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International Graduate Centre of Education

2015 Indigenous Leadership Conference: navigating the health-education nexus

  • Conference

The International Graduate Centre of Education and the Centre of School Leadership, in partnership with the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT (AMSANT) presented the 2015 Indigenous Leadership Conference: Navigating the education health nexus at the Darwin Convention Centre for 2 days on Monday 28 and Tuesday 29 September 2015.

This conference focussed on the Indigenous education health nexus through the presentation of quality research, examples of best practice response models and associated outcomes occurring in the Northern Territory, nationally and internationally.

Presentations included keynote deliveries and plenary sessions from a wide number of health and education experts and practitioners from these sectors, as well as tertiary, NGOs, and allied industry groups.


  • Enhanced participant understandings of the health-education nexus and the various ways these dimensions are collectively expressed and impact Indigenous children and families

  • Through exposure to best practice exemplars, enhanced participant understandings of the ways in which progressive models may be developed and applied across Indigenous cultural contexts

  • Build cross agency and community partnerships involving Indigenous health and education professionals committed towards the improvement of Indigenous health and schooling outcomes

Outcomes: Conference Themes

  1. Indigenous health and education are interlocked. Future policy modelling, program actions and resource flows need to reflect this reality.

  2. Indigenous participation, control and empowerment are not optional in Indigenous social and economic advancement. Without this, Indigenous public policy exists within a convoluted and dichotomised state. Everyone pays a high human cost.

  3. Indigenous cultural security and controls over Indigenous identities are central to Indigenous advancement. There is no other option apart beyond continued lateral violence and separatism amongst the population.

  4. Indigenous identities need to be positioned within the core of a contemporary Australian identity in order for social policy modelling to flow, consistent with this positioning. Indigenous world views and representation needs to be heavily positioned in such spaces to avoid mainstreaming and diffusion of Indigenous social representation in advancing local and systemic solutions.

  5. The key institutions involved in Indigenous health and education continue constructing public spaces to advance the wider community awareness and responses with the nexus and connection points. Public spaces provide currency and carriage to unpacking the complex relationship that exist between health and education in Northern Territory's Indigenous population.

  6. Integrated service modelling involving health and education are an effective organisational response to the challenges of service specialisation. This includes pointed models such as the AMSANT structure representing 26 member services across the Northern Territory.

  7. Increased social policy formatting of education is required in future architecture. Engagement with learning occurs through social and emotional frames and this is the natural state underpinning quality learning. This includes models for Indigenous cultural content built within the structuring of schooling services.

Download the 2015 Program

Here are some of the presenters from the 2015 conference

Master of Ceremony and Keynote: Charlie King

Keynote Title: Fathering and No More

Mr King has been the chairman of the NT Department of Children and Families’ Advisory Council since 2006 and a youth worker for more than 20 years. He is involved in the Strong Men’s Council, Life Education, Aboriginal Men’s Advisory Group and an ambassador for the No More campaign to reduce family violence.

Mr King’s broadcast achievements include commentating Indigenous games for the Australian Football League and, in 2008 in Beijing, becoming the first Indigenous Australian to commentate at an Olympic Games.

Keynote and Workshop presenter: Professor Russell Bishop, School of Education, University of Waikato, New Zealand

<a href="">Keynote Title: Relationship-Based Leadership Theory and Practice</a>Russell Bishop is a descendant of the Ngāti Awa and Tainui tribes of Aotearoa New Zealand. He is Emeritus Professor at the University of Waikato, in New Zealand. Prior to this appointment Russell was Professor of Māori Education in the School of Education at the University of Waikato. In this role, he was the project leader of the large-scale, theory-based New Zealand education reform project, Te Kotahitanga, which has produced significantly improved achievement outcomes for indigenous learners. Currently, his work is focused on developing initiatives which will allow him to continue to explore research and successful development projects for indigenous and minoritised groups. The University of Waikato endorses the extension of Emeritus Professor Bishop’s work to other jurisdictions that face similar challenges with their indigenous and minoritised students. Additional content: workshop presentation

