Speakers and workshops

Read about our speakers and their workshops plus any pre-reading materials. 

Head shot of Anne Bayetto

Anne Bayetto is a member of the Research in Inclusive and Specialised Education group at Flinders University, South Australia and teaches undergraduate and postgraduate topics focusing on school students who have literacy and/or numeracy difficulties.

Since 1989, Anne has worked with the Specific Learning Difficulties Association of South Australia as an academic mentor to the directors. She was also the founding member of the South Australian Department of Education Learning Difficulties Support Team.

As the reading expert for the Principals as Literacy Leaders (PALL) program in Australia, Anne was part of a team gathering data from PALL participants and developing case studies in schools to learn about effective, long-term approaches.

Anne delivers professional learning sessions for teachers and leaders across Australia, with a focus on using evidence-based research to inform practical and sustainable programming.

Workshop: Leading reading in the secondary school 

Designed specifically for and targeted to secondary leaders and the secondary context, this workshop will encourage participants to explore the work of designing and implementing a literacy (reading) improvement strategy within their schools.

Anne will share her expertise and knowledge on what researchers recommend for effective leadership of reading in secondary schools. She will also highlight research findings about the practicalities of how leaders lead reading improvement, with a focus on what works well and what leaders need to consider and address.

Pre-reading material

Lemov, D. (2017). How knowledge powers readingEducational Leadership, 74(5), 10-16

Cummins, S. (2017). The case for multiple texts. Educational Leadership, 74(5), 66-71

Head shot of Alex Snow

Alex Snow is Head of Research at The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA). He is a social researcher, solution designer and strategic communicator with over 15 years’ experience in education and social change across South East Asia and Australia.

Alex is responsible for directing and managing FYA’s leading research projects, supporting the organisation’s five-year strategic plan and Theory of Change core objectives.

Alex is also a workshop facilitator, lecturer and published author in the Masters of International Development program at RMIT University.

Workshop: Preparing young Australians for a rapidly changing world of work (secondary) 

Alex will discuss how to prepare young Australians for a rapidly changing world of work, providing school leaders with theories and practices to support ongoing improvement and workshopping ideas to contextualise the content for schools.

Head shot of Susan Greenfield

Baroness Susan Greenfield is a research scientist, author and broadcaster based in the UK. An expert on the human brain, Susan is renowned for her research into Alzheimer’s disease and the impact of screen technologies on the brain.

She has held research fellowships in the Department of Physiology Oxford, the College de France, Paris, and NYU Medical Center, New York. In 2000, she was elected to an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians. She also held a Visiting Professorship at the Medical School, University of Melbourne.

Recognition for her work includes the Golden Plate Award (2003) from the Academy of Achievement, Washington, the L’Ordre National de la Légion d’honneur (2003) from the French Government, and the 2010 Australian Medical Research Society Medal.

Susan is CEO of Neuro Bio, a biotech company she founded in 2013.

Website: http://www.susangreenfield.com/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/baroness-susan-greenfield-a96a99172/
Twitter: @baroness_susan

Workshop: Power of the human brain: What do we know about the brain and the impact of screen technologies and learning?

This compelling workshop will explore the impact of technology on young minds and learning. Susan will overview the human brain and its structure, debunk myths about the brain, and lay out the research into the effects of technology on developing brains, including links between autistic type behaviour and the screen.

Participants will explore the impact of technology on different types of behaviour (positive and meaningful vs negative and meaningless), including a reduction in interpersonal communication skills. Susan will also set out the characteristics of the mind of the future, leading participants to consider the impact of technology and how to achieve a healthy balance for students in their learning.

Pre-reading material 

Children and Young People: Digital Technology (PDF 118KB)

Headshot of Charles Leadbeater

Charles Leadbeater is a leading authority on innovation and creativity based in London, UK. He has advised companies, cities and governments around the world on innovation strategy.  

His 2008 book We-think: The Power of Mass Creativity charts the rise of mass, participative approaches to innovation, from science and open source software, to computer games and political campaigning.

