Five Ways of Being
with Gavin Grift, Jane Danvers and Heather DeBlasio

Gavin Grift

Gavin Grift is the Founder and CEO of Grift Education. Gavin’s passion, commitment, humour and highly engaging style have made him one of Australia’s most in-demand presenters. Through his keynotes, seminars, and coaching services, Gavin connects with national and international audiences on how to cultivate authentic collaboration, build success in others and genuinely commit to reflective practice. His belief in the development of defined professional autonomy for educators both challenge and connect the head and heart of his audiences.

Having taught in schools and coached educators for over 25 years, Gavin understands the specific challenges teachers face. He is one of Thinking Collaborative’s most in-demand Cognitive Coaching Trainers, having delivered the Cognitive Coaching Seminar® for the past 10 years, working across three continents. He has used his passion and belief in what educational leaders do, collaborating with Jane Danvers and Heather DeBlasio to design the Five Ways of Being leadership program, focusing on leaders who feel ill-prepared, overwhelmed, and sometimes lack confidence in the impact they’re making.

As a leading Hawker Brownlow Education author, he has combined his beliefs, research and experiences on the importance of collaboration and coaching to co-author numerous books including Collaborative Teams that Work, 5 Ways of Being, Teachers as Architects of Learning, Transformative Talk, and Transformative Collaboration.

Jane Danvers

Jane Danvers is principal of South Australia’s renowned Wilderness School and was the inaugural principal of University Senior College. However, during the 20 years she has served Australia’s educational community, her leadership has extended far beyond the school gates.

As the presiding member of the South Australian Certificate of Education board (SACE) and chair of not-for-profit organisation Jam Factory, she has a deep understanding of the intricacies and challenges of leading others.

Jane plays an active role in shaping policy and driving positive change, and sits on industry-related committees including the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, the SA/NT State Advisory Council board and the Premier’s Council for Women.

A continuous learner, Jane has completed a master’s in education at the University of South Australia, the Oxford University’s High Performance Leadership Programme and Harvard University’s Leading Learning that Matters Project.

Jane has also presented at numerous national and international education conferences, including the Global Forum on Girls’ Education, uLead and the International Conference on Thinking. She has mentored new leaders and advocates for gender equality and diversity, having recently been quoted in Madonna King’s new book Being 14. She is proud to have overseen the development of academic scholarships for teenage girls in rural Nepal.

In 2013, Jane was awarded the AISSA Noel Volk Excellence Award and the Principals Australia Institute’s John Laing Award.

Heather DeBlasio

Heather De Blasio has spent a lifetime committed to growing others and refusing to put limits on what people can achieve. Her teaching career began as a tennis coach in rural South Australia, and she went on to become a bilingual ski instructor in both Australia and Austria. A natural-born teacher, Heather has since held middle and executive leadership responsibilities in pastoral care, curriculum, and teaching and learning at a range of independent schools.

Heather has participated at the executive levels of leadership in many associations, including as president of the Association of Secondary Research Teachers, and as an executive committee member of history and English teachers’ associations in South Australia.

Heather also played an important role in developing and training teachers to implement the Research Project, a new compulsory subject for Year 12 students across South Australia. As a part-time lecturer and tutor at Flinders University’s Graduate School of Education, and through guest presentations at the University of Melbourne, she has also helped shape the careers of many aspiring teachers.

An engaging presenter, Heather has taken to the stage at state, national and international conferences, including the Australian Council of Educational Leadership, Australian College of Educators, International Congress of School Effectiveness and Improvement, uLead and the International Conference on Thinking.

Topics have included everything from tackling in-school variation to intentionally developing the leadership skills of middle leaders. She is a contributing author to the second edition of Patrick Griffin’s Assessment for Teaching (2017) and is completing a Doctor of Education at the University of Melbourne on the subject of building middle leaders’ leadership capacity.