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Board of Directors during 2019–20

Directors' qualifications and experience

Photo of Laureate Professor John Hattie, Chair, Non-Executive Director

Laureate Professor John Hattie
BEd DipEd Med PhD

Chair, Non-Executive Director

Laureate Professor John Hattie was appointed Chair of the AITSL Board on 1 July 2014, and reappointed effective from 1 July 2020.

Professor Hattie’s work is internationally acclaimed. His influential 2008 book Visible Learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement is believed to be the world’s largest evidence-based study into the factors that improve student learning. This ground-breaking study involved more than 300 million students from around the world and brought together 50,000 smaller studies.

Through his role as Chair, Professor Hattie provides national leadership in promoting excellence, so teachers and school leaders have maximum impact on learning.
In addition, he is a Laureate Professor, has been a Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute since 2011, and is also the past president of the International Test Commission.
Professor Hattie was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours, is a fellow of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders and the American Psychological Association, has published and presented more than 1,200 papers, and supervised over 200 thesis students.

Photo of Mr Chris Wardlaw PSM OLY, Deputy Chair, Non-Executive Director

Mr Christopher Wardlaw PSM OLY
BEc (Hons) DipEd

Deputy Chair, Non-Executive Director

Mr Christopher Wardlaw PSM OLY was appointed to the AITSL Board as Deputy Chair on 2 May 2016, and reappointed effective from 2 May 2019.

Mr Wardlaw is currently Chair of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority. With an early career as a teaching fellow at university and then as a secondary teacher, Mr Wardlaw has gained extensive experience relating to curriculum, assessment, and quality assurance for pre-primary, basic, and senior secondary education. He also has vast experience in the government and education sectors from working in senior leadership roles in Australia and Hong Kong.

Mr Wardlaw was awarded the Public Service Medal in the 2013 Queen’s Birthday Honours and was made a Fellow of Monash University in 2013.

Mr Wardlaw also had a parallel career as an Olympian representing Australia in long-distance running in 1976 and 1980. Mr Wardlaw was head coach of the Australian track and field team at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 and has coached a range of elite distance runners. In 2000, he was awarded the Australian Sports Medal. He joined the Board of Athletics Australia in 2016.

Photo of Ms Beth Blackwood, Non-Executive Director

Ms Beth Blackwood
BA DipEd

Non-Executive Director

Ms Beth Blackwood was appointed to the AITSL Board on 17 June 2018.

Ms Blackwood was appointed as the CEO of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia in 2016. Prior to this, she had a 30-year career in the education sector, as teacher, head, deputy principal, and principal of various schools throughout Australia.

Ms Blackwood is committed to the education and equality of young women, and has served previously as President and Executive Board member of the Alliance of All Girls’ Schools Australasia. She has been a member of many committees and working parties for the Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia. She is currently a Director of the Australian Council on Children and the Media.

Other areas of interest include the education of Indigenous students, international baccalaureate programs, positive psychology, technology as an educational tool, and women’s leadership.

Photo of Dr Jennifer Buckingham, Non-Executive Director

Dr Jennifer Buckingham
BSc (Hons) PhD

Non-Executive Director

Dr Jennifer Buckingham was appointed to the AITSL Board on 2 June 2015, and reappointed effective from 2 June 2018.
Dr Buckingham is Director of Strategy and Senior Research Fellow at MultiLit. She is also the founder of the FIVE from FIVE reading project, which aims to bridge the gap between research and practice in reading instruction. She was previously Senior Research Fellow and Head of Education Research at the Centre for Independent Studies.
Dr Buckingham has published papers and articles on literacy, teacher education, school funding, international assessments, NAPLAN and My School, class size, and educational disadvantage. In early 2017, she chaired an expert advisory panel for the Australian Government on the introduction of a national Year 1 literacy and numeracy assessment. Dr Buckingham’s doctoral research focused on literacy and social disadvantage.

Photo of Mr Tony Cook PSM, Non-Executive Director

Mr Tony Cook PSM
BEd DipTeach

Non-Executive Director

Mr Tony Cook PSM was appointed to the AITSL Board on 2 June 2015, and reappointed effective from 2 June 2018. Mr Cook resigned from the AITSL Board on 21 January 2020.

With a background in primary teaching, Mr Cook has worked as a teacher and a deputy principal in schools and preschools in Queensland and the United Kingdom. He has worked in several senior executive education positions, including in the Australian Public Service as the Associate Secretary for Schools and Youth within the Department of Education and Training. Mr Cook has also held Deputy Secretary positions in the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Victorian Department of Education and Training. In 2018, he was appointed Director-General of the Queensland Department of Education.

In 2013, Mr Cook was made an honorary Fellow of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders and in 2014 he was awarded a Public Service Medal for driving schools policy and funding reform in Australia.

Photo of Ms Alex Gordon, Non-Executive Director

Ms Alex Gordon
BSc MSc

Non-Executive Director

Ms Alex Gordon was appointed to the AITSL Board on 9 November 2018 and resigned from her position on 22 January 2020.

