As you would be aware, we had to postpone the 2020 awards, and we are planning on combining the 2020 awards with the 2021 awards. To acknowledge the excellent work of our 2020 award winners, I will be showcasing our winners in these fortnightly updates.

Warren Symonds
ACEL SA Branch President

Awardees Distinguished Contribution to Research in Educational Leadership Award: Emeritus Professor Kay Whitehead
Emeritus Professor Kay Whitehead was formerly Professor of History of Education at Flinders University. Kay held the positions of Deputy Dean of Education (2012-2015), Associate Dean and Program Director. Kay previously held appointments at the University of Canberra, University of Adelaide, the University of South Australia after an initial career of a teacher and Deputy Principal in the Education Department of South Australia. Kay is a leading expert in the history of Education and particularly the history of women in Education. Her current research is situated in the burgeoning field of transnationalism, drawing on ‘new’ imperial history to study the transnational flow of educators, practices and ideas between the white settler nations (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa), the United States of America, the United Kingdom and former African colonies. The implications of gender, class and race for socially just societies are key foci. Emeritus Professor Kay Whitehead has explored the lives and work of educators who travelled internationally in connection with their careers, including migrants, sojourners and exchange teachers. Kay publishes her extensive research in a wide range of contemporary education and history journals, books and conferences, thereby ensuring that her research has social and policy relevance in the globalized world today. Her research has informed educational leadership, policy and practice across Australia and internationally by contributing to a greater understanding of how teachers and leaders portray the lands, people and school systems, curriculum and pedagogies they encounter, which offers tools for critical thinking by practitioners and leaders about Education and schooling in a range of educational contexts. Kay’s research provides for a substantial contribution to understanding the relevance and importance of past leaders and the contribution their ideas, perceptions and perspectives have made, informing current practices and education policy through understanding the development of ideas about Education, social justice and gender.

ACEL SA Media Award: Rob Johnson
Through his work at the SACE Board, Rob Johnson strives to breakdown stereotypes and change the conversation of how success in the SACE is represented in the media. He has had tremendous success in getting SA media outlets to take up stories showcasing SACE success in many different forms, not just through academic achievement and the ATAR. (See examples at

Rob’s stories feature students who have achieved their SACE in their distinct way, often overcoming adversity, and using the flexibility of the curriculum to persevere and create a foundation for themselves to thrive. Rob ensures that each story is diverse in terms of cultural background, and location, and strong in student voice. In the past two December results releases, local media outlets from TV, radio and print used Rob’s media releases to make contact with the students and feature them in their SACE results stories. Rob ensures there are enough stories to go around, so each media outlet has a unique and exclusive story, which also helps to promote the breadth of achievement in the SACE.

An example was AJ Crocker, an Aboriginal student who was the first in his family to achieve the SACE last year. The oldest of nine children, AJ was interviewed by Channel 10 News, an experience that will stay with him for a long time. The story centred on AJ’s ability to inspire others, not on his overall results.

Rob has created a portal on the SACE website for student success stories - The portal sits within the student section of the website and serves to provide new SACE students with an insight into what success looks like in the SACE, minus the ATAR. This section also provides an important channel for future promotion of the SACE Board’s new ‘Learner Profile’ concept.

Your Full List of 2020 Awardees:

The Alby Jones Gold Medal Award 2020:

  • Simon Murray OAM

ACEL Educational Leadership Medal 2020:

  • Karen Fitzpatrick
  • Peter Mader
  • Deb Merrett

ACEL (SA) Fellowship Award:

  • Meredith Edwards

The Pip Field Emerging Leaders Award:

  • Martyn Anderson
  • Patrick Harmer
  • Rebecca Baker

The ACEL (SA) Distinguished Contribution to Research in Educational Leadership Award:

  • Associate Professor Mathew White
  • Emeritus Professor Kay Whitehead

The ACEL (SA) Media Award:

  • Tim Williams
  • Rob Johnson