We are committed to the Stronger
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.
Her experience comes from over 30 years of employment in Indigenous education that included 9 years in the early childhood sector as a Kindergarten and Classroom Teacher aide, Day Care Centre Group Leader and Day Care Centre Assistant Director. Since the Stronger Smarter Institute originated in 2005 her roles have included Executive Secretary, Community Relations Officer, Senior Community Relations Officer, Program Coordinator/Facilitator, Team Leader Service Delivery and in her latest role as Chief Operations Officer. Over these 14 years with the Institute, Michal has contributed to the delivery and design of the Stronger Smarter Leadership Program, Stronger Smarter Workplaces Program, and the Stronger Smarter Specialist Program. She has also represented the Institute Internationally speaking at the World Indigenous Peoples Conference in Education (WIPCE) Hawaii, USA in 2014 and Toronto, Canada 2017 and the 2018 NATSIPA – National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Principals Association / Te Akatea Maori Principals conference in Waitangi, Aeotearoa. Michal is committed to supporting people’s learning about themselves and others for the future of our Jarjums.
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
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.
Damian has worked at the Stronger Smarter Institute since the beginning of 2019, having completed the Stronger Smarter Leadership Program in 2014. He brings with him a keen interest in cultural diversity and an understanding of working within a school context having over 17 years experience in education. Damian is committed to improving the outcomes for all students across all school settings.
Paul’s most recent role was in Professional Standards (Diocese of Sale) where he provided advice to leadership personnel on child safety in schools relating to the findings of the Royal Commission into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Paul undertook the Stronger Smarter Leadership and Facilitator programs in 2011 and 2012. He has post-graduate qualifications in Educational Leadership and Administration and Government Investigations.
Research & Impact
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 has 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 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 CENSUS and 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.
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).
Kelly is a qualified Social Worker and has vast professional experience working within the education system, with young people and their families. Later in her career Kelly became passionate about social media and technology for good.
Kelly’s personal philosophy is that technology and digital spaces should connect us and be driven by human connections and philosophies. Kelly holds a Diploma of Screen & Media - Multi-platform Production, and is a Digital Solutions Officer at Stronger Smarter Institute.
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.
She has worked with the Stronger Smarter Institute for 5 years. As Jarjums Team Leader, Fiona evolved the development and implementation of the inaugural Stronger Smarter Jarjums Program. Fiona is a specialist in delivering the Leadership, Jarjums, Workplaces and Specialist Programs. She has delivered Professional Development to educators for 10 years. Fiona is now working as a Senior Project Officer in our Research and Impact Team.
Her experiences span over 30 years working in Education in various roles. Within the Qld Department of Education her positions ranged 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 co-writing the chapter Stronger Smarter: Transformational change for Australian schools with rock-solid foundations in the Early Years, in the World Yearbook of Education 2020. Other highlights include presenting at the Early Childhood Australia Conference, Hobart 2019, Early Childhood Australia Reconciliation Symposium 2017, NSW Gowrie Conference 2016, AIATSIS National Conference 2012, National Australian Women’s Conference. Internationally, Fiona has spoken at World Indigenous Peoples Conference in Education (WIPCE) in Hawaii, USA, 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.
Finance, Treasury and Governance
Jenalee has been with the Institute for the past four years and completed the Stronger Smarter Leadership Program in Cherbourg, 2017. As our Administration officer, Jenalee is an integral part of the Finance Treasury and Governance team. She is responsible for all program logistics both internally and externally. Jenalee is currently studying her Diploma of Business.