Charles is an advisor to the UK Department for Education Innovation Unit on future strategies for more networked and personalised approaches to education. He is also visiting senior fellow at the British National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts, and a senior research associate with London think-tank Demos. Charles was profiled by the New York Times in 2004 for generating one of the best ideas of the year, the rise of the activist amateur, outlined in his report The Pro-Am Revolution.

Website: http://charlesleadbeater.net/
LinkedIn: https://au.linkedin.com/in/charles-leadbeater-38065951
Twitter: @LeadbeaterCh

Workshop: Leading in uncertain times 

In this workshop, Charles will discuss leading in uncertain times, providing school leaders with theories and practices to support continuous improvement. The discussion will focus on student agency and how schools can equip young people to deal with profound and dramatic events in their lives.

Headshot of Barbara Blackburn

Dr Barbara Blackburn, ranked number 5 in the Top 30 Global Gurus in Education in the US, has dedicated her life to raising the level of rigour and motivation for professional educators and students.

She has taught early childhood, primary and high school students and has served as an educational consultant for 3 publishing companies. Barbara has used her knowledge and experiences as a teacher, leader and university professor responsible for graduate training for educators, to write 18 bestselling books.

In addition to speaking at state and national conferences, Barbara also regularly presents workshops for school teachers and administrators. Her workshops are lively, engaging and practical, and cover topics that focus on rigorous schools, classrooms and assessments; research-based engaging instruction; and high expectations and increased support leading to success.

Website: http://www.barbarablackburnonline.com/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/barbarablackburnonline/
Twitter: @BarbBlackburn

Workshop: Rigour, motivation and engagement for teachers and leaders 

In this session, Barbara will lead an exploration of rigour – what it is, what it looks like in the classroom, and some of the myths that surround it – by going deeper into the criteria for identifying rigour.

Barbara will examine the leadership activities that shape culture in a school and provide a ‘follow-up package’ of three resources leaders can implement to motivate and engage teachers and leaders in a culture of rigour. This session is closely aligned with and linked to the Framework for Improved Student Outcomes, the Victorian Teaching and Learning Model, and High Impact Teaching Strategies.

Pre-reading material 

Myths of Rigour (PDF 733KB)

Professional Development Sessions on Instructional Rigour (PDF 2125KB)

Rigorous Schools and Classrooms: Leading the Way (PDF 1018KB)

Head shot of Catherine Attard

Catherine Attard is an Associate Professor in primary mathematics education and Deputy Director of Research at the School of Education, Western Sydney University.

Catherine has transformed teaching and learning in primary mathematics at Western Sydney University. She combines a dedication for teaching engaging mathematics with her experiences as a primary classroom teacher to motivate and inspire teachers. Her research focuses on student engagement with mathematics.

Catherine has won several teaching awards, including a 2016 Teaching Excellence Award from Australian Award for University Teaching and the Western Sydney University Vice-Chancellor Excellence in Teaching Award.

In 2017, she appeared in The Educator's Hot List as one the most influential educators in Australia. She is president of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia, editor of the Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom journal and author of the Engaging Maths blog.

LinkedIn: https://au.linkedin.com/in/catherine-attard-8a38b490
Twitter: @attard_c

Workshop: Engaging students with mathematics 

Drawing on her extensive research into the influences on student engagement with mathematics, Catherine will lead participants through an exploration of the pedagogy, theories and practices to actively engage students with mathematics. Catherine will work with school leaders as they consider the strategies, approaches and actions they can apply in their own schools to engage students with mathematics, and what this engagement looks like in the classroom.

Head shot of Debbie Pushor

Dr Debbie Pushor is a professor in the Department of Curriculum Studies at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. She is a passionate advocate for authentic parent partnerships. 

Debbie has worked as a teacher, consultant, principal and central services administrator. Her experiences as a parent of school-aged children led to her interest in the positioning of parents in relation to schools.

In her research, Debbie investigates parent knowledge, engagement and leadership. In her teaching, she focuses on the positioning of parents in relation to school landscapes - an often absent or underrepresented conversation.