Keynote: Professor Giselle Byrnes - Pro Vice Chancellor: Faculty, Law, Education, Business and Arts, Charles Darwin University

<a href="">Keynote Title: Joined up thinking: The Education - Health research nexus at Charles Darwin University</a>Professor Giselle Byrnes is Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Law, Education, Business and Arts at Charles Darwin University, based in Darwin, Australia. She has been in this role since 2011. Prior to this position, Giselle was Professor of History and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Postgraduate) at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. Giselle is an historian and her research has centred on settler-indigenous histories in colonial and postcolonial contexts. She has an international reputation and her publications are highly regarded. These include Boundary Markers: Land Surveying and the Colonisation of New Zealand (Wellington, 2001), The Waitangi Tribunal and New Zealand History (Oxford, 2004) and The New Oxford History of New Zealand (Oxford, 2009), of which she was General Editor. Giselle has a longstanding commitment towards implementing a social justice agenda in education and prior to becoming an academic, worked for the New Zealand public service as a senior researcher for the Waitangi Tribunal, the institution charged with addressing Maori claims against the Crown under the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi.

Keynote: Ken Davies, Chief Executive Officer, Northern Territory Department of Education

Keynote Title: A Healthy Share in the FutureMr Davies commenced as Chief Executive of the Department of Education on 2 April 2013. He has a strong education background having previously served in senior roles within the department. Mr Davies began his career in the Northern Territory as a teacher at Papunya in 1978. He became a school principal in Alice Springs and Katherine and regional superintendent in Tennant Creek. In 1999, he moved from Central Australia to Darwin, taking a position in the Department of the Chief Minister, and was soon appointed General Manager Indigenous Education in the Department of Education. Mr Davies is a former Chair of the Northern Territory Board of Studies and former Northern Territory Principal’s Association President. He has also held appointments to the boards of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, the Menzies School of Health Research, the Waterfront Development Corporation and the Land Development Corporation.

Keynote: Cyndi Bowyer, Assistant Principal

Keynote Title: The journey that took me for a rideCyndi Bowyer born in 1974, an Okala woman from Cape York QLD. Classroom Teacher for 10 years currently Assistant Principal at Ntaria School, Central NT. Cyndi has enjoyed the challenges and rewards of effective teaching in Indigenous communities, and during that time has received NT Award for Excellence in Teaching or Leadership in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education 2014 and Commonwealth Bank Foundation Teaching Award 2014 for Financial Literacy. She continues to be a strong influence for those she works with, encouraging and supporting teacher growth and student improvement.

Keynote: John Paterson, Chief Executive Officer AMSANT

Keynote Title: Joined up thinking: What's health got to do with it?Mr Paterson was appointed Chief Executive Officer for AMSANT (Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the NT) in 2006, he has held many senior management positions within government and Aboriginal community organisations for more than twenty seven years.  Mr Paterson is affiliated with the Ngalakan tribe from the Ngukurr region, southeast Arnhem Land. Mr Paterson graduated from Edith Cowan University with a Bachelor of Social Science in Human Service.  He is also a graduate and Fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, a former ATSIC Commissioner and former Governing Council member of the Top End Hospital Network Council.  He also chairs the NACCHO eHealth Expert Group. Mr Paterson was recently awarded the Top End NAIDOC 2013 'Lifetime Achievements' award. His interest includes mentoring Indigenous youth, strengthening Indigenous governance structures and gardening.  Mr Paterson is also President of the Darwin Buffaloes Football Club.