Ms Gordon is the Deputy Secretary of the Schools Group in the Commonwealth of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE).

Since joining DESE in 2010, Ms Gordon has held a number of senior leadership roles driving major reforms in school funding, data collection and analytics, national curriculum and assessment, quality teaching, and preschool.

Ms Gordon has worked across a range of public policy issues within government, community organisations, and the private sector, which has included working on issues of social policy, energy and climate change, water, infrastructure, and regional development.

Ms Gordon holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Sydney and a Master of Science from the University of Oxford.

Photo of Renez Lamon, Non-Executive Director

Ms Renez Lammon
BEd

Non-Executive Director

Ms Renez Lammon was appointed to the AITSL Board on 17 June 2018 and her term expired on 17 June 2020.

Ms Lammon is a nationally certified Highly Accomplished teacher and the Assistant Principal at Casuarina Street Primary School in Katherine in the Northern Territory. Ms Lammon, a Lead Impact Coach, leads teams of teachers and provides coaching and mentoring to support her colleagues.

She has led change at both national and territory levels, promoting the value of Highly Accomplished and Lead teachers and the place of national certification supporting teachers to lead improvement in their own schools.

Ms Lammon is passionate about unleashing the expertise already in place in schools across the country. She also understands the importance of evidence and the national professional standards in supporting teachers to recognise and articulate the impact they are having on their colleagues, their communities, and most importantly, their students.

Dr Peter Lind, Non-Executive Director

Dr Peter Lind
BEd MA PhD

Non-Executive Director

Dr Peter Lind was appointed to the AITSL Board on 17 June 2018 and his term expired on 17 June 2020.

He was Registrar of the Teachers Registration Board of South Australia from 2014 to February 2020 and brings a wealth of practical and academic experience throughout the education sector. Dr Lind was previously Director of the New Zealand Teachers Council and Director of Teacher Education at Massey University of New Zealand. He started his career as a teacher, primary school principal, and university lecturer.

Dr Lind has extensive international experience, including advising the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s International Task Force on Teachers for Education in 2017. He was also a member of an expert panel that reviewed the teacher registration standards for Saudi Arabia in 2016.

Dr Lind is also a key member of the International Forum of Teacher Registration Authorities (IFTRA) and was on the steering committee planning its biennial meeting in Dublin, Ireland in June 2016 and the IFTRA conference held in Wellington, New Zealand in 2018. He is in a similar role for the biennial IFTRA Conference, which was to be held in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2020, but was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Mr Mark Mowbray, Non-Executive Director

Mr Mark Mowbray
MEdPol (Intl)

Non-Executive Director

Mr Mark Mowbray was appointed to the AITSL Board on 17 June 2018.

Mr Mowbray recently retired from the teaching profession after forty-two years of teaching, thirty of which he spent in the role of school principal on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales. Mr Mowbray is proud of spending his entire career within schools and their communities.

He also became involved in principal associations, initially in the Maitland/Newcastle Diocese. At state level, Mr Mowbray was the Primary Chair of the Association of Catholic School Principals NSW as well as a commissioner on the Catholic Education Commission. He is the immediate past president of the Australian Catholic Primary Principals Association and was also proud to sit on the Board and National Advisory Council of the Australian Primary Principals Association.

Mr Mowbray is honoured to be a member of AITSL's Board. He brings the lessons and experience of his career and a passion for the role of education within society. He has particular interest in the areas of equity, leadership, and ‘what works’ in education. His most recent study was a Master of Education Policy (International) through Melbourne University.

Mr Robert Nairn, Non-Executive Director

Mr Robert Nairn
BEdDipTeach CF MAICD

Non-Executive Director

Mr Robert Nairn was appointed to the AITSL Board on 1 January 2015, and reappointed on 2 June 2018, with his term expiring on 17 June 2020.

Mr Nairn is Associate Professor at Edith Cowan University, a Churchill Fellow, a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Member of the Beyond Blue National Education Initiative Advisory Council, a mentor with Fogarty EDvance Program, and Lead Fellow for Schools Plus teaching fellowship program.
Previously, he was the Executive Director of the Australian Secondary Principal’s Association, Director at Principals Australia Institute, and Executive Member of the International Confederation of Principals. He was also Director of the Asia Education Foundation Advisory Board and a member of The Smith Family Principals Advisory Group.
Mr Nairn has worked in metropolitan and regional senior high schools in Western Australia, particularly in low socioeconomic areas. He is passionate about shaping the direction of educational reform and ensuring every school has a leader providing high-quality education to all young people, regardless of their geographic, social, or personal circumstances.

Mr Nairn was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2017 to undertake his research into Leadership Preparation programs.

Ms Donna Pendergast, Non-Executive Director

Professor Donna Pendergast
BAppSci GradDipTeach MEd PhD

Non-Executive Director

Professor Donna Pendergast was appointed to the AITSL Board on 17 June 2018.
As Dean and Head, School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University, Professor Pendergast is a passionate educator and researcher with a global profile. She leads a dynamic school of teacher and professional educators committed to preparing the next generation of teachers and related professionals through agile and socially just educational practices. She has worked in P-10, secondary schools and colleges as a classroom teacher and administrator.

