Our Board

The Stronger Smarter Institute’s Board sets the direction and oversees the strategy and implementation of the Stronger Smarter Approach across Australia.  The Board is comprised of a diverse range of high-level skills in education, business and corporate governance, and at least 50% of the appointed Directors are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background.



Dr Chris Sarra Executive Chairman

Diploma of Teaching,  Bachelor of Education, Master of Education, PhD Psychology (Murdoch University), Executive Masters in Public Education, (ANZSCOG).  Diploma AICD

Dr Chris Sarra is a Gurang Gurang / Taribelang man, and founder and Chairman of the Stronger Smarter Institute. He is currently the Director General of the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships in Queensland.   His illustrious career spans more than 30 years in positive education reform for Indigenous students from schools to universities based on the Stronger Smarter philosophy.

“The Stronger Smarter philosophy is precious to me because it is anchored by the lessons I have learned from my parents and old people, and reflecting on my personal and professional life as an Aboriginal student in schools, and as an educator. It is a philosophical framework, grounded by good intellectual theory and good educational practice, which can guarantee success in schools if understood and applied authentically.”

Dr Sarra is a highly sought-after advisor on Education, Indigenous policy reform and strategy. Prior to his role with the Queensland Government he was a Professor of Education with the University of Canberra and Co-Chair of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Committee.  Other numerous honours include NAIDOC Person of the Year 2016, Queenslander of the Year, Australian of the Year finalist, NRL Commissioner, and a 2018 New York Marathon finisher.

Mr Gary Lennon, Director

BA (Hons) Economics, Fellow of Chartered Accountants.

Gary has served as Group Chief Financial Officer for National Bank of Australia since March 2016, and previously held the role of Executive General Manager Finance and Chief Financial Officer, Wholesale Banking.  Prior to joining NAB in 2008, Gary spent eight years holding a number of senior finance executive roles at Deutsche Bank in Australia, Japan and Singapore. Prior to Deutsche Bank, Gary was with KPMG for 10 years and held senior management roles in Sydney and London.  Gary was a Director on the Victorian Traditional Owners Trust (resigned September 2017) and is also on the Advisory Board of the Group of 100 (Organisation of Chief Financial Officers and Finance Executives from Australia’s largest companies).

I’ve always had a passion around the idea that it’s absolutely outrageous that Indigenous Australians get different outcomes to other Australians.  AFR 2017

Both of Gary’s parents were teachers and the Stronger Smarter Approach, with its emphasis of setting strong expectations, creating a positive sense of cultural identity and developing strong leaders, resonated with the views of his father, who taught in several Indigenous communities.

Mr Paul Bridge, Director

B.Ed (Edith Cowan University), Churchill Fellowship recipient

Paul is a Kija man from Halls Creek in Western Australia’s Kimberley region who has dedicated his career to Indigenous education.  He’s currently Principal of Derby District High School (K-12) having worked in a range of educational contexts and levels from teacher to Area Director, District Director, State Union leader and Child Protection.

As an Aboriginal principal, I was impressed with the Institute’s message, and I identified with it in terms of teaching in schools across Western Australia.  The message was that we need to set high expectations and standards for students, and at the same time instill in students pride and respect for self, their own cultural identity, the school community and others.

Paul was awarded the Western Australia Aboriginal Education and Training Council Award (2012) in recognition for his exemplary leadership in Aboriginal education.


Mr Scott Pardey, Secretary + Chief Financial Officer

Scott is our Secretary and Chief Financial Officer.  He is a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand with 12 years’ experience at global advisory firm Grant Thornton.  His role in Australia and internationally was to deliver assurance and advisory services to mid-market growth clients.   In 2014 he undertook a sabbatical project in Siem Reap Cambodia, working with Harvest Cambodia, an Australian NGO delivering quality teacher training and curriculum support to Khmer teachers.  His other professional highlights include co-founding the West End Film Festival in Brisbane.

“I’m very much excited about and believe in the ability of the Stronger Smarter Institute, to achieve transformative change through education within and for Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”

Mr. Herbert Elliott AC MBE, Deputy Chair

Herb is the Deputy Chair of the Stronger Smarter Institute, a legendary Australian athlete and businessman.

“I have strong feelings for our Indigenous brothers and sisters and believe that Stronger Smarter opens up opportunities through education that can yield fulfilled lives for the kids.”

His distinguised corporate career includes roles as the Chairman of Fortescue Metals Group, Chair of the Telstra Foundation, inaugural chair of the National Australia Day Committee and directorships for Hope for Children, the Australian Children’s Trust, Pacific Dunlop and Ansell and the Australian Broadcasting Commission.  Herb’s sporting achievements include gold medals in both the Olympic and Commonwealth Games and world records in middle-distance running.

Ms Tammy Anderson, Director

Tammy is a Biripi woman from the mid-north coast NSW.  She is the Principal of the Briar Road Public School in New South Wales where she has worked since 2013, and a Stronger Smarter graduate and Ambassador.

Education for our mob, is of the utmost importance.  Making sure that our children are capable, can mix it with the best of them academically is very important but ensuring that it doesn’t come out at the cost of their identity and cultural knowledge.  I believe education will create a stronger future for our people.

Her work is motivated by social justice to ensure that Aboriginal Education is a key strategic direction in her school and community.  In 2018 Briar Road Public School won the inaugural Australian Education Award for Co-Curricular program for their Koori Cultural Program.