These symposiums are a new addition to the conference program. In these sessions, facilitators will introduce the theme and summarise key research and best practice in each area. Speakers will then present for 10 minutes in their area of expertise, and answer questions from the facilitator and floor. This is a great opportunity to hear from experts in research or practice at the school, system or class level, and take part in in-depth discussion around the conference's theme of Vision and Voice.


Vision: Learning space - from architecture to pedagogy

In this session, presenters will discuss how the definition and design of "learning space" has changed in classrooms/schools, and the impact of these changes on students and staff. They will also discuss ways in which educational leaders need to adapt their pedagogy approaches to content, style and structure.

Sinan Kerimofski - FACILITATOR

Principal, Vasse Primary School; ACEL Board member

Sinan Kerimofski is the Principal of Vasse Primary School, an Independent Public School, situated in the southwest of Western Australia. He is also the "CAPES" region Network Principal. Sinan has worked in rural, regional and metropolitan schools in Western Australia over the past 26 years. His focus has been to ensure the school is well resourced with a strong positive culture through focussing on fostering positive relationships. He is also passionate about engaging students through creating flexible, adaptable and stimulating learning environments. Sinan is an ACEL Board member.

Dr Ken Avenell

Director of Formation and Identity, Toowoomba Catholic College

Ken Avenell is the Director of Formation and Identity for Toowoomba Catholic Education. His work centres around developing, coordinating and aligning capability through continuing formation, relationships and learning for individuals, teams and the TCS organisation. Dip Teach, Dip Theol, B. Ed., Grad. Dip ECE (Hons), M. Ed. Admin, Ed D, FAIM, FACEL, FQIEA, MAHRI, MACE, JP (Qual).

Murat Dizdar

Deputy Secretary, NSW Department of Education

Murat Dizdar PSM, Deputy Secretary, School Operations and Performance, leads the public education system of over 2200 NSW Department of Education schools that oversees the provision of a quality public education for over 800,000 students. Murat provides support to 80,000 teachers and school leaders to deliver a high-quality education for students. The division consists of teams that are responsible for school planning, ongoing self-assessment and external validation, annual reporting and policy implementation. Murat holds a Bachelor of Education (Secondary Humanities) majoring in Economics and Geography from the University of Sydney, and recently undertook the Leadership for the 21st Century course at Harvard Kennedy School. Murat was awarded the Australia Day Public Service Medal in 2016.

Steve Cook

Foundation Principal, Albert Park College

Steve Cook has led the development of two inner-city secondary schools in Melbourne. The Bayview Street Campus of Williamstown High School was the first 5-star green school built in Victoria, and featured innovative environmental design including a 1.8 hectare wetland and a Marine Education Centre. Currently, Steve is the Foundation Principal of Albert Park College. An investment of $26 million has been made in creating an open plan 21st Century learning environment in which the use of technology is king. Steve will outline the challenges educators face, and explore both the opportunities and challenges that a modern learning environment creates both for the designer and end-user of the school. He will also explore emerging trends in education and the implications that they represent for students, educators and architects.


Vision: Curiosity and innovation

In this session, presenters will draw on their experiences to provide insights into the strategies they use to create new ways of working to support educators to achieve the best outcomes for their students. This session will provide insights into the importance of curiosity and innovation for educational leaders.


ACEL Board member

Ann McIntyre is recognised for her work in effective teaching and leadership as well as school and system improvement. Ann is an educational researcher and writer, is an Honorary in Education at the University of Sydney and is the Australian National Researcher for the International Teacher Policy Study with the University of Stanford in California. As the Director of Professional Learning and Leadership Development in NSW she designed and led evidence-informed programs, system innovations and reforms that significantly influenced the work of teachers, leaders and schools. Ann is an ACEL Board member.

Chris Robertson

Principal, Aurora College

Chris Robertson’s career with the NSW Department of Education has spanned 31 years, including 20 years as a classroom teacher and Head Teacher in a number of high schools in Western Sydney. In the period 2008 to 2014, Chris held various state office positions in which he: designed and developed online and multimedia teaching and learning resources; managed statewide student engagement and teacher professional learning programs; provided curriculum support and strategic advice for schools integrating technologies in teaching and learning; and managed trials of next practice initiatives and evaluations of educational programs. In 2014, Chris collaborated with key stakeholders to plan for and operationalise Aurora College, NSW’s first virtual school. The Aurora model is highly innovative when compared with other virtual schools worldwide in that the majority of learning is based on face-to-face, real-time lessons, where students work with their peers and teachers in a cutting-edge virtual learning environment.