Keynote: Dr Curtis Roman, Head, School of Indigenous Knowledges and Public Policy, Charles Darwin University

<a href="">Keynote Title: Preparing the NT workforce through practical methods</a>Dr Curtis Roman is a Larakia man from Darwin. He is the acting Head of School for the School of Indigenous Knowledges and Public Policy at Charles Darwin University. Curtis has taught in Indigenous Studies, education, anthropology and human resource management. In addition to supervising research students he also teaches the following classes: Society and Culture; Indigenous Policy making Research Preparation Research Investigation: Theory and Literature; Independent Study. Dr Roman completed his PhD in 2012. His thesis investigated issues that deter Indigenous men from using public health services. The information from my research puts healthcare providers and professionals in a position to see mainstream healthcare through the lens of Indigenous men. With a better understanding of the impact of cultural, family, institutional and other reasons, health care providers and practitioners may be able to improve the delivery of health care to Indigenous men.

Keynote: Professor Gary Robinson, Director Centre for Child Development and Education, Menzies School of Health Research

Keynote Title: Leadership and collaboration to promote social-emotional learning among young peopleProfessor Gary Robinson is Director of the Centre for Child Development and Education at the Menzies School of Health Research. He has worked in the area of early intervention and prevention among in remote community settings over many years and with a team at Menzies, lead national consultations to develop the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy.

Keynote: Robert Sommerville AM, Chief Executive Officer at Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education

Robert SommervilleAssociate Professor Robert Somerville AM was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (Director) of Batchelor Institute for Indigenous Tertiary Education on the 02 February 2015. Prior to joining BIITE Robert was in the Western Australian Education system as a senior executive leading their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander provision. He also spent a number of years as a regional Director and Superintendent throughout Western Australia. Robert is a Martu man from Jigalong in Western Australia with extensive family links throughout the Gascoyne-Murchison region of Western Australia (WA). Robert’s mother and grandmother were a part of the ‘Stolen Generation’ with his mother and her siblings spending most of their lives at Sisters Kate’s Home in Queens Park (Perth).

Keynote: Frank Spry, Chief Executive Officer, NT Stolen Generations, Aboriginal Corporation

Dispelling the myth that under Government public policy ALL  “Stolen Generation” children were given an Education Frank is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the NT Stolen Generations Aboriginal Corporation. He has 35 years of experience in middle and senior public service management positions. In QLD, he was the State Coordinator, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander TAFE Programs and in the NT he worked in both the Education and Health departments. He was also the Training Manager for Miwatj Health in Nhulunbuy and worked in AMSANT as the Regional Coordinator for the Red Lily Health Reform program.

Workshop presenter: Professor Sue Shore, Director International Graduate Centre of Education, Charles Darwin University

<a href="">Then and Now: developing the conditions for a respected workforce in remote communities</a>Sue Shore is a Professor in Education (Research) in the School of Education with responsibility for the School’s Research Portfolio. Sue has more than 30 years teaching, research and education management experience and has built a sustained history of collaboration with community, school, VET and university organisations and colleagues. Her commissioned research and competitive research grants have consistently addressed the theme of social inclusion and its implications for organisations, educators and trainers (funding of more than $330k individually and over $1m with colleagues). Sue has secured national and international grants in the areas of adult literacy provision, comparative studies of workplace learning, analyses of how racial practices operate in and across education and training organisations and strategies to enhance workplace practitioner research. She has authored more than 50 peer reviewed journal articles, edited books, chapters and conference papers. Many of these projects involved negotiating complex research relationships with industry partners and individual educators. Sue has supervised to completion eight doctoral theses, five Masters theses, three Honors theses and more than 25 work-related Masters projects, all involving various levels of external ethical review and monitoring.

Plenary speaker: Professor Peter Kell, Head, School of Education, Charles Darwin University

<a href="">Time to think about the future: Critical perspecitves on the idea of the future for Indigenous health and education</a>Dr Peter Kell is Professor and Head of the School of Education at Charles Darwin University. Peter Kell was previously at the Centre for Lifelong Learning Research and Development (CLLRD) at the Hong Kong Institute of Education from 2009-11. Professor Kell’s current research interests include teacher education, global student mobility, the internationalization of education and training in the Asia Pacific and literacy and language in East Asia. In his role Head of School Professor Kell at Charles Darwin University, Professor Kell has responsibility for undergraduate and graduate entry initial teacher education programs as well as the International Graduate Centre for Education and the Centre for School Leadership.