Professor Pendergast has conducted national research projects of significance and published extensively, including several books of relevance to contemporary teacher work. Her passion lies in school reform and professional learning, working closely with governments in these fields to shape policy and implement practice in settings around Australia. She initiated the Professional Learning Hub at Griffith University, providing a gateway to enable highly efficacious professional learning to thrive and improved student learning.

Professor Pendergast has presented more than 75 invitational international keynote addresses in many countries around the world. She has delivered learning programs in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan, and to Saudi Arabian teachers undertaking immersion programs in Australia.

In 2015, Professor Pendergast received the Griffith University Vice Chancellor’s Excellence in Research Supervision Award, and in 2017, a National Commendation from the Australian Council of Graduate Research for Excellence in Graduate Research Supervision. In 2018, she was awarded the Australian Council for Educational Leadership Miller-Grassie Award for Outstanding Leadership in Education.

Company Secretary’s qualifications and experience

For the qualifications of the Company Secretary please refer to Senior officers.

Board of Directors’ membership

AITSL is governed by an independent expert Board of Directors appointed by the Minister for Education.

Board members as at 30 June 2020

  • Laureate Professor John Hattie, Chair/Non-Executive Director
  • Mr Christopher Wardlaw PSM, Deputy Chair/Non-Executive Director
  • Dr Jennifer Buckingham, Non-Executive Director
  • Mr Mark Mowbray, Non-Executive Director
  • Professor Donna Pendergast, Non-Executive Director
  • Ms Beth Blackwood, Non-Executive Director

AITSL’s organisational structure and AITSL Board committees are reported in Appendix 1: AITSL organisational structure.

Board of Directors' meetings

Board of Directors' meetings

Director

Board

Audit and Risk Committee

Finance Committee

Number eligible to attend

Number attended

Number eligible to attend

Number attended

Number eligible to attend

Number attended

Laureate Professor Hattie

5

5

0

0

5

4

Mr Wardlaw

5

5

5

5

5

5

Ms Blackwood

5

4

0

0

0

0

Dr Buckingham

5

5

0

0

5

5

Mr Cook (resigned 21 January 2020)

2

1

0

0

2

1

Ms Gordon (resigned 22 January 2020)

2

2

0

0

0

0

Ms Lammon

4

4

0

0

0

0

Dr Lind

4

2

0

0

5

3

Mr Mowbray

5

5

5

5

0

0

Mr Nairn

4

4

5

5

0

0

Professor Pendergast

5

5

0

0

0

0

Ms Lammon, Dr Lind, and Mr Nairn also attended the June 2020 Board meeting; however, as their terms of appointment expired before the meeting, they attended as expert advisors and did not have voting rights.

Mrs Jennifer Morison attends the Audit and Risk Committee as an independent external member. Mrs Morison attended five of the five meetings held in 2019–20.

Mr Stephen Elder attends the Finance Committee as an independent external member. Mr Elder attended three of the five meetings held in 2019–20.

Principal activities

The principal activities of AITSL during the year were to play a lead role in national work on teacher quality and in promoting excellence in teaching and school leadership for the Australian, state and territory governments. AITSL does this by leading significant educational reforms to improve the quality of teaching and leadership and to strengthen the professionalism of teaching.

Operating result

The operating result for the year was a deficit of $1,775,106. The Statement of Comprehensive Income for the year ended 30 June 2020 in the company’s Financial Report provides further information on the operating result.

Significant activities

During 2019–20, there were two resignations and three cessations on the AITSL Board.

The Business Continuity Plan was activated due to COVID-19. Staff transitioned to remote working from March 2020, and there were no redundancies due to COVID-19.

The AITSL Constitution and the Funding Agreement were amended by the DESE.

Board appointments, cessations, resignations, and re-appointments

The following movements on the AITSL Board occurred during 2019–20:

  • Ms Alex Gordon (resigned 22 January 2020)
  • Mr Tony Cook (resigned 21 January 2020)
  • Dr Peter Lind (ceased 17 June 2020)
  • Ms Renez Lammon (ceased 17 June 2020)
  • Mr Rob Nairn (ceased 17 June 2020).

Auditor’s independence declaration

A copy of the auditor’s independence declaration as required by Division 60 of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012 and section 307C of the Corporations Act 2001 is set out in the Auditor’s Independence Declaration section of the Financial Report and forms a part of the Directors’ Report for the financial year ended 30 June 2020.

Indemnification and insurance of Directors and Officers

During the year, the company paid insurance premiums to Comcover to indemnify its Directors and Officers for the professional risks associated with their responsibilities and role as director or officer.

Events subsequent to the end of the financial year

No matters or circumstances have arisen since the end of the financial year that significantly affected, or may significantly affect, the operations of the company and the results of those operations.

Signed in accordance with a resolution of the AITSL Board.

Laureate Professor John Hattie
Chair
25 August 2020