Sue Bell

President, Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals (VASSP)

Sue Bell has been involved in education for 40 years. She has taught and been a leader in tech schools, academic high schools and pathway colleges, giving her a broad view of the teaching and learning experience of local and international students. Sue was Executive Principal of Monash College, the pathway college for Monash University, for five years, with locations in the Clayton, Caulfield and Peninsula campuses of Monash University as well as four overseas campuses in Singapore, Guangzhou, Sri Lanka and Jakarta. Her passion has always been about improving learning outcomes for students through understanding how they learn best. Sue was then Principal of Wantirna College, where she worked with her staff and the local community to use data and research to maximise the learning of individuals. From the beginning of 2018, Sue has been supporting the work of secondary principals across the state and promoting public education through her role as President of Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals.

Dr Jane Hunter

Senior Lecturer, Research Intensive & Engagement Leader: STEM Education Futures Research Centre, University of Technology

Jane Hunter is a former primary and secondary school head teacher. Her research focusses on the pedagogical framework of High Possibility Classrooms and building teacher capacity; in April 2019, it was awarded HIGH impact by the Australian Research Council in the Engagement and Impact Assessment. Three studies that she has conducted in STEM in NSW schools are the subject of a new book, to be published in 2020, and reinforce the importance of teacher professional learning and constructing teacher agency through ongoing school-university partnerships. This latest publication follows Technology Integration and High Possibility Classrooms: Building from TPACK (2015) and has led transformative change in many schools. Jane is a requested keynote speaker at national and international education conferences. An award-winning leader, she works in the School of International Studies and Education in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Sydney.


Voice: Transforming practice through understanding context

In this session, the presenters will share ways in which educational leaders can improve practice through understanding relevant frameworks, research and best practice in relation to their particular context, within and outside their classroom, school or system.


Director, State Schools Division, Queensland Department of Education

Deb Kember has dedicated her career to improving school education for young people in Australia and New Zealand as a teacher, school and system leader, university staff member and professional association leader. She began her teaching career in Queensland as Head of Department Sport, Health & Physical Education and Geography. Deb is currently a Director in the State Schools Division of the Queensland Department of Education, working on systemwide, evidence-informed improvement. Establishing the State Schools Evidence Hub and supporting common languages and processes is a career highlight. Her other career highlights include establishing the Australian Institute for Teaching & School Leadership in Brisbane; working on the first draft of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers; contributing to the establishment of the Learning Place, DET’s eLearning environment; and working with the Queensland University of Technology oz-Teachernet team who pioneered teaching and learning using the internet. Deb is an ACEL Board member.

Leonie Clelland

Principal, Treendale Primary School

Leonie Clelland is the Foundation Principal of Treendale Primary School in Western Australia. Leonie is passionate about supporting teachers to provide opportunities for all students to succeed in an environment that fosters curiosity, creation and inquiry whilst nurturing happy kids. She has led a culture of growth and excellence at Treendale since its inception. Acknowledged as an Apple Distinguished School and Teacher Development School for Digital Technologies, teachers and leaders travel across the state to visit, learn from and be inspired. High levels of engagement are displayed at all times with staff and students learning together in spaces that promote and encourage choice. As an experienced school leader with more than 18 years in leadership roles across regional Western Australia and a member of the ACEL WA Branch Executive, Leonie brings knowledge and insight to this conversation.

Ann-Marie Furney

Director, SCHMIC Consulting

Ann-Marie Furney is an experienced school and systems leader with a passion for expanding opportunities for teachers and students in rural schools. Ann-Marie's recent work has focussed on activating and sustaining teacher collective efficacy. Helping teachers to work together to identify and address problems of learning and thinking. Throughout her career she has maintained a strong focus on pedagogy, innovation and teacher professional learning. Ann-Marie has always been interested in expanding opportunities for teachers and students to collaborate, to create new learning and expand their knowledge and experience. She led the implementation of xsel – a virtual selective high school operating across Western NSW. xsel was the first time synchronous IT delivery systems had been used to support the secondary education of an academically selective cohort of students.

