VIC Branch President - Coralee Pratt

Sue Buckley Lawrence George Drysdale
Melissa Etherton
David Gurr  Fiona Hutton
Simon Kent
Gail Major Jane Wilkinson  

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

ACEL VIC Branch President

Coralee Pratt is an educational leader who has worked in a diverse range of settings and communities across Victoria and South East Queensland. She has been principal of three large primary schools and had broad leadership experience at system level. Coralee currently works for the Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) in the role of Senior Education Improvement Leader (SEIL) in the Bayside Peninsula Area, working with 31 principals and their schools in the Beachside Network.

Coralee is proud of her role in influencing and leading educational change at school and system level, is committed to all aspects of school improvement and is passionate about supporting and motivating school leaders at all stages of their leadership journey.

As an executive ACEL branch member in Queensland and Victoria, current Branch President and a Director on the ACEL National Board, Coralee actively promotes the ACEL principles, pillars and goals which contribute to the growth of educational leadership. She has been acknowledged for this commitment and contribution to educational leadership by being awarded both Victorian and National ACEL Fellowships.

Sue Buckley

Branch Executive Member

Sue Buckley has had an extensive career in education which includes various senior level positions in both policy development and project implementation, in addition to teaching and leadership roles at school and regional levels. She holds the post-graduate qualifications of Executive Master of Public Administration and Master of Education, and has recently graduated from the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Sue's positions include Assistant Deputy Secretary, Strategic Implementation in the Department of Education and Training and General Manager, Teaching and School Leadership at the Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership. Sue is now self-employed at Sue Buckley Consulting, specialising in government and education services.

Lawrence Drysdale

Branch Executive Member

Lawrie Drysdale is an Associate Professor of Education in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne. Lawrie has an extensive career in teaching, human resource development, lecturing and research that spans over forty years. He has a long history of international collaboration where he has been engaged a several successful international projects. He has published extensively in international and local journals, and regularly presents at international conferences in the areas of principal and middle level leadership. He is involved in consultancy work in all school systems.

Melissa Etherton

Branch Executive Member

Melissa Etherton is the currently working at Loreto Mandeville Hall Toorak in the position of Head of Mandeville Learning Centre. Prior to commencing at Loreto Toorak, Melissa held senior leadership roles at Xavier College - Dean of Middle Years at Burke Hall and Methodist Ladies’ College - Director of Professional Services. Melissa has worked extensively in Catholic and Independent schools across Victoria and South Australia. Her broad experiences span many facets of educational leadership: curriculum design, student wellbeing, staff professional learning and college management. In recent years, Melissa has regularly linked with Swinburne University’s Department of Education to provide expertise and guidance of pre-service teacher experience in schools and develop two-way partnerships from which Swinburne and schools can benefit. Melissa joined the ACEL Victorian Executive in 2016.

David Gurr

Branch Executive Member

David is an Associate Professor in educational leadership within the Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne, and has a 40-year background in secondary teaching, educational psychology, school supervision, and research and teaching in educational leadership. His scholarship is particularly focussed on exploring the many facets of successful school leadership, including principal, middle leader and system perspectives. He is a founding member of the International Successful School Principalship Project and the International School Leadership Development Network. He has published and presented extensively. David is the editor of International Studies in Educational Administration and senior associate editor of the Journal of Educational Administration and past editor of the ACEL publications Leading and Managing, Monograph and Hot Topics. David is a past Vice President of ACEL and received ACEL’s Gold Medal in 2014.

Fiona Hutton

Branch Executive Member

Fiona has successfully moved from a distinguished educational career teaching and leading within both co-educational and independent girls’ schools, into Executive Search and Development, forming her own national company with a specific focus in identifying and developing leaders for middle and senior level executive search appointments. Her client portfolio includes leading schools in the Independent, Government and Catholic sectors. A strong advocate for inclusion and diversity, Fiona is proud that Hutton Consulting is working towards closing the gender gap in Education with 63% of successful appointments being female.