Entertainer: Shellie Morris, NT Australian of the Year, Singer and Song Writer

NT Australian of the Year2014 NT Australian of the Year and NAIDOC Artist of the Year, Ms Morris is one of Australia’s finest singer songwriters. Her voice and heart-felt music has seen her grace stages from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, the Sydney Opera House, to the Vancouver Winter Olympics and the Skirball Centre in New York. Shellie has featured with award-winning Black Arm Band, has collaborated with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and was a composer of Prison Songs - a musical film with Casey Bennetto (Paul Keating the Musical) which is doing the international film festival rounds. Ms Morris has worked with more than 40 remote communities throughout her career, performing singer-songwriter workshops and learning different First Nations Australian languages and styles. As an Ambassador for the Fred Hollows Foundation she has helped raised awareness of eye health and healthy lifestyles for the organisation and assisted its fund-raising.

Conference host and Plenary speaker: Gary Fry

Setting the scene for the ILC 2015Mr Fry is an Indigenous man from Darwin in the Northern Territory and his Aboriginal heritage is Dagiman. Mr Fry has spent his entire life in the Northern Territory and has a strong and long term commitment to improving the quality of life for Indigenous families. Gary worked as a qualified electrician during the mid1980’s before qualifying as a primary school teacher in 1989. Mr Fry taught and has been principal in 4 remote Aboriginal schools across the NT over a ten year period, and has spent an equal amount of time at senior leadership and principal levels in urban, mainstream schools in Darwin. Mr Fry is recognised nationally for his work in Indigenous and mainstream education and has been a keynote speaker at numerous educational conferences and forums nation-wide. Mr Fry is presently undertaking a PhD in Education through Deakin University in Melbourne, focusing on the relationship of capitalist stratification and the placement of Indigenous students within a tiered education system. Mr Fry has a long-term commitment to tackling Indigenous educational inequality through his many connections in the education industry.

Plenary speaker: Professor David Giles, Dean, Faculty of Education, Humanities and Law, Flinders University and Frankie Clive

<a href="">Plenary Title: Relational Leadership and Organisational Culture</a>Prof Giles lectures on leadership, management and organisational change in Education. He has a particular interest in the relational aspects of leadership. Prof Giles research is interested in hermeneutic phenomenology and appreciative inquiry research methodologies as vehicles for exploring the experiential, relational & phenomenological nature of education and educational leadership. His current individual and collaborative research projects include exploring strengths-based initiatives in primary schooling and alternative pedagogical approaches in the educational leadership: Starting from the phenomenon of leadership. Additional content: workshop presentation

Plenary Speaker: Mary Sinclair, Cognition Education Global Director for Culture Countsplus: Relationships-based Learning

Cognition Education Global Director for Culture Countsplus: Relationships - based LearningMary Sinclair is Cognition Education Global Director for Culture Countsplus: Relationships-based Learning. Before joining Cognition, Mary held a range of teaching and management positions in New Zealand secondary schools. She then became Senior Manager for Schools Monitoring and Support in the New Zealand Ministry of Education. In this role she was responsible for New Zealand school improvement strategy, including partnerships between the local iwi (indigenous tribes) and the Ministry of Education. Mary was formerly a board member for the International Congress of School Effectiveness and Improvement (ICSEI) and has represented New Zealand in the OECD work. As an Executive Trustee for the Cognition Institute, Mary contributed to building research capability in New Zealand. A key focus of Mary extensive education experience has been her work with indigenous and minoritised learners and communities, and also her work in school improvement/development and reform.

