Our Team

We are committed to the Stronger Smarter Approach and High Expectations Relationships (HER) for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and, beyond them, all Australian students.

The Stronger Smarter Institute doesn’t just teach High Expectations Relationships (HER) to our partner school and community leaders we live, breath and honour the Stronger Smarter Approach every day and in all that we do, from our homes, to our office and training rooms. We work hard and support each other to be the best we can be.  This ensures we are delivering the best training and support to our school communities who are on the ground delivering the Stronger Smarter Approach to our Indigenous students. The Stronger Smarter Institute honours diversity.  This is reflected in the composition of our team. There are both male and female, Indigenous and non-Indigenous team members.   Some with teaching backgrounds and others with other workplace and other community experience.  We are all committed to the Stronger Smarter Approach and share a strong commitment to ensuring successful life outcomes for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and beyond them, all Australian students.

 


 

Executive Team

Dr John Davis - Acting Chief Executive Officer

John Davis is a proud Murri Ambae man. He is a Traditional Owner of the western sides of Bunya Bunya Mountains, Country we call Boobagarrn Ngumminge. “My people are Cobble Cobble kinnected to Warra and Dalby. We have links directly to the Barunggam and Wakka Wakka people”.

John’s core work roles over the past decade have focused on educational excellence, woven within a team environment. “Wherever I weave, I lay a footprint based on sustaining excellence – a core feature of my work outcomes – growing leadership density and developing cultures of excellence and aspirations”.

John has worked as a lead educator in schools including positions as Principal, Head of Department, and Subject Area Coordinator for Indigenous Education.  He has also held lectureship positions with the University of Queensland and James Cook University, and has worked as a QCAA and ACARA Advisor.

In 2016, John completed his PhD in Indigenous Community Models of Education – Community Durithunga, with the Queensland University of Technology.  Other research interests include Indigenous languages as LOTE, embedding Indigenous Knowledges and Indigenous ways to multimodal literacy.

John is passionate about our people, our languages and culture and working and moving our ways forward as best practice in education and community development.

Dyonne Anderson - A/g Chief Research Officer

0437 421 341

Dyonne Anderson is a Bundjalung woman from the far North Coast of NSW with over 26 years experience with the NSW Department of Education and Training. Dyonne is the Principal at Cabbage Tree Island Public School since 2004 and has also worked in various roles and locations throughout NSW including; classroom teacher, Curriculum Advisor-Aboriginal Studies P-12, Consultant for Human Society and Its Environment and K-6 Science and Technology.

 

Dyonne currently represents NATSIPA on the Australian Primary Principals Association National Education Committee, two committees for Australian Institute for Teachers and School Leadership (AITSL), More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers Initiative Reference Group (MATSITI), was a member of the Ministerial Aboriginal Education Advisory Group until December 2013 and has been the recipient of a number of education awards.

Michal Purcell - A/g Chief Operations Officer

Michal Purcell is an original member of the Stronger Smarter Institute and is our A/g Chief Operations Officer who oversees the Service Delivery Programs. Descended from the Butchulla people of Fraser Island and the first people of Ambrym Island in Vanuatu, she grew up in Childers, South East Queensland.  Michal worked at Cherbourg State School when Dr Chris Sarra was principal. She heard from Elders stories of when Cherbourg was a mission and Aboriginal children rarely attended school beyond Year 4.  She witnessed the changes in the community when they began to feel strong again in their identity and ability to succeed.  Michal is committed to supporting people’s learning about themselves and others.

Nancia Guivarra - Chief Marketing Officer

0447 951 559

Nancia is a Meriam (Magaram), Wuthathi and Bindal Juru woman who was born in Brisbane and raised in Gladstone who loves the sunshine and saltwater.   She works to create better futures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people via true self-determination/autonomy for Indigenous people, communities, and organisations.

Nancia’s marketing, media, and communications experience were built in Sydney across programs and policy for not-for-profit and the federal government.  As a practitioner she has worked with NITV/SBS, ABC and Vibe Australia and the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence in diverse roles such as online editor, executive producer, researcher, writer, director, and presenter.  Her community work includes being inaugural General Manager of Gadigal Information Service Aboriginal Corporation (93.7 FM Koori Radio), and founder and inaugural Chair of the Australian Indigenous Communications Association.

