Independent Directors

Ross Fox

Ross began as Executive Director of the National Catholic Education Commission in July 2013 leading the new commission which has been substantially reformed by the Bishops Commission for Catholic Education. In this role Ross is responsible for national policy development and advocacy on behalf of 1730 Catholic schools which enrol more than 760,000 students and receive almost $8billion in government funding. Prior to his current position Ross was the Director of Policy Research and Communications at the Catholic Education Office Melbourne and Executive Officer of the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Ltd. He has been active in education policy at a state at national level in the non-government sector since 2007.

Ross was educated at UNSW (Bachelor of Engineering, First Class Honours) and Oxford University (Honours MA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics). He has a depth and range of practical and consultancy experience in a diversity of situations – from McKinsey & Company working across Australia and New Zealand as a management consultant to remote Indigenous communities in WA where he was a relief store manager and acting community development adviser. He has also worked in industry in business improvement roles and as a senior policy advisor.

Martin Westwell

After completing his degree and PhD at Cambridge University, Martin moved to Oxford University as a Fellow of Lincoln College. A winding career path through the biotech industry and several science innovation and education organisations returned him to Oxford University as the Deputy Director of the Institute for the Future of the Mind. He and his family moved to South Australia in 2007 where he took up the position of inaugural Director of the Flinders Centre for Science Education in the 21st Century and then Strategic Professor in the Science of Learning at Flinders University. After five years as a board director of the South Australian Certificate of Education, Martin took up the position as Chief Executive of SACE at the start of 2018 with a vision to transform learning design for students across South Australia.

In all his academic, educational and leadership roles, Martin Westwell has made significant contributions to the design and thinking about the teaching of Science. He is also recognised for his work as a leading thinker, researcher and presenter in the science and neuroscience of learning itself and his work has influenced curriculum design, pedagogy and assessment at a national and international level.

Branch Appointed Directors

Australian Capital Territory

Kirk Zwangobani

Dr Kirk Zwangobani is an School Leader at Dickson College in Canberra, where leads the Humanities and English team and senior secondary curriculum. Over his teaching career Kirk has held significant leadership roles in several ACT government schools. He has also developed policy and projects within the ACT Education Directorate, with a particular focus on student engagement and voice. Most recently, Kirk has been working closely with the Board of Senior Secondary Studies in a cross sectorial capacity, in the development of 21st C Humanities and Social Science curriculum.

Kirk’s qualitative research explores the intersection of social, cultural, and education theory and how a deeper understanding race, culture and diversity can better help us understand young people’s educational and life experiences. He has consulted with not for profit research companies, local government and Commonwealth Education. Kirk currently Chairs the ACT Multicultural Advisory Council advising the ACT Minister for Multicultural Affairs, is an AEL editorial committee member, and a member of ACEL’s Academic Advisory Board.

Kirk was awarded an ACEL ACT Fellowship in 2019, and was a 2016 ACEL New Voice Scholar in Education Leadership research. This will be Kirk’s 2nd term with the ACT Executive. He hopes to work with the ACEL executive to increase and diversify the ACT membership and create a dynamic and responsive ACEL community in the ACT.

New South Wales

Kylie Lipscombe

Dr Kylie Lipscombe is Senior Lecturer and researcher and Associate Academic Program Director of postgraduate studies in Educational Leadership at the University of Wollongong. She has 20 years experience in educational organisations such as schools and university. Kylie is passionate about the nexus between educational leadership and practice, and how leading impacts both teacher and student learning practices. Her program of research works closely with leaders, teachers and children in the fields of educational leadership, middle leadership, teacher collaboration, and professional learning. She is a keen contributor and leader in professional associations and is currently the academic leader of the NSW Department of Education Aspiring Principals Leadership program.

Northern Territory

Aderyn Chatterton

Executive Director, School Improvement and Leadership at Department of Education Northern Territory

As an experienced educational leader with both school and system experience, I understand that engagement, growth and achievement are the three priorities that unite all schools, regardless of their location or student demographic. I am excited to play a key role in the NT school improvement journey as my team provides tailored and responsive support to schools so they can accelerate their own school improvement.


Karen Fox

BA (UQ), Dip Ed (UQ),Grad Dip Media (AFTRS), M Ed (USQ), FACELQ

Having enjoyed a long career as an educator across all sectors, Karen has fulfilled a number of senior leadership positions with a focus on curriculum, teaching and learning, leadership development, and more recently, in school governance. Karen has designed and facilitated educational and leadership courses at school and tertiary level and has worked within the corporate and professional services sector in the development of programs associated with leadership and organisational culture. Karen has recently worked on targeted curriculum projects through the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority and with schools and other organisations in culture and strategic planning, and through mentoring early career teachers and leaders.

