Our History

A Proud History Founded in Cherbourg

The Stronger Smarter Institute celebrates 10 years of successfully delivering better outcomes for Indigenous students, through several decades of passion, belief and commitment to creating stronger smarter classrooms and communities.

In the late 1990s, Dr Chris Sarra became the first Aboriginal principal of Cherbourg State School where he made significant changes to the way that Indigenous students experienced education.

Dr Sarra challenged the whole school community to have high expectations of Indigenous students and fostered the ‘strong and smart’ approach which embraced a strong and positive sense of what it means to be Aboriginal in contemporary Australian society.

This success led to the formation of the Stronger Smarter Institute (formerly known as the Indigenous Education Leadership Institute) which was established in 2005 as an innovative partnership between Education Queensland and the Queensland University of Technology.

The Institute seeks to achieve scale in delivering the Stronger Smarter approach to as many Indigenous students possible by partnering with, and working through, school and community leaders.

From 2006 to 2012 the Stronger Smarter Leadership Program was developed, from four programs per year, catering to approximately 80 participants, to national and regional programs providing professional development to approximately 250 participants per year.

By July 2015, the Stronger Smarter Institute has facilitated 92 programs and attracted over 1,900 participants, and thereby directly impacted on the lives of over 38,000 Indigenous students.

In 2013 the Institute moved to its next phase of development as an independent, non-profit organisation.


Learn more about the Cherbourg State School ‘Strong and Smart’ Story: Read a case study on the ‘What Works‘ website.