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

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.


Tammy Anderson


Tammy Anderson is a Biripi woman who has grown up with her family on Dharawal country in Airds, NSW. Tammy first started teaching in 2002 as an Aboriginal Education Resource Teacher at Briar Road Public School. A role that she believes developed in her a strong understanding of individualised learning and the importance that culture plays in academically and culturally developing Aboriginal students. Tammy has forged a successful career in education and ensures that Aboriginal Education is at the forefront in both the schools and community in which she has worked in and lived. Tammy has drawn her inspiration for teaching and her passion for Aboriginal Education from both her family and school mentors including her own primary school Aboriginal Education Officer.

Tammy is committed to ensuring that high expectations set the foundation for strong teacher-student relationships for all students within Briar Road Public School. The school is significant to her as she attended there as a student and led the school as the first Aboriginal school captain in 1990. In 2013, she was appointed to the school as Principal where she strongly believes that the change in outcomes for disadvantaged children and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are possible through developing strong school culture, empowering community partnerships and the delivery of high quality curriculum that caters to each child’s needs.

Throughout her career Tammy has been awarded a number of awards highlighting her work in the space of Aboriginal education. She is a mother, a Principal and a community member who relishes in watching those she works with rise up and achieve.


Paul Bridge


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.


Gary Lennon


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.


Sharon Davis (they/them)

Non-Executive Director

Sharon is from both Bardi Kija peoples of the Kimberley, with strong beliefs in social justice, educational equity and the potential power that education has to strengthen the future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Sharon is actively involved in a range of State and National Indigenous education initiatives, from their previous work leading education at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) to establishing Goorlil Consulting, which uses an anti-racist and gender affirming lens to support education organisations to better engage with First Nations and gender diverse people and content.


Peter Leunig

Non-Executive Director

Peter has held senior fundraising and  development positions in the education  and not-for-profit sectors, including  Head of Fundraising at St Vincent’s  & Mater Health Sydney, Director of  Development at the University of  Western Australia and Executive  Director of Institutional Advancement  at Macquarie University. He is an expert  at reviewing the fundraising and  development status of organisations and  establishing the necessary infrastructure  and visionary strategic direction for  fundraising and development operations to succeed. He holds a Bachelor of Science (Pathology) and a Bachelor of Arts (Music).  Peter brings the experience  to our board to strategically guide and grow the Institute’s status as a  charitable organisation to accelerate the  transformation of Indigenous Education  in Australia.


Michele Galagher

Company Secretary

Michele Galagher has over 25 years of experience in Finance and Accounting, including 11 years as Company Secretary in the not-for-profit sector.  Michele holds a Master of Commerce (Accounting), Graduate Diploma in Corporate Governance, and a Graduate of the AICD Company Directors Course. She is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow at the CPA Australia, Governance Institute of Australia and a Chartered Secretariat.