Plenary speaker: Professor Mark Rose, Executive Director, Indigenous Strategy and Education, La Trobe University and Chair of BIITE

<a href="">Plenary Title: Distance Travelled and Looking into the horizon</a>Mark Rose is traditionally linked to the Gunditjmara Nation of western Victoria. With a thirty-year career in education Mark has contributed to a broad range of educational settings within the State, nationally and internationally. Mark has consulted regularly with Indigenous and non-Indigenous organisations both nationally and internationally. For over a decade Mark taught in predominantly postgraduate programs at RMIT University’s Faculty of Business. Mark taught here in Australia as well as Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. At a state and national level and with community endorsement Mark has sat on five ministerial advisory committees. In 2003 – 2005 Mark co-chaired the Victorian Implementation Review of Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. In 2008 Mark moved to VAEAI as General Manager during the WIPC-E Conference and assumed the position of Chair of Indigenous Knowledge Systems at Deakin University in 2009. In 2013 Professor Mark Rose was appointed as the Executive Director Indigenous Strategy at La Trobe University.

Plenary speaker: Laurayne Tafa, Consultant, Culture Counts, Cognition Education

wide range of teaching, leadership, advisory and evaluation experiences in educational contexts situated in mainly Māori and Pacifika environments Laurayne Tafa has a wide range of teaching, leadership, advisory & evaluation experiences in educational contexts, situated in mainly Māori and Pacifika environments both rural and urban. In all of her roles the focus is on building communities and raising organisational performance to improve student outcomes. She is skilled at open consultative processes with stakeholders to grow educationally powerful partnerships resulting in capacity & capability building within communities. These attributes and skills have made her a successful school leader, lead principal. In the Ministry of Education in New Zealand, Laurayne led schools performance and improvement, managed complex interventions at a governance level and worked within iwi (indigenous tribal) partnerships. Her advisory experience includes private consultants as well as mayor and minister appointments to advise on national strategies and exert panels. She displays a firm commitment to contributing to the improvement of the whole profession.

Workshop presenter: Professor Ruth Wallace, Director Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University

<a href="">Workshop Title: Engaging Policy with Indigenous Leaders</a>Professor Ruth Wallace is the Director of the Northern Institute, the social and policy research institute at Charles Darwin University. Her research interests relate to the links between identity, marginalised learners and the development of effective learning and workforce development pathways. This work is situated in regional and remote areas of Northern Australia, and undertaken with Aboriginal people in remote and regional areas. Ruth’s research connects to mobile learning pedagogies, literacy and numeracy learning and approaches to workforce development in remote enterprises.. Ruth leads the workforce development research theme at the Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University and focuses on collaborative approaches to workforce development and engagement with community, governments and industry that are sustainable and scalable.

Workshop presenter: Professor Rose McEldowney, Head, School of Health, Charles Darwin University

<a href="">Workshop Title: Embedding Inidgenous pedagogies, knowledges and practices in health professions courses</a>Professor Rose McEldowney has extensive practical and management experience from Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) in New Zealand, where she managed and taught tertiary nursing, midwifery and health programs in partnership with practice. Prof McEldowney originally trained as a nurse and has broad practical experience across mental health, primary health, palliative, surgical and postnatal nursing. Professor McEldowney has broad interests across health care and said she enjoyed applying academia to the evolving and dynamic roles of nursing, midwifery and allied health. She has also spent many years setting up primary health care, degrees in nursing and midwifery and postgraduate courses in partnership with Indigenous peoples.

Workshop presenters: Richard Fejo, Senior Aboriginal Cultural Educator, Northern Territory General Practice Education and Patrick Johnson, Indigenous Leadership Program Project Officer, AMSANT

Richard Feyo: Leadership in the Northern TerritoryRichard Fejo is a Larrakia “Salt Water” man and recognised elder of his clan group (Larrakia ‘Fejo’ Clan Group) and a direct descendant of the Larrakia from his father and Grandfather in what culture calls, “Grandfather law”. Richard’s skin name is ‘Balang’ from the top end of the NT and ‘Tjapaltjarri’ from the Warramungu (Tennant Creek) region on his mother's side. Richard worked for five years with the North Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service (NAALAS now NAAJA) in Darwin as a Criminal Field Officer and three years in Perth with the Legal Aid Commission of Western Australia (LAWA) as a Paralegal, before working in further Community Legal Education programs, both at Territory and Commonwealth levels. Richard has been trained by the Human Rights Commission and the Attorney General’s Department and spent the last 20 years working in approximately 25 remote communities across the Northern Territory.


