2021 Menzies School Leader Fellows

What does leadership mean to you?

Maria Karvouni, Principal, Auburn High School: “My leadership journey has taught me that an effective school leader needs to develop a culture of trust and respect with their school community and adopt an inclusive vision through consultation with staff, students and parents. Leadership involves active listening, collaboration, sharing, celebrating successes and adapting to changes and challenges along the journey.

I am humbled and excited to be awarded the Collier School Leader Fellowship. My career has been dedicated to improving student outcomes and I have been drawn to lead in quite a diverse range of government schools. My leadership has involved building the capacity of those around me, especially encouraging my staff and students to take an active role in shaping the school’s vision and achieving shared goals.

The biggest lever that has shifted student outcomes has been instructional leadership, the creation of teaching teams, implementing evidence-based teaching and learning practices in all classrooms. This creates an environment of collective efficacy, where teachers collaborate, share practices and data and reflect on their practice.”

Kate Fogarty, Principal, Assumption College: “Great leaders are influencers. Forcing others to behave in a certain way might get outcomes, but it won’t inspire excellence or life-giving spirals of improvement. Effective leaders build a compelling story that is meaningful – they have clarity of vision, but hold the reigns loosely, so that pockets of innovation and creativity can flourish. They invite people into welcoming spaces of aspiration and belonging where the energy is catching…you can’t help but want to be involved and share in making something ‘more’.

Effective school leaders know that all of this is as true for our students as it is for our staff and our families.”

Judith Weir, Principal, Our Lady of Mercy College: “Building the collective efficacy of teachers to improve student learning is one of the most significant leadership challenges for any principal or leader within schools today. It is, however, one of our most important roles. Collective Efficacy allows teachers to work collaboratively to understand the strengths and challenges of their pedagogical practices and thrives in a culture of professional learning which supports each team and individual to provide the very best learning growth and opportunity for every teacher and student. Teachers grow to know their students and themselves well and as such can focus on tackling the most challenging aspects of practice. I am honoured to be part of such exciting and ground breaking work to support the achievement of the students of Our Lady of Mercy College and the broader educational community.”

Kate Dullard, Principal, Penleigh and Essendon Grammar: “To me, leadership is about listening and learning, understanding, setting a direction and bringing people with you. It involves developing a sense of collective responsibility, and to achieve that, there’s got to be a shared understanding of what we are working towards, how we will do it and why it is important. In education, this must be informed by the evidence about what we know has an impact on student learning, and with an understanding of the school and wider context.

I am surrounded by brilliant educators, both within my school and beyond its gates, and being open to learning from people around me has helped me to grow as a teacher and as a leader, and I hope to provide similar opportunities for the staff I work with to grow and develop, always with a strong sense of purpose and with students at the centre.”

Aaron Petersen, Assistant Principal, Glen Eira College: “Being a school leader is about guaranteeing the preconditions for learning – this allows students to make learning their focus. Partly this means providing skills and expertise to our young people, but it also means providing the time and opportunity for them to use those skills and expertise. Young people do important and valuable things every day; it’s my job to ensure that they have the support they need to keep doing these things in an ever changing world.”

Michelle Carroll, Principal, St Catherine’s School: “I am honoured to be the recipient of a Menzies Foundation Fellowship and look forward to strengthening my own leadership knowledge and skills throughout this program. As Principal, I believe leading a school provides the unique opportunity to positively impact the lives of our next generation, in addition to encouraging and inspiring the professional communities in schools. Communication, passion, authenticity and reflection are the hallmarks of great educational leaders that inspire me and are attributes I wish to emulate.”

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