Creating the Conditions for Flourishing’
  • Scott Widmer - Assistant Deputy Secretary, Senior Secondary Pathways Reform Taskforce ‘Expanding the definition of success at school’
  • Kendra Parker - Director, Leadership Excellence Division, Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership and Simone Eirth - Principal in Residence, Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership 'Leading collaborative problem solving to drive school improvement'

School presentations

  • Auburn South Primary School & Alpine-Towong Network - Embedded wellbeing inquiry
  • Banyule Nillumbik Network Primary Secondary maths CoP - Improving mathematics teaching through collaboration across primary and secondary schools
  • Barwon North Central - Leading networks for impact
  • Bendigo Education Plan - Collaborative leadership of the Bendigo Education Plan shared goals and strategic plan.
  • Bruthen Primary School - Embedding student agency in classroom practice
  • Central Highlands schools - Leading and supporting the vision of Marrung  
  • Central Highlands South Network - Our journey to a highly valued, collaborative and focused network 
  • Chelsea Heights Primary School & Chelsea Primary School - Coaching and explicit teaching in clusters of schools in Kingston
  • Churchill Primary School - Instructional Leadership: Embedding Low Variance Across the School to Achieve High Performance
  • Echuca Transition Project: Strengthening transition – A leadership project highlighting collaboration across a cluster of schools
  • Euroa Primary School - Strategic School Improvement: Building Leadership Capacity
  • Greater Shepparton Secondary College, Rowville Secondary College - Senior Secondary Reform beyond curriculum change
  • Knox Network Boutique Schools and Lilydale District and Upper Yarra Education Plan - Strong collaboration leading to improved outcomes
  • Labertouche Primary School - Small schools and social and emotional learning
  • Lal Lal, Bungaree, Warrenheip & Mt Egerton Primary Schools - Small schools making a big difference together
  • Lilydale Heights Secondary College – A numeracy improvement journey
  • Macedon Ranges Network - Activating middle leadership - a Network approach.  
  • Mount Waverley North Primary School - Zero Tolerance to Racism: a whole school commitment
  • North Central Cluster - Supporting pathways in rural areas
  • P-12 Alliance and Country Education Partnership - Together We Thrive: P-12 principals united
  • Pascoe Vale Girls Secondary College - embedding the School Wide Positive Behaviour Support framework to positively impact school culture through evidence-based practices.
  • Rolling Hills and Mooroolbark College – Working together on 6-7 transition with a focus on improving Mathematics.
  • South Melbourne Primary School - Literature rich, knowledge-based curriculum
  • Sunbury Heights Primary School - Student and staff collaboration across Network schools in STEM programs and competitions.
  • Teaching Innovation Fellowship – Mount Rowan Secondary College Teaching Innovation project showcase ‘Improving Koorie cultural connections, agency and self-determination by applying responsive pedagogies’
  • Upper Plenty Primary School - Strengthening cognitive pathways to support student learning
  • Western Heights College - Strengthening cultural safety for Koorie students
  • Whittington Primary School - Trauma informed teaching and learning success
  • Wimmera South West Schools - Establishing Learning Communities to support leaders of schools with Numeracy and Literacy Improvement
  • Wodonga South Primary School - School Improvement practices that enable effective team performance 
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