Patrick Johnson: Leadership in the Northern TerritoryPatrick Johnson is an Australian athlete and the Indigenous Leadership Program Project Officer at AMSANT. He is the current Oceanian and Australian record holder in the 100 metres with a time of 9.93 seconds, achieved in Mito, Japan, on 5 May 2003. With that time he became the first person not of African ancestry to break the 10-second barrier (Frankie Fredericks, a Namibian, had been the first non-West-African in 1991). The time has made him the 17th fastest man in history at the time and 38th man to crack the 10-second barrier. He was regarded as the fastest man of non-African descent before Christophe Lemaitre ran 9.92 seconds in French National Championships in Albi on 29 July 2011. His personal best also makes him the fastest Oceanian in history. He reached the finals in both the 100 and 200 metres at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, and the 200m final in the 2005 World Championships, where he finished 6th. He represented Australia at the Olympic Games in 2000. He finished his career with one Commonwealth Games medal: a bronze in the 4 × 100 metres relay at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Workshop presenter: Dr Sue Stanton, Batchelor Institute for Indigenous Tertiary Education

Workshop Title: Expanding the boundaries of diversity: Inclusive teaching practices via online delivery may/should provide the tools for changeDr Sue Stanton has had many years as an experienced educator in the Higher Education space. Currently she is a Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education (BIITE) Senior Lecturer based in the Division of Higher Education and Research and managing the Bachelor of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advocacy (BATSIA); Indigenous Land and Sea Management (ILSM); and the Diploma of Creative Indigenous Writing (DCIW) as well as the Diploma of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Knowledges (DATSIK). She was until recently also the Senior Lecturer for the Bachelor of Indigenous Languages and Linguistics (BILL). All these programs are delivered online and in Workshop mode as part of the partnership between Batchelor Institute and Charles Darwin University. Credentials: BA (NTU); MA (UArizona); PhD (CDU)

Workshop presenter: Chris Bradley, Senior Consultant Professional Learning (Indigenous Programs, Centre for School Leadership, Charles Darwin University

Workshop: The 3R2 Plus Program The 3R2 Plus Program (a preventative formula for pro-social behaviour) gave the participants the opportunity to explore the critical nature of ‘respectful relationships’ in education, and how these can be developed through ‘responding’ instead of ‘reacting’. Participants explored how we unintentionally tend to exacerbate behaviours through our human reactions, and discovered  an improved approach to reduce resistance, retaliation and rebellion through the more appropriate strategy of responding instead of reacting.

This table provides an over-view of the 4 goals of behaviour and appropriate responses (based on the work of Dr. Maurice Balsom & Adlerian Theory).

Workshop presenter: Associate Professor Pascale Dettwiller (photo) and Trish Maroney, Flinders University

<a href="">Workshop Title: Speech Therapyat preschool (0-5 years old) and in primary schools: A model that brings change!</a>Pascale Dettwiller is Associate Professor and Director at the Katherine Campus of the Rural Clinical School Campus of the Flinders University NT Medical Program, Katherine, Northern Territory. She has held Senior Clinical Pharmacist positions at governmental and non-governmental health organisations in New Caledonia, Tasmania and Victoria. For the last 4 years, Dr Dettwiller has been leading the Rural Clinical School in Katherine as an academic lead and foremost as community engagement representative for Flinders Northern Territory. Dr Dettwiller’s current role is to develop these community-campus partnerships and ensure appropriate feedback from the projects’ outcomes is provided to the partners. She implemented the student–led clinics for allied health discipline starting with speech pathology in primary school (S.E.L.L. project) and looking at occupational therapy and medicine in the coming year 2016. She collaborates with AMSs Katherine on regular basis organising medical and health students’ clinical placements and liaising for professional development opportunities. The S.E.L.L. project came about after the community requested some assistance for kids with FASD.

