our Steering Committee

The role of the Teachers of STEM Initiative (ToSI) Steering Committee is to provide expert advice on the Teachers of STEM Initiative.

The Steering committee members:  

  • provide expert advice and guidance to the Project Team on any issues that might arise in relation program design and content, timelines or budgets;
  • ensure the services provided by the project are of high quality and meet stakeholder expectations; 
  • ensure that all risk mitigation strategies as detailed in the risk management plan are in place and provide advice on any risks that emerge;
  • ensure the project stays within scope and advise on any issues that might emerge; and 
  • report to the Institute Board on any issues in relation to project quality, scope, timelines, risks and budget. 

Meet Our Steering Committee Members

Professor Grace Sarra

Associate Professor Sarra is an academic and a researcher within the School of Early Childhood and Inclusive Education in the Faculty of Creative Industries, Education and Justice at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

Grace is of Aboriginal heritage from Bindal and Birri clan groups of the Birrigubba nation and Torres Strait Islander heritage of Mauar, Stephen and Murray Islands. She has over 30 years of experience in teaching and leadership roles in schools and universities.

Her work focuses in the area of Indigenous education on pedagogy and community engagement, school change and leadership, social justice and inclusive education. Grace's research work utilizes Indigenous knowledges and frameworks with theoretical frameworks to contest prevailing assumptions and stereotypes that contribute to the lack of success of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in schools and juvenile detention Centres.

Renee Phillips 

Renee Phillips is a Saibai woman from Zenadth Kes (Torres Strait) with ties to Papuan New Guinea woman living and working on Yidinji Country, Cairns. She is in her seventh year of teaching of Science and Maths and is now based at an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Independent school in Gordonvale, just south of Cairns. 

"I am a co-founding member of the National Indigenous Youth Education Coalition (NIYEC) and I am currently studying a Masters in Indigenous Education at Macquarie University," says Renee. 

"I am a proud advocate for seeing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers dominating education but importantly calling for our own First Nation education system. We must recognise that we had and do have sophisticated and innovative educational systems that have enabled us to thrive and be the world’s longest continuing culture." 

Fiona Kelly

Fiona Kelly is a proud Barkindji/Ngiyampaa woman and she is the Executive Principal of Menindee Central School. Menindee Central School is a remote school in far western New South Wales on the Darling River. Fiona’s students range from Kindergarten to Year 12 and 71% of the students at that school are Aboriginal. Fiona came from Menindee, she grew up in Menindee and attended the school that she now leads.

There are strong community links at that school based on mutual respect and her school results show the academic and well-being results in high attendance and student retention and she is determined to build great pathways into work and study for the students at her school.

Hayley McGuire

Buddy is a Kamilaroi man, originally from Moree, NSW. Buddy has spent his career in the Australian Public Service leading the development and implementation of social policies and programs aimed at improving the lives of Australians, particularly Indigenous Australians. He is passionate about ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have the ability to fulfil their potential and believes that having access to high quality education opportunities is key to achieving this. As a Senior Adviser in the Early Years and Education Branch at the National Indigenous Australians Agency, Buddy has oversight of the implementation of the Commonwealth’s $25m Indigenous Girls’ STEM Academy.

“We cannot underestimate the impact that having access to a high quality education can have on the lives of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. I have seen and experienced the benefits first-hand, which is why I am passionate about programs that provide education opportunities for our young people.”

“Empowering Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women by supporting and strengthening their educational aspirations has a positive impact on the whole community.”