Debbie draws on her expertise and experience as an author, researcher, parent and higher education teacher to reveal how the knowledge of parents improves the learning outcomes of children.

LinkedIn: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/debbie-pushor-45b1aa44
Twitter: @DrDebbiePushor

Workshop: Parent engagement and leadership 

In this session, Debbie will differentiate between parent involvement and parent engagement, and develop an understanding of parent engagement as a philosophy and a pedagogy. She will discuss how, in adopting parent engagement as a philosophy and pedagogy, educators are tasked with shifting from a ‘school centric’ definition of family involvement (Lawson, 2003) to one that is family centric instead. Drawing from her research, Debbie will explore what parent knowledge is, how parents hold and use their knowledge, and how that knowledge can be used in schools alongside teacher knowledge to enrich teaching and learning opportunities for students.

Head shot of Doug Fisher

Dr Douglas Fisher is currently Chair of the Department of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University and a teacher leader at Health Science High and Middle College, San Diego, USA.

He teaches courses on instructional improvement, lesson design and delivery, policy, research and literacy. He is passionate about school improvement and has published widely on improving student achievement, reading and literacy, differentiated instruction and curriculum designs.

Douglas is the recipient of an International Reading Association Celebrate Literacy Award, the Farmer Award for Excellence in Writing from the National Council of Teachers of English and a Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education Award from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. 

He has served on the board of directors for the California Reading Association, International Reading Association, and Literacy Research Association.

Website: https://www.fisherandfrey.com/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/douglas-fisher-86478010

Workshop: Designing literacy for learning

In this workshop, Doug will explain how to apply Visible Learning to literacy, providing school leaders with theories and practices to support ongoing improvement. With an emphasis on student learning data, Doug will focus on quality instruction as a key driver of school improvement and creating a positive culture of achievement.

Head shot of Jan Owen

Dr Jan Owen is a highly regarded social entrepreneur, innovator, influencer and author who has spent the past 25 years growing Australia’s youth, social enterprise and innovation sectors. 

Jan is the Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation for Young Australians and YLab, the global youth futures lab. Her lifelong mission is to unleash the potential of young people to lead positive change in the world. 

Jan’s enlightening, challenging and entertaining presentations are pragmatic as opposed to idealistic, with the aim of transforming the way society talks about and engages with young people – from treating them as a problem to be solved to recognising that young people are contributing to and driving social change.

In 2000, Dr Owen was received as Member of the Order of Australia, and in 2012 was named Australia's inaugural Australian Financial Review and Westpac Woman of Influence.

Website: https://www.fya.org.au/
Linkedin: https://au.linkedin.com/in/jan-owen-b854a828
Twitter: @JanOwenAM

Workshop: Preparing young Australians for a rapidly changing world of work 

Jan Owen will discuss how to prepare young Australians for a rapidly changing world of work, providing school leaders with theories and practices to support ongoing improvement, and workshopping ideas to contextualise the content for schools.

Head shot of John Hattie

Professor John Hattie is internationally acclaimed for his research in education, including the field of assessment and evaluation. His research interests include performance indicators, models of measurement, and evaluation of teaching and learning.

John’s seminal 2008 book Visible Learning is a synthesis of more than 800 meta-studies covering more than 80 million students and represents the largest evidence-based research into what works in schools to improve student learning.

John is Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute at the University of Melbourne and Chair of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. Previously, he was Professor of Education at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. He holds a PhD from the University of Toronto, Canada.

Website: https://visible-learning.org/

Workshop: Visible Learning

In this session Dr John Hattie will present recent research on leadership in schools.

The session will review an update of the Visible Learning research on school leadership; the need for high standards for becoming and growing as a leader; the development of system school leaders across schools; the privileging of expertise; and some recent trends in Australian education (science of learning, the role of evidence institutes, and learning progressions).

Head shot of Peter DeWitt

Dr Peter DeWitt is a former school principal and classroom teacher from Upstate New York, USA. A school leadership coach in North America, Peter runs competency-based workshops and delivers keynotes all over the world on connective leadership and fostering inclusive school climates.