Nominated for Telstra Business Woman of the Year (2019) in the small business category, Fiona’s knowledge and experience in the Education sector has been honed over 25 years as a senior educator, holding positions at faculty, sub-school and Deputy level in Curriculum and Wellbeing. She served on the Melbourne Vicentre Swimming Club Board from 2012 – 2014 and as a Director on the WaterPolo Victoria Board from 2015 – 2017, where she was responsible for leading the portfolio involving cultural change. Fiona has a Masters degree in Education and is a regular keynote speaker at educational conferences in the area of leadership development. She is a currently a member of the Global Educational Leadership Partnership (GELP) where she contributes to the areas of educational policy, leadership and innovation.

Simon Kent

Branch Executive Member

Simon Kent has been the Australian and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) Deputy CEO Thought Leadership since July 2020. Simon was a Deputy Secretary in the Victorian Department of Education and Training for six years (2013-2019) with responsibility variously for policy, strategy, performance, evaluation, planning, and delivery, across all education, training and developmental life stages. He led the development of reforms to needs based funding of government schools implemented from 2016.  He also led the develop Victoria’s early childhood reform plan, and policy for the introduction of universal three year old kindergarten.

His six years in the education department followed eight years in the Social Policy Branch of the Department of Premier and Cabinet (2005-2013) where he worked on major Victorian and COAG reforms, including National Partnerships for the National Quality System and universal four year old kindergarten. Simon has also been a Public Policy Fellow in the Chancellery at the University of Melbourne.

Simon commenced his career in higher education advocacy and advisory roles, then expanded to include schools' policy while a shadow ministerial adviser in the Federal Parliament before joining DPC.  He also held the statutory role of Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor to the Victorian Parliament in 2019.

Simon has extensive experience in policymaking across the education, human services, health and justice portfolios. He has developed a good public policy in complex and contested interdepartmental and intergovernmental contexts, and uses multi-disciplinary analysis to develop policy.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts and an ANZSOG Executive Master of Public Administration from the University of Melbourne. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (Victoria), and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.  He is also a non-executive Director of The Front Project and a member of the Social Ventures Australia Early Childhood Expert Reference Council. He was a founding member of the ANZSOG Alumni Advisory Council and its inaugural Chair from 2018 to 2020.

Gail Major

Branch Executive Member

Gail Major is currently Executive Principal at Scoresby Secondary College. She is a passionate leader committed to the development of her students and staff. She engages all members of the community, tertiary providers, business and industry to form authentic learning experiences for all students.

Gail has made a significant contribution to education within schools and systemically. She has held positions for DET, VCAA and many other professional associations in which she has led curriculum, professional learning, leadership development and health and safety. She has been a representative and presenter locally and nationally and a member of ACEL since 2009 and Victorian FACEL.

Gail has co-authored secondary text books, designed multimedia programs, written training package resources for tertiary programs has contributed articles to many publications including major journals and newspapers.

Gail’s dedication to student future pathways saw her take on major role in the introduction and development of VET in Schools throughout Victoria including the introduction of scored assessment and secondary student participation in Worldskills competitions. Gail took the initiative to draw on her knowledge and experience in industry to make significant changes in teaching and learning. This led to creating internationally recognised facilities that linked pedagogy with space and an instructional model that not only led to significant engagement and learning growth but also greater opportunities for student voice. Since then the model has undergone continuous development to include student voice and agency and was shared at the recent National ACEL conference.

Gail is highly regarded by her colleagues in education and continues to share her expertise as a representative on stakeholder and consultative groups, as a coach and mentor for aspiring leaders and through promotion of education to business and industry groups. 

Jane Wilkinson

Branch Executive Member

Jane Wilkinson is Professor of Educational Leadership, Faculty of Education, Monash University. Her research and teaching interests are in the areas of educational leadership for social justice, refugee education and practice theory. Jane has conducted extensive research with principals and schools on leading change in schools and educational districts and supporting refugee education in schools and universities.

Jane is currently lead a study examining the role of school leaders in building social cohesion, building on a pilot study partnering with DET, Bastow and the Centre for Strategic Education. She is a former deputy principal, English and ESL secondary teacher in rural and urban Victorian schools. For more information: https://research.monash.edu/en/persons/jane-wilkinson