Trish Maroney (photo not available) is an early research career academic. Trish Maroney is a Wardaman woman from Katherine Region. She has worked as a Speech Pathologist in Aboriginal Medical Services in remote Communities in the Region and in Katherine Township for 7 years. She also has significant clinical, policy and governance experience within the primary healthcare setting in South Australia. Trish currently supervises visiting Speech Pathology students undertaking their clinical placement in Katherine in her role as associate clinical academic with Flinders University to enable increased access to clinical services, develop culturally safe practice skills in the next generation of clinicians and to develop allied health recruitment and retention at the local level.

Workshop presenter: Shaun Cusak, Clontarf Foundation

<a href="">Workshop Title: The Clontarf Foundation</a>Shuan was born in Darwin 1976 and has lived and grown up in Alice Springs for most of his life. Shaun is a part of the Warlpiri Tribe of Central Australia.
He has worked for the Clontarf foundation for 9 years in Central Australian, NSW and now in the Top End. Shuan manages 11 programs including Yirrkala, Katherine, Jabiru, Gunbalayna, Palmerston, Rosebery, Kormilda, Dripstone, Sanderson, Nightcliff and Casuarina Academy programs.

Workshop presenter: Laura Bachman, Founding member of Grow Well, Live Well

Workshop Title: Working together for children in Palmerston - improving health and schooling outcomes with a Collective Impact ApproachLaura Bachman has worked with Save the Children as NT Senior Programs Manager since July 2015, following a merger between Save the Children and Good Beginnings Australia. Laura worked with Good Beginnings Australia for four years as State Manager (NT) and prior to that appointment, worked in management roles for the CREATE Foundation (NT) and Volunteer Task Force (WA). Laura has a varied background in the not for profit sector. Laura has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (Honours), a Graduate Certificate in Health Services Management and is in the process of completing a Masters in Family Studies. Laura is a founding member of the Leadership Group for Grow Well, Live Well, a Palmerston NT based collective impact project. Her interests are in the application of evidence informed practices to build better outcomes for children, and approaches which strengthen and sustain the capacity of families and communities.

Workshop presenter: Dr Samual Gubicak, General Practioners Rural

<a href="">Workshop Title: A holistic approach to youth wellbeing and development - Engaging the hard to reach</a>Dr Samuel Gubicak graduated from the Australian National University in 2009 and is currently completing Specialist training in Rural/Remote General Practice. He has spent the past 3 years living and working in remote communities in central Australia and has also been involved in assisting and coordinating a range of youth health and wellbeing initiatives. Dr Gubicak was awarded the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Rural Registrar of the Year Award for 2014.

Workshop presenter: Karen Cieri, Assistant Director, Centre for School Leadership, Charles Darwin University

Workshop Title: Group problem solving, creativity adn decision-making practices for collaboration in health and educationKaren Cieri is the Assistant Director at Centre for School Leadership. Karen assists in the development and organisation of the Centre’s suite of programs. Karen also has specialist skills in dialogue and shared decision-making that she supports leaders to embed in their school cultures. Prior to being seconded to Charles Darwin University, Karen has worked in strategic planning and policy roles within the Northern Territory Department of Education since 2000. Karen’s previous work includes the development of whole-of-government change agendas in Indigenous education and initiatives to enhance data-informed decision making. Karen has a bachelor degree with a double major in psychology from the University of Queensland and is currently undertaking doctorate research into collaborative leadership at Charles Darwin University.