Karen has been an active member of ACEL since 2006 and an elected member of the ACEL Queensland Branch executive member since 2017. She was admitted as a Fellow of ACEL (QLD) in 2012.

Karen is committed to developing and sustaining professional dialogue across all school sectors, all levels of education and policy development, and through acknowledgment of the important role of members of the broader educational community, including researchers, parents, and those in system and school governance. She has a particular interest in building leadership capacity for middle, as well as for senior leadership teams, and her abiding passion is to seek all opportunities to advocate for the teaching profession as a vocation of hope and a source of leadership for the broader community.

South Australia

Warren Symonds

Warren Symonds is an experienced educator who has worked in Department for Education and Child Development (DECD) in South Australia since 1987. His teaching experience has varied from small Area Schools through to large metropolitan High Schools. For the past seven years Warren has been the Principal of Mount Barker High School. During this time he has initiated Mount Barker High Schools’ introduction of Positive Psychology into the whole school approach. This approach was expanded into the Mount Barker community and eight primary schools to improve the wellbeing of children and young people across the Adelaide Hills. Professor Martin Seligman has referred to the approaches being used at Mount Barker High School as being a world’s first and at the cutting edge of teaching Positive Education to a whole school community.

Warren is a newer member to ACEL starting his membership in 2013. During his membership he has been an active member supporting the development of leadership with a focus on leader’s wellbeing. He was the recipient of the 2017 ACEL SA Educational Leadership Medal and the ACEL National Fellowship.


Jacqui Lawless

Jacqui is the Principal of Larmenier, a Catholic primary school in Launceston. A school which boasts a functioning school farm and shares its site with an Aged Care Home. Prior to this appointment in Launceston, Jacqui was the Assistant Principal at St James College, Cygnet. Jacqui has worked at many schools in the greater Hobart area and has worked across multiple sectors and across all schooling ages. In schools where she has had leadership roles of Principal, Acting Principal and Deputy Principal she has been an activator of school improvement and led significant educational change. She has worked extensively in the area of student support and special education and is passionate about quality education for all students. Jacqui has a Bachelor of Education, and has recently completed her Masters of Education.


Coralee Pratt

M. Ed, B.Ed, Grad. Dip. Early Childhood Teaching. National Fellow ACEL.

Coralee Pratt is an educational leader who has worked in a diverse range of settings and communities across all regions in Victoria and in Queensland. She is currently Executive Director, Bayside Peninsula Area, South East Victoria Region and in 2016 was a Senior Education Improvement Leader (SEIL) in the Outer East Area, North East Region of Victoria.

Coralee has been an executive board member of both the ACEL Queensland and Victoria Branches and since 2014 has been responsible for coordinating the ACEL Net professional learning events including the popular ACEL Q & A Forums.

Coralee has been principal of three schools: Camberwell South Primary School (2012 – 2015); Helensvale State School, one of Queensland’s largest primary schools (2010-2012) and Roberts McCubbin Primary School, Box Hill (2000 – 2005).

From 2005 – 2009 she held several system leadership roles including Assistant Regional Director in the Eastern Metropolitan Region where she played a significant role in leading the school improvement agenda in 248 government schools.

Over the past decade, Coralee has been influential in leading educational change and the design, delivery and evaluation of a comprehensive suite of professional learning and leadership development programs at school and system level. Her work with ACER and the Grattan Institute in targeting teaching to personalise learning had a significant impact and resulted in Camberwell South PS being identified as one of Australia’s 40 most innovative schools in 2014.

Western Australia

Sinan Kerimofski

Sinan 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.

Vasse Primary is situated in a rapidly growing suburb. The school was established in 1869 where 12 students commenced their schooling with one teacher. Now the school boasts over 730 students and 75 staff. He has worked in rural, regional and metropolitan schools in Western Australia over the past 26 years. Sinan’s focus has been to ensure the school is well resourced with a strong positive culture through focusing on fostering positive relationships.

He is also passionate about engaging students through creating flexible, adaptable and stimulating learning environments.

Sinan's leadership beliefs are simple:

  • Create clear vision and direction
  • Build solid relationships through positive communication and shared experiences
  • Surround yourself around good people
  • Acknowledge innovation and self-improvement.