Scott Pardey - Chief Financial Officer

Scott is a graduate and member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.  He joined the Stronger Smarter Institute in 2017 following 12 years’ experience with international accounting firm Grant Thornton. Whilst at Grant Thornton, Scott worked across the firm – both within Australia and internationally – to deliver assurance and advisory services to mid-market growth clients of the firm.
Scott undertook an in-country sabbatical project in Siem Reap, Cambodia in 2014, working with Khmer organisations and their partners to deliver quality teacher training and curriculum support and by extension, community development activities and support. This was a life-affirming experience and piqued Scott’s interest in the triggers for community development; education is the key. Other community experience highlights include co-founding the West End Film Festival in Brisbane, Australia.
Scott is excited about the work of the Stronger Smarter Institute, in achieving transformative change through education within and for Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”

 

Team Leaders

Fiona Bobongie - Team Leader Jarjums

Fiona Bobongie (nee Mann) is a proud Darumbal and South Sea Islander woman, from the First Nations People of Tanna and Ambrym Island.

She has worked with the Stronger Smarter Institute for 3 years, where she is the Team Leader for the Stronger Smarter Jarjums Program.  Fiona is a specialist in delivering the Leadership, Jarjums, Workplaces and Specialist Programs that are a part of the Institute’s suite of programs. Fiona has been delivering Professional Development to Principals and Teachers for nearly 10 years.

Her experiences spans 30 years working in various roles with Queensland’s Department of Education.  From Teacher Aide, Teacher, Acting Principal to Principal Project Officer for Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in Schools and Early Childhood in two regions – Central Queensland and North Queensland.

Her recent highlights include presenting at Early Childhood Australia Reconciliation Symposium 2017, NSW Gowrie Conference 2016, AIATSIS National Conference 2012, National Australian Women’s Conference. Internationally, Fiona spoke at WIPCE the World Indigenous Peoples Conference in Education in Hawaii, 2014 and Toronto, Canada, 2017.   She has also presented at the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Principals Association and Te Akatea (Maori Principals) Brisbane, 2016 and in Waitangi, Aeotearoa in 2018.


 

Research and Impact

Cathy Jackson - Head of Research

Cathy Jackson has over 20 years experience in the areas of curriculum design, evaluation and impact, and accreditation of educational programs.  Before joining the Stronger Smarter Institute, she worked in the Teaching and Learning area of the Queensland University of Technology, where she gained considerable experience with leading, developing, writing, and implementing teaching and learning policy, in particular relating to curriculum design and assessment.  This included responsibility for developing and implementing a university-wide communication plan for a new assessment policy.   Cathy is a qualified project manager, with extensive experience in managing university-wide projects, including two projects to implement new database systems for the university. 

Cathy brings this wide-ranging experience to the Institute together with a passion for Indigenous education research and an in-depth understanding of the Stronger Smarter Approach in schools. Cathy has a Masters degree in Science and postgraduate qualifications in management and public relations.

Jana Andrade - Research Analyst

Jana is a Brazilian statistician with experience in business intelligence, quality control, statistical model development, research support in biostatistics, electoral research, lecturing at university and survey development and subsequent result analysis for all research purposes. She has worked in the private and public sectors (bank, retail and traffic department) with her role varying as required from supporting independent research studies, assessing government operations/programs to improve efficiency and quality control assessment.

Jana has had assisted research programs at the University of Sunshine Coast (USC), including helping students with their research (from developing questionnaires to analysing data) and a project with a private health insurance to assist the development of future strategies.

At the Stronger Smarter Institute Jana is responsible for data collection and analysis including the HERBI survey and Stronger Smarter alumni database, preparing reports and presentations, providing input to grant proposals, and contributing to product development and projects. She brings with her a high level of analytical, organisational and planning skills with good attention to detail.

Jesse King - Senior Project Officer

Jesse is a Waanyi-Gangalidda man with a passion for education and the opportunities it provides for everyone.  He has close ties to the Mt Isa and Central Queensland regions through his father and mother’s family.  Jesse attended school in Townsville and completed his teacher training at Charles Darwin University.  He is keenly interested in the opportunities 21st-century pedagogy offers for learners of all abilities and backgrounds. Jesse has experience in classroom teaching, school leadership, learning management system implementation (School and Sector) and school strategic planning.

In Jesse’s most recent role he led a team delivering a National program to incorporate Indigenous knowledges and technologies into Middle Years Science classrooms.  Jesse brings his passion and enthusiasm for educational technology and the interface between cutting edge practice and the oldest living cultures on earth to the Institute and his work on our SSiSTEMIK pathways.

Jesse is currently a member of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander national advisory groups for The Smith Family and the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).