Peter works with school districts and boards on collaborative leadership’s 6 influences that matter most (instructional leadership, collective efficacy, professional learning, feedback, assessment capable learners, and family engagement).

He is the creator of the Finding Common Ground blog, the School Administrators Association of New York State’s 2013 Outstanding Educator of the Year, and the 2015 Education Blogger of the Year (Academy of Education Arts and Sciences). Peter also sits on the panel of experts for NBC Universal's Education Nation.

Website: http://www.petermdewitt.com/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/peter-dewitt-ed-d-b076ba85?trk=hp-identityname
Twitter: @PeterMDeWitt

Workshop: Collaborative professionalism

Collaborative leadership creates a school climate that focuses on learning and helps make the leader part of an ongoing dialogue.

In this session, participants will examine the 6 influences of instructional leadership: collective efficacy, professional learning, feedback, assessment, capable learners and family engagement. Peter will guide the discussion to explore excellence in teaching and learning, creating a positive climate for learning, professional leadership and community engagement.

The workshop will also focus on mindfulness (social-emotional learning) and creating an atmosphere that will help our marginalised populations feel included.

Pre-reading material

A letter from Dr Peter DeWitt outlining key resources and pre-conference tasks (PDF 83KB)

Head shot of Robert Biswas-Diener

Dr Robert Biswas-Diener is a psychologist, researcher and author from Oregon, USA. He is known as the ‘Indiana Jones of Positive Psychology’ because his work on positive topics such as happiness, altruism and hospitality have taken him around the world.

Robert also consults with a wide range of groups on individual, team and organisational success. He is especially fascinated by effective pedagogy and has published several articles on new approaches for increasing student engagement. He specialises in the practical application of positive psychology to the workplace and to professional development.

Robert is also a senior editor at Noba, a publisher that provides free educational materials to students and teachers.

Website: http://robertdiener.com/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-biswas-diener-a860289
Twitter: @biswasdiener

Workshop: Strength-based learning culture

Teaching is, in many ways, an embattled profession. Rapid changes in technology, government policy, diversity and parental involvement create challenges and stress for instructors.

In this experiential workshop, participants will be introduced to methods for promoting a more positive school culture. The workshop will focus on complaining – exploring why people complain, what they complain about, and the effects of complaining. The discussion will centre on more effective alternatives to complaining. It will also highlight a research rationale for promoting a positive school culture and some of the obstacles to and tools for doing so.

Head shot of Tim Soutphommasane

Professor Tim Soutphommasane is a human rights advocate and political theorist. His thinking on diversity, race and identity has shaped debates in Australia and Britain. He is currently Professor of Practice (Sociology and Political Theory) at the University of Sydney.

Previously, Tim was Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner from 2013 to 2018.

He is also the author of 5 books, including his most recent, On Hate, a reflection on current debates about race and the rise of the far-right. His research interests include national identity, multiculturalism and race, political ideologies, and Australian politics and society.

Tim is director of The Cranlana Programme, an independent not-for-profit organisation that promotes informed discussion on matters of responsible leadership and ethical practice, and was the founding chair of the Leadership Council on Cultural Diversity.

LinkedIn: https://au.linkedin.com/in/tim-soutphommasane-1205a9104
Twitter: @timsout

Workshop: Supporting all students to strive for their potential

With an overarching theme of human rights, equality and social inclusion, Tim will encourage school leaders to focus on questions of cultural and racial literacy and their role in educating students for citizenship and social democracy.

In this session, Tim aims to actively engage participants and invite them into the conversation early to ensure a deep exploration of what it means to engage and educate students in citizenship and social democracy.

Head shot of Russell Quaglia

Dr Russell Quaglia is a globally recognised pioneer in the field of education and is known as America’s foremost authority on student voice and aspirations. His innovative work is evident in the My Voice suite of surveys and associated professional development products.

