Mary Jean Gallagher is an educator and leader with a passion for education improvement and a focus on excellence and equity.

Ms. Gallagher is the former chief student achievement officer and assistant deputy minister of the Ontario Ministry of Education, where she worked from 2008 to late 2015. In that role she led Ontario’s 5,000 schools in raising literacy and numeracy results by 18% and graduation results by 18.5%. Prior to the ministry, she served as director (Superintendent) of education of Canada’s southernmost school district, the Greater Essex County District School Board, and its predecessor, since 1995. Formerly a teacher of mathematics and computer science, she has also been chair of the Council of Ontario Directors of Education, CEO of the Ontario Education Improvement Commission, a secondary school principal and a school superintendent of staffing and development.

Ms. Gallagher now leads her own company, M.J. Gallagher and Associates, and is the senior lead for system improvement with Michael Fullan and Associates. She is currently named education advisor to the Department of Education for the state of Victoria, Australia and has provided presentations, advice and mentoring to school district leaders, ministries and departments of education in more than 26 countries on six continents. Dr. Gallagher has authored a number of publications on system reform in education. In recognition of her innovative leadership in education, she has received numerous professional awards, including an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Windsor in 2008, and Outstanding Educator of the Year Awards from the Ontario Phi Delta Kappan Association in 2013 and from the Ontario Principal’s Council in 2015. Most recently she was named Canada’s Outstanding Education Leader 2016 by The Learning Partnership of Canada. She also serves on the Professional Advisory Board of the Gerald H. Read Center for International and Intercultural Education at Kent State University.

System Transformation: Moving Towards The Light

Our recent book, The Devil is in the Details presents the need for educators to take advantage of our current times to lead the changes in education that we know our students need. Our school systems are strong, and teachers and leaders have demonstrated a level of persistence and resilience in meeting the COVID challenge. But it’s time now to move from being reactive to becoming more proactive, from feeling overwhelmed to leading forward together. We can work at all three levels of our school systems (government, regions and schools) to build a better system, one that can engage students differently in the real pursuit of excellence, equity and well-being. In this keynote Mary will present some of the practical strategies we can use to lead the changes ourselves, whatever our role in education.

The Devil Is in the Details : System Solutions for Equity, Excellence, and Student Wellbeing

Develop equity, excellence, and wellbeing across the whole system!

Our world needs a transformation to survive. We need a moral imperative and a system transformation to survive for the better. The Devil is in the Details shows how we can re-think the education system and its three levels of leadership?local, middle, and top?so that each level can contribute to dramatic transformation whether individually or collectively. The focus is on examining details to ensure correct actions are taken, rather than assuming large pronouncements will drive change.