Learn about our keynote speaker, expert practitioners and panel members. 

Samantha Gash

Samantha Gash

Samantha went from the bottom of the class in school athletics to become the first woman and the youngest person to complete the ‘Four Deserts’ Grandslam – one of the toughest endurance competitions that spans 1000 kilometres across Chile, China, Egypt and Antarctica.

She has used her running as a vehicle for social impact when she ran 3200 kms across India to raise awareness and help children gain access to education.

Samantha has learnt that endurance is a mindset. She believes in access to education and social change, using her platform to bring awareness to the plight of many through her affiliation with charities such as World Vision, Save the Children and The Royal Flying Doctors Service.


Caroline Mazurkiewicz

Learning Designer, Bastow

Caroline has worked in education for over 30 years, with extensive experience in secondary teaching and leadership, regional leadership, coaching and mentoring, HR and recruitment, corporate management and learning design. She believes in authentic leadership that recognises and values the strengths and expertise of others.

Chris Dickinson

Manager, Victorian Aspirant Principal Assessment, Bastow

Chris has extensive experience working in the principal preparation space, having spent the better part of the last decade working within Bastow and the Department in the development of policy and professional learning. Chris has a Master of Educational Management and an interest in utilising a sound evidential basis on which to recognise accomplished performance and readiness for the principal role. He is passionate about creating a means for aspiring principals from all pathways to evaluate their readiness and identify their developmental needs.

Geri Wild

Manager, Talent Management and Global Connections, Bastow

Geri is an expert in adult learning and has unwavering commitment to public education and system improvement. Geri has a Master of Educational Leadership and has led strategic change management projects across the education sector in Australia and internationally.  Geri has led the design and delivery of highly effective Bastow leadership programs and is leading the state-wide implementation of the talent management framework.

Matt Tibble

Manager, Learning, Development and Innovation, Bastow

Matt has worked in the education sector since 2010, predominately in educational leadership (focused on adult learning) designing a number of the Department’s leadership development programs. Prior to this, he was managing director of a marketing consulting business and head of marketing in a large not for profit.

Narissa Leung 

Education Consultant, Lead and Learn Ed Consulting 

Narissa is a former primary school principal and Network Chair. She currently works as an education consultant in Victoria and facilitates a number of Bastow professional learning. Narissa has experience working in a variety of schools and is passionate about all thing’s leadership and literacy.  She also doesn’t mind a bit of technology!

Prue Robertson

Professional Practice Leader of Community Participation and Engagement, DET

Prue is a qualified social worker with in-school experience and a passion for trauma informed practice. She is currently leading a Department project focusing on supporting schools with complex student issues using a multidisciplinary approach.

Sharon Butler 

Founder and Consultant, Silent Partners Learning Services

Sharon has been consulting to the Department for more than 20 years on leadership development, working with individuals, teams and schools. She recently completed an Advanced Diploma of Neuroscience of Leadership and takes a brain-based approach to her work. She believes that if we understand what is happening in our and others’ brains, we can be more effective both intra and inter-personally. 

Teresa Stone 

Leadership Advisor and Manager of Strategic Projects OTL™, Bastow

Teresa  was Principal of Derrimut Primary, a large school in Melbourne’s west. She is an experienced educational leader who has worked in a wide range of school contexts in the metropolitan, outer west and northern suburbs. Teresa is passionate about creating learning environments that are innovative and collaboratively developed to support all learners to be the best they can be.



Frank Vetere 

Principal, Point Cook Prep - Year 9 College

Located in one of the fastest developing ‘growth corridors’, the College has a current enrolment of 1579 and 130 staff. Frank is a graduate of Bastow's Unlocking Potential: Principal Preparation program. Leading such a large and complex organisation, Frank realised the need to invest in the development of a strong and capable leadership team. 

Jodie Bray

Principal, Hillsmeade Primary School

Jodie believes she has been fortunate to teach across Year Prep - 12 over her career. Some of her career highlights include being in Pilot 2 of the Primary Mathematics and Science Specialist Initiative, graduating from Bastow's Leading Mathematics, participating in a study tour of Vancouver, British Columbia plus being part of the University of Melbourne Network of Schools.

John Cardamone 

Leading Teacher in Social and Emotional Learning, Hillsmeade Primary School

Josh has taught both in the private and public sector, and has been lucky enough to have the opportunity to teach across a range of year levels. His purpose and passion is working with children in the mental health and wellbeing space every day and having a positive impact. Some of his key achievements include implementing frameworks from a whole school perspective that has impacted positively on staff, students and the community.

Monica Simmons 

Generalist Teacher, Point Cook Prep – Year 9 College

Monica has worked at Point Cook College for the past 3 years across Year 1 and 2. She has worked to support and be part of the school culture, having developed a number of relationships with not only teachers from her own team but many educators who have assisted her to continually improve her capacity as a teacher and to improve the engagement of her students in their learning.