Liz Kupsch - Research Fellow

Liz is a proud Waanyi-Ganagalidda and Wankamadla woman.  She comes to the Stronger Smarter Institute with over 25 years of experience working in education. She completed a Bachelor of Education at JCU Townsville and has been a primary school teacher for 19 years gaining lots of hands-on experience working predominantly in schools with low socio-economic status and significant populations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
Liz has also worked as an Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in Schools (EATSIPS) Principal Project Officer for the South East Region and managed a team to embed Indigenous perspectives into the Australian Curriculum through its Queensland element, Curriculum into the Classroom (C2C).  Most recently she held the Senior Coordinator role for CSIRO’s Inquiry into Indigenous Science Students where she co-developed Indigenous science programs to increase the engagement, achievement and attendance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths.
Liz has a strong desire and life-long passion that is focussed on increasing the educational and life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

 

Leadership Program Team

Cassie Ryan - Facilitator/Coordinator

Cassie Ryan is a Kamilaroi woman, a descendant of the Weatherall family.  She was born in Dirrandbandi Queensland and grew up in Oakey, Queensland.  Cassie has 10 years experience working for the NSW Department of Education.  Prior to joining the Stronger Smarter Institute, she was the Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer in the Lismore area.  She has also been an active full member of the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Incorporation for many years.   Cassie is committed to improving educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  Cassie now lives on the North Coast of NSW.

Ken Weatherall - Facilitator/Coordinator

Ken is a proud descendant of the Muruwari and Kamilaroi Nations of New South Wales.  Ken has been a passionate advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education for 17 years working in the NSW Department of Education in many different roles.  His most recent position being the Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer (ACLO) for 7 years in the Newcastle region.   Ken has also been involved as an active member of the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG) at the Local, Regional and State levels for more than 10 years.  Ken did his foundation Stronger Smarter Leadership Program in 2009 and has been one of our Leadership Program Facilitators since he joined the Institute in 2016.
Have been involved with the Stronger Smarter Institute since completing the leadership program in 2009 and now employed as a Program Facilitator and Coordinator since 2016.

Board

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.”

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.

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. 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.

Research and Impact

Jesse King - Senior Project Officer

Jesse is a Waanyi-Gangalidda man with a passion for education and the opportunities it provides for everyone.  He has close ties to the Mt Isa and Central Queensland regions through his father and mother’s family.  Jesse attended school in Townsville and completed his teacher training at Charles Darwin University.  He is keenly interested in the opportunities 21st-century pedagogy offers for learners of all abilities and backgrounds. Jesse has experience in classroom teaching, school leadership, learning management system implementation (School and Sector) and school strategic planning.

In Jesse’s most recent role he led a team delivering a National program to incorporate Indigenous knowledges and technologies into Middle Years Science classrooms.  Jesse brings his passion and enthusiasm for educational technology and the interface between cutting edge practice and the oldest living cultures on earth to the Institute and his work on our SSiSTEMIK pathways.

Jesse is currently a member of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander national advisory groups for The Smith Family and the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).

Leadership Program Team

Ken Weatherall - Facilitator/Coordinator

Ken is a proud descendant of the Muruwari and Kamilaroi Nations of New South Wales.  Ken has been a passionate advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education for 17 years working in the NSW Department of Education in many different roles.  His most recent position being the Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer (ACLO) for 7 years in the Newcastle region.   Ken has also been involved as an active member of the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG) at the Local, Regional and State levels for more than 10 years.  Ken did his foundation Stronger Smarter Leadership Program in 2009 and has been one of our Leadership Program Facilitators since he joined the Institute in 2016.
Have been involved with the Stronger Smarter Institute since completing the leadership program in 2009 and now employed as a Program Facilitator and Coordinator since 2016.

Cassie Ryan - Facilitator/Coordinator

Cassie Ryan is a Kamilaroi woman, a descendant of the Weatherall family.  She was born in Dirrandbandi Queensland and grew up in Oakey, Queensland.  Cassie has 10 years experience working for the NSW Department of Education.  Prior to joining the Stronger Smarter Institute, she was the Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer in the Lismore area.  She has also been an active full member of the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Incorporation for many years.   Cassie is committed to improving educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  Cassie now lives on the North Coast of NSW.

