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.

Dr Mary Oski

D.Ed, B.Ed, B.Theol, Master Ed.Leadership, Grad Dip Bus IT, Grad Dip RE, Grad Dip Comp Ed, Grad Cert in Management of Not-for-Profit Organisations

Dr Mary Oski is currently the Director of Learning & Regional Services at Melbourne Archdiocese of Catholic Schools. In this role she is responsible for Learning & Teaching, Student Wellbeing, Learning Diversity, School Improvement , Learning Technologies and the four Regional Offices within the Archdiocese of Melbourne. Prior to this role she was the Executive Director of Curriculum at the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) with responsibility for the Victorian Curriculum, VCE, VCAL and VET studies in addition to VCE Examinations.

Before her appointment to VCAA Mary held senior leadership roles within Catholic education leading the implementation of key initiatives in Catholic schools across Victoria. Her key policy responsibilities included learning and teaching, school improvement, review practices and processes, principal appointments and leadership initiatives as well as a period of time as Manager of Catholic schools in the Eastern Region. Mary commenced her education career as a teacher in a variety of secondary schools and held senior leadership roles in curriculum and student wellbeing.

In 2019 Mary was awarded the Australian Council of Educational Leaders (ACEL) Hedley Beare Educator of the Year Award for her outstanding contribution to the study and practice of educational leadership in Victoria. Mary has held a number of state representative positions for Victorian education as well as national representation for the Catholic sector, a reflection of her professional pedigree and commitment to the education sector.

Dr Briony Scott

Dr Briony Scott (BScAgr, MEd, EdD) was appointed Principal of Wenona, a Kindergarten to Year 12 independent girls' school, in July 2011. Outside of education, Briony was a Systems Analyst with Olivetti International in Italy and the UK and spent a year volunteering as an Emergency Medical Technician with the Wheaton Rescue Squad in Maryland, USA. Dr Scott has undertaken research on school choice, girls’ education, motivational theory, and educational technology. She believes in the empowerment of young women to discover and develop their strengths and talents, and in training both young men and women to be engaged in egalitarian leadership, to be adventurous, brave, strong, and 'a voice for those who cannot speak'. Dr Scott is on the Association of Independent Schools (AIS) Advisory Committee, and a Board Director with The Chris O'Brien Lifehouse, and the School for Life Foundation.



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

Mathilda Joubert

Mathilda Joubert is Director of Excellence and Innovation at Sheridan College and Lecturer in Leading School Improvement. Prior to this role she worked for seven years as a system leader leading school improvement at Swan Christian Education Association. Her varied background includes working as Innovation Consultant to companies like Coco-Cola, Unilever and Phillips, researcher to Sir Ken Robinson, creative learning consultant, policy advisor, primary and secondary school teacher and academic. Mathilda is a true cross-disciplinarian and an advocate of lifelong learning with two bachelors and three masters degrees (in music, languages, education, cognitive neuropsychology and business) and currently completing her PhD at UWA, studying the measurement of student creative thinking skills.

She has worked directly with more than 500 schools on a range of successful school improvement initiatives and has advised national governments (e.g. Australia, Lithuania and the UK) on curriculum and assessment policy development, including acting as expert advisor for ACARA on Creative and Critical Thinking Skills. She continues to advise schools on the teaching and assessment of creativity and is currently evaluating the FORM Creative Schools program for the WA Department of Education.