For over 30 years, Russell and his team at the Quaglia Institute for School Voice & Aspirations in Florida, USA, have been collecting information about what education stakeholders think, believe and feel about their schools. The data from these surveys shows that certain conditions must be present in a school for students to reach their full potential.

Russell has been awarded numerous honorary doctorates in humanitarian services for his dedication to students. He is also Chief Academic Officer of the Student Engagement Trust, a non-profit organisation based in the UK, and founder and chair of the Aspirations Academies Trust.

Website: http://quagliainstitute.org/qisva/

Workshop: Student voice, agency and leadership

In this session, Russell will share his blueprint for guiding students to find their true voice. Participants will build their knowledge and understanding of student voice, agency and leadership. They will also discover how to create learning experiences to meet students’ individual learning needs and aspirations through genuine voice, agency and leadership.

Pre-reading material

My Voice Potential (PDF 137KB)

Head shot of Penny Jayne

Penny Jayne is a data literacy specialist and passionate educator from Victoria. She is a certified Data Wise coach with the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Data Wise is an inquiry process that addresses all aspects of the instructional core – student, content and teacher – and enables schools to look at data in a respectful way, advancing student learning and instruction.

Penny works for the Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership to build the data literacy of school leaders across the system, delivering bespoke workshops for principal networks and learning specialists.

She was the faculty co-chair at the first international Data Wise Institute. Her work with the Data Wise Project saw her recognised as an elite Australian Young Educational Leader (2015). Penny is a mentor to Data Wise coach candidates and is a member of the Data Wise Advisory Board.

LinkedIn: https://au.linkedin.com/in/penny-jayne-50b859128
Twitter: @PPJayne

Workshop: Harvard Data Wise (secondary) 

In this workshop, Penny will address:

  1. Technical and adaptive challenges: examining change theory and the difference between technical and adaptive change. While technical challenges do not require changes in mindset, adaptive challenges require a change in mindset and belief. This goes to the ‘why’ of assessment.
  2. The instructional core: exploring the relationship between students, content and teachers.
  3. The ‘golden circle’: challenging people to look at the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of what they are planning to do in their schools.

Penny will demonstrate how Harvard DataWise links to the Framework for Improved Student Outcomes; complements Department strategies, resources and tools; and provides school leaders and teachers with a clear process of improvement to monitor, evaluate, analyse and inform student learning for improved outcomes.

Head shot of Fazal Rizvi

Professor Fazal Rizvi is Professor in Global Studies in Education at the University of Melbourne, Emeritus Professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and Research Fellow at the Australia-India Institute.

While Fazal’s academic background is in philosophy, for the past decade his research has focused on education, public policy and global studies.

He has an international reputation in several academic areas, including racism and multicultural education, Australia-Asia relations, educational policy research models, globalisation and international education theories and youth culture.

Fazal has published more than 18 books and over 100 articles, including including Globalizing Education Policy and Youth Moves: Identities and education in global perspective. 

He delivered the Routledge Lecture at the British Educational Research Association conference, the keynote at the Association of International Education conference, and the Radford Lecture at the Australian Association of Research in Education conference.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/fazal-rizvi-b3637415

Workshop: Global engagement and leading student development

Global shifts relating to migration, citizenship and technology mean that students from migrant backgrounds are more connected with social and political developments in their country of origin than ever before.

In this workshop, Fazal will explore some of the pedagogic implications of this trend towards global engagement in today’s classrooms, including challenges and opportunities for teaching practice. Participants will be encouraged to consider a number of vignettes and share their own stories of working in culturally diverse and globally connected classrooms.

Head shot of  Robyn Ewing

Robyn Ewing is Professor of Teacher Education and the Arts at the University of Sydney. She teaches in the areas of curriculum of English and Drama, language and early literacy development.

Robyn is passionate about the arts and education and the role quality arts experiences and processes play in creative pedagogy and transforming the curriculum.

Her research focuses on the use of educational or process drama with authentic literary texts to develop students' imaginations and critical literacies. She is interested in teacher education, mentoring, sustaining curriculum innovation, and evaluation, inquiry and case-based learning.