Research and Impact

Liz Kupsch - Research Fellow

Liz is a proud Waanyi-Ganagalidda and Wankamadla woman.  She comes to the Stronger Smarter Institute with over 25 years of experience working in education. She completed a Bachelor of Education at JCU Townsville and has been a primary school teacher for 19 years gaining lots of hands-on experience working predominantly in schools with low socio-economic status and significant populations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
Liz has also worked as an Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in Schools (EATSIPS) Principal Project Officer for the South East Region and managed a team to embed Indigenous perspectives into the Australian Curriculum through its Queensland element, Curriculum into the Classroom (C2C).  Most recently she held the Senior Coordinator role for CSIRO’s Inquiry into Indigenous Science Students where she co-developed Indigenous science programs to increase the engagement, achievement and attendance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths.
Liz has a strong desire and life-long passion that is focussed on increasing the educational and life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Executive Team

Scott Pardey - Chief Financial Officer

Scott is a graduate and member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.  He joined the Stronger Smarter Institute in 2017 following 12 years’ experience with international accounting firm Grant Thornton. Whilst at Grant Thornton, Scott worked across the firm – both within Australia and internationally – to deliver assurance and advisory services to mid-market growth clients of the firm.
Scott undertook an in-country sabbatical project in Siem Reap, Cambodia in 2014, working with Khmer organisations and their partners to deliver quality teacher training and curriculum support and by extension, community development activities and support. This was a life-affirming experience and piqued Scott’s interest in the triggers for community development; education is the key. Other community experience highlights include co-founding the West End Film Festival in Brisbane, Australia.
Scott is excited about the work of the Stronger Smarter Institute, in achieving transformative change through education within and for Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”

Nancia Guivarra - Chief Marketing Officer

0447 951 559

Nancia is a Meriam (Magaram), Wuthathi and Bindal Juru woman who was born in Brisbane and raised in Gladstone who loves the sunshine and saltwater.   She works to create better futures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people via true self-determination/autonomy for Indigenous people, communities, and organisations.

Nancia’s marketing, media, and communications experience were built in Sydney across programs and policy for not-for-profit and the federal government.  As a practitioner she has worked with NITV/SBS, ABC and Vibe Australia and the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence in diverse roles such as online editor, executive producer, researcher, writer, director, and presenter.  Her community work includes being inaugural General Manager of Gadigal Information Service Aboriginal Corporation (93.7 FM Koori Radio), and founder and inaugural Chair of the Australian Indigenous Communications Association.

Research and Impact

Jana Andrade - Research Analyst

Jana is a Brazilian statistician with experience in business intelligence, quality control, statistical model development, research support in biostatistics, electoral research, lecturing at university and survey development and subsequent result analysis for all research purposes. She has worked in the private and public sectors (bank, retail and traffic department) with her role varying as required from supporting independent research studies, assessing government operations/programs to improve efficiency and quality control assessment.

Jana has had assisted research programs at the University of Sunshine Coast (USC), including helping students with their research (from developing questionnaires to analysing data) and a project with a private health insurance to assist the development of future strategies.

At the Stronger Smarter Institute Jana is responsible for data collection and analysis including the HERBI survey and Stronger Smarter alumni database, preparing reports and presentations, providing input to grant proposals, and contributing to product development and projects. She brings with her a high level of analytical, organisational and planning skills with good attention to detail.

Executive Team

Dr John Davis - Acting Chief Executive Officer

John Davis is a proud Murri Ambae man. He is a Traditional Owner of the western sides of Bunya Bunya Mountains, Country we call Boobagarrn Ngumminge. “My people are Cobble Cobble kinnected to Warra and Dalby. We have links directly to the Barunggam and Wakka Wakka people”.

John’s core work roles over the past decade have focused on educational excellence, woven within a team environment. “Wherever I weave, I lay a footprint based on sustaining excellence – a core feature of my work outcomes – growing leadership density and developing cultures of excellence and aspirations”.

John has worked as a lead educator in schools including positions as Principal, Head of Department, and Subject Area Coordinator for Indigenous Education.  He has also held lectureship positions with the University of Queensland and James Cook University, and has worked as a QCAA and ACARA Advisor.

In 2016, John completed his PhD in Indigenous Community Models of Education – Community Durithunga, with the Queensland University of Technology.  Other research interests include Indigenous languages as LOTE, embedding Indigenous Knowledges and Indigenous ways to multimodal literacy.

John is passionate about our people, our languages and culture and working and moving our ways forward as best practice in education and community development.

Research and Impact

Cathy Jackson - Head of Research

Cathy Jackson has over 20 years experience in the areas of curriculum design, evaluation and impact, and accreditation of educational programs.  Before joining the Stronger Smarter Institute, she worked in the Teaching and Learning area of the Queensland University of Technology, where she gained considerable experience with leading, developing, writing, and implementing teaching and learning policy, in particular relating to curriculum design and assessment.  This included responsibility for developing and implementing a university-wide communication plan for a new assessment policy.   Cathy is a qualified project manager, with extensive experience in managing university-wide projects, including two projects to implement new database systems for the university. 