Ann-marie founded SCHMIC Consulting in 2014. SCHMIC provides leadership, change management, strategic planning and teacher professional learning opportunities for schools and community organisations. Working collaboratively with colleague Kate English, Ann-marie co-wrote the Learning Thinking SCOPE a pedagogy of learning focusing on thinking. Incorporating a comprehensive professional learning program, delivered in context over time, Learning Thinking SCOPE is currently being tested by around 700 teachers working across years P-12 in rural, regional and metropolitan settings.

In 2016 Ann-marie was awarded an ACEL NSW Fellowship in recognition of her contribution to teacher professional learning and educational leadership. In 2019 she joined the NSW ACEL Executive.

Matthew Deeble

Director, Evidence for Learning

Matthew Deeble is the founding Director of the national, non-profit organisation Evidence for Learning. Matthew has more than 20 years’ experience in building and running enterprises in education and health. He co-founded Australia's first and largest schools internet supplier and is a non-executive Director of an evidence efficiency platform, Covidence.


Voice: Empowerment and agency

In this session, presenters will outline how to foster empowerment within a learning network by engaging and collaborating with a variety of stakeholders from parents, staff and teachers to students and the community.

Aderyn Chatterton - FACILITATOR

Executive Director of School Improvement and Leadership; ACEL Board member

Aderyn Chatterton has been the regional director of Darwin schools for the past four years. Prior to that she had 13 years’ experience as an assistant principal, teaching principal and principal in urban and remote schools in Queensland and the Northern Territory. Throughout all stages of her career she has remained passionate about identifying, supporting and challenging aspirant and emerging leaders. Most recently, this commitment has translated into the development of an innovative high potential leaders program that is about to be launched in the Darwin Region. Aderyn has been a member of the NT branch of ACEL for the past four years. Aderyn is an ACEL board member.

Sophie Murphy

K-12 Educational Leader and PhD Candidate, the University of Melbourne

Sophie Murphy is an experienced Kinder-Year 12 teacher and educational leader in Australia. She has taught and held leadership positions in both Primary and Secondary settings in the State and Independent sectors for over the past 20 years in Canberra and Victoria. She is currently completing her PhD with Professor John Hattie at the University of Melbourne. Sophie’s PhD research focus is on effective communication and transfer of understanding through discourse and questioning, with a specific focus on student and teacher talk. Sophie currently writesa segment for the AEL, sharing student voices from across Australia. Sophie is contributing valuable insights as a forward-thinking, relevant and responsive educator into the private world of student voice, teacher voice and the voice of the school leader to build a culture of success through language.

Sophie is a proud teacher advocate after experiencing a unique moment when she was on a plane and responded to the call of a teacher being on board to assist a teenage boy with down syndrome. When the story went viral, she shared that this is what ALL teachers do, every day. They communicate and connect.

Dr Barbara Watterston

Director, Watterston Consulting

Barbara Watterston is an education consultant, researcher and author. She has held a number of executive leadership positions across Australia in the education sector and learning institutes. She specialises in facilitation and research focussed on the design and delivery of professional learning programs to develop, enhance, and promote the work of the education profession – in particular school and system leadership to ensure learning for all can thrive. Her national research report, Insights: Environmental Scan Principal Preparation Programs contributed to five major national recommendations for preparing future school leaders. Barbara’s doctoral thesis focused on gender, leadership, and learning, which informed Women in School Leadership: Journeys to Success; and more recently Step In, Step Up: Empowering Women for the School Leadership Journey. Together with advocating for more diverse perspectives of leadership, she has a special interest in the links between leadership sustainability, wellbeing and impact on performance.

Hilary Bland

Principal, Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School

Hilary Bland is currently the Principal of The Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School (VCASS). She is an experienced educational leader who has held various roles in schools in Sydney, London and Melbourne. Hilary completed postgraduate studies in drama education at the Central School of Speech and Drama, London and later a Masters Degree through Monash University. In 2011 Hilary achieved Apple distinguished educator status for innovative leadership regarding technology. Recently she has studied positive psychology and is implementing learnings into the school environment. Hilary believes in the importance of giving students a global perspective to their studies and experiences. Not only is she passionate about Arts education, but she is also committed to adolescent health and well-being and leadership development.