Robyn is a member of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School Council, an Honorary Associate with Sydney Theatre, and Visiting Scholar at Barking Gecko Children's Theatre. She was president of the Primary English Teachers Association (2001­-06) and president of the Australian Literacy Educators Association (2011-15).

LinkedIn: https://au.linkedin.com/in/robyn-ewing-39b59435

Workshop: Enhancing literacy outcomes through drama and literature 

Robyn’s workshop will engage participants in conversations about literacy, focusing on the use of the arts and drama to engage students in literacy learning. Modelling strategies and approaches that apply across the curriculum, Robyn will challenge participants to transform their pedagogy and deepen their ability and willingness to understand teaching as a form of artistic endeavour and creative thinking.

Through this highly interactive workshop, participants will gain an understanding of how to engage all students (including those performing well above expected levels as well as those who find literacy learning challenging) in literacy, across the curriculum. Participants will be challenged to consider the implications of this work in supporting their own teachers to improve literacy learning outcomes for all students.

Head shot of Tony Townsend

Professor Tony Townsend is an expert in the areas of leadership, school effectiveness, school improvement, teacher education, and community education and development. Tony is also a celebrated author and keynote speaker.

After more than 20 years at Monash University, he became Chair and Professor of Educational Leadership at Florida Atlantic University, Professor of Educational Management at the University of Glasgow, and recently, Professor of Educational Leadership and Improvement at the University of Tasmania and Professor of Educational Leadership at Griffith University.

Tony was president of the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement and the International Council on Education for Teaching and a Travelling Scholar for the Australian Council for Educational Leaders. Since 2004, he has been involved in the Principals as Literacy Leaders (PALL) program and the Principals as Strategic Leaders program in Australian states.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tony-townsend-8089181a

Workshop: Careful driving in the fast lane: Moving towards leadership for learning and connecting primary and secondary leaders 

Leaders currently drive in a fast lane, brought about by change, by increased expectations and by accountability. At the same time, they are tasked with guiding all students to successful destinations, so they also need to be careful drivers.

In this workshop, Tony will focus on identifying and discussing some of the factors related to these issues of leadership, and how school leaders might use the Department’s tools and resources to support student learning.

Participants will be encouraged to consider how change is impacting on their school and how their school’s context has been considered in dealing with these changes.

Pre-reading material 

Leadership for Learning in my School (PDF 35KB)

The Leadership for Learning Blueprint in my School (PDF 41KB)

Principles of Practice in your school: Where are we? (PDF 18KB)

Leading Schools in the 21st Century: Careful Driving in the Fast Lane (PDF 497KB) 

Head shot of Richard Gerver

Richard Gerver has been described as one of the most inspirational leaders of his generation. He is an award-winning speaker, bestselling author and world-renowned thinker.

Richard began his career in education, most notably as headmaster of the failing Grange Primary School in the UK. In just 2 years, he transformed the school into one of the most acclaimed learning environments in the world. He was celebrated by UNESCO and the UK Government for this incredible turnaround.

The three core principles underpinning Richard's philosophy are communication, empowerment and impact. He argues that great leadership is about serving the needs of the people who work for you. His mantra: systems and structures change nothing; people do.

Richard’s first book, Creating Tomorrow’s Schools Today, has become a seminal text around the world for those engaged in transforming education.

Website: https://www.richardgerver.com/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/richard-gerver-2455913/
Twitter: @richardgerver

Workshop: Leadership and change: System to school 

‘Education that makes a difference’

Richard will share his practical experience and research on how to build an innovative education system that delivers high-impact results for all learners. He will offer insights from his work leading the development of one of the world’s most innovative schools, together with unique perspectives from world leaders, Nobel Prize winning scientists and business titans.

Richard will encourage participants to consider the future of education and the challenge of ensuring our students are prepared not only to survive but to thrive in an exponentially changing world. This session will explore fundamental questions about leadership, curricular design and quality based on clarity of vision, values and purpose.