Cathy brings this wide-ranging experience to the Institute together with a passion for Indigenous education research and an in-depth understanding of the Stronger Smarter Approach in schools. Cathy has a Masters degree in Science and postgraduate qualifications in management and public relations.

Team Leaders

Fiona Bobongie - Team Leader Jarjums

Fiona Bobongie (nee Mann) is a proud Darumbal and South Sea Islander woman, from the First Nations People of Tanna and Ambrym Island.

She has worked with the Stronger Smarter Institute for 3 years, where she is the Team Leader for the Stronger Smarter Jarjums Program.  Fiona is a specialist in delivering the Leadership, Jarjums, Workplaces and Specialist Programs that are a part of the Institute’s suite of programs. Fiona has been delivering Professional Development to Principals and Teachers for nearly 10 years.

Her experiences spans 30 years working in various roles with Queensland’s Department of Education.  From Teacher Aide, Teacher, Acting Principal to Principal Project Officer for Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in Schools and Early Childhood in two regions – Central Queensland and North Queensland.

Her recent highlights include presenting at Early Childhood Australia Reconciliation Symposium 2017, NSW Gowrie Conference 2016, AIATSIS National Conference 2012, National Australian Women’s Conference. Internationally, Fiona spoke at WIPCE the World Indigenous Peoples Conference in Education in Hawaii, 2014 and Toronto, Canada, 2017.   She has also presented at the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Principals Association and Te Akatea (Maori Principals) Brisbane, 2016 and in Waitangi, Aeotearoa in 2018.

Executive Team

Dyonne Anderson - A/g Chief Research Officer

0437 421 341

Dyonne Anderson is a Bundjalung woman from the far North Coast of NSW with over 26 years experience with the NSW Department of Education and Training. Dyonne is the Principal at Cabbage Tree Island Public School since 2004 and has also worked in various roles and locations throughout NSW including; classroom teacher, Curriculum Advisor-Aboriginal Studies P-12, Consultant for Human Society and Its Environment and K-6 Science and Technology.

 

Dyonne currently represents NATSIPA on the Australian Primary Principals Association National Education Committee, two committees for Australian Institute for Teachers and School Leadership (AITSL), More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers Initiative Reference Group (MATSITI), was a member of the Ministerial Aboriginal Education Advisory Group until December 2013 and has been the recipient of a number of education awards.

Ben Wilson Program Coordinator

Ben Wilson is a Jagera man from the south of Brisbane. He is a highly regarded educator with extensive experience in the education system, both in the private and public sector.

He is an occasional guest lecturer in Education Studies and was the inaugural Stronger Smarter Teacher-in-Residence in 2011, when he joined the Institute’s team to enhance his skills and understandings.

Ben is known for respectfully challenging conventional education methods and advocacy for progressive organisational and educational models. Ben is determined to change the world for the better, and understands that education is theway to accomplish this.

Board

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.

Executive Team

Michal Purcell - A/g Chief Operations Officer

Michal Purcell is an original member of the Stronger Smarter Institute and is our A/g Chief Operations Officer who oversees the Service Delivery Programs. Descended from the Butchulla people of Fraser Island and the first people of Ambrym Island in Vanuatu, she grew up in Childers, South East Queensland.  Michal worked at Cherbourg State School when Dr Chris Sarra was principal. She heard from Elders stories of when Cherbourg was a mission and Aboriginal children rarely attended school beyond Year 4.  She witnessed the changes in the community when they began to feel strong again in their identity and ability to succeed.  Michal is committed to supporting people’s learning about themselves and others.

Dan Walker Kimberley Leadership

enquiries@strongersmarter.com.auDan Walker

Dan Walker lives and works in the Kimberley region of Western Australia and has been using the Stronger Smarter ethos and processes through his school leadership and teaching positions in both town and remote settings.

He is passionate about the power of developing school cultures that challenge and connect people to have high expectations for Aboriginal students and he has firsthand experience of how to create a strength based approach to school transformation.

Dan is a skilled facilitator and motivated leader and he is currently the Kimberley’s Stronger Smarter Leadership Consultant; working collaboratively with Kimberley schools to further embed the Stronger Smarter philosophy and processes and supporting the region’s continued development of high expectations, excellence oriented school cultures.

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