Workshop presenter: Marie Murfet (photo), Section Manager of Piliyintinji-ki Stronger Families, and Kay Hayward, Chief Executive Officer of Papulu Apparr-Kari Aboriginal Corporation

<a href="">Workshop Title: Let's make it better for the future</a>Marie Murfet is the Section Manager of Piliyintinji-ki Stronger Families and heads up a diverse team of subject matter experts who advocate a three tiered approach to prevention in relation to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal clients: (i) community; (ii) in-house counselling and supports; and (iii) outreach and/or referrals. The PSF team comprises program Team Leaders, Community and Family Support Workers, Administration and Business Operations, as well as Male and Female Family and AOD Counsellors and a Psychologist. Over 80% of the staff in PSF are Aboriginal, with all staff being able to provide immediate and direct assessment, care, support, education and interventions. Marie is currently completing a Master in Public Health, informing that education and community capacity building is key to taking the first steps in managing an holistic approach to self-care and family wellbeing. Marie has worked for over 30 years across the social and criminal justice arenas, planning and implementing approaches that aim to support Aboriginal people and their families to manage their choices about their health across their own life course.

Karan Hayward (no photo available) is the Chief Executive Officer of Papulu Apparr-Kari Aboriginal Corporation (Known as the Language Centre) a position she has held for 20 years. Karan, as Chief Executive Officer is responsible for delivering the following programs for the Barkly Region:
Language and Culture – Indigenous Language Support Program
Transitional Program
Remote School Attendance Strategy Program
Parent and Community Engagement Program

Workshop presenter: Dr Georgie Nutton, Lecturer in Education (Early Childhood), School of Education; Researcher, International Graduate Centre of Education, Charles Darwin University

Title: What is an elephant? Why work in the education health nexus?Georgie has over 20 years’ experience in early childhood education, applied research, policy development and delivery of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment projects including professional development for teachers, particularly in the Northern Territory. She has successfully managed and led major early childhood education and care projects for the Northern Territory Government and Menzies’ Centre for Child Development and Education including analyses of national and international evidence based interventions across health, child protection, community services and education disciplines.

2014 Indigenous School Leadership Conference

'Celebrating and partnering for success in Indigenous education'

On the November 28, 2014, over 200 indigenous and non-Indigenous educators met in Darwin to learn and work together, with the goal of strengthening the ecosystem needed to improve outcomes for all First Australians.

What was covered?

During the day, we explored the ways that we can work in partnership to further engage Indigenous leaders, learners and communities to improve the opportunities and pathways available to First Australians. We did this through showcasing outstanding exemplars and outcomes in quality best practice in Indigenous education through the themes of;

  • Creating opportunities for Indigenous Australians
  • Ensuring quality learning
  • Enabling strong partnerships
  • Engaging communities
  • Creating productive and effective collaboration

What the day looked like?

We partnered with Education Changemakers to architect a day that was inspiring, optimistic, focused and high on practical take homes. What made this event unique was our commitment to;

Celebrating Indigenous Voices

At this Indigenous School Leadership Conference we were committed to providing a strong platform for exceptional Indigenous leaders to be heard and to showcase the great work happening in the NT and across the country in Indigenous education. Many of these speakers were accompanied by brilliant non-Indigenous voices that were also working in the Indigenous education space.

Ensuring Active Participation

At this event, there were inspiring keynote speeches from the stage, strengthened by interactive group breakout sessions and discussions throughout the day. We were looking to tap into the collective genius in the room and the participants delivered by ensuring their great ideas and practices were shared.

Collecting Practical Tools for Change

All of our speakers from the main stage or in group breakout sessions were trained and supported by our team to ensure they shared real stories of success and detailed the practical points that others could then take back to their unique education context.

Strengthening the Eco-System for Change

The room will be filled with Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians who are committed to working together to improve Indigenous education in this country. There will be many chances for connection and networking throughout the day to foster the sparking of new collaborations.

Who came?

The Indigenous Leadership Conference showcased over 200 passionate and optimistic Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians who are committed to improving the education and life outcomes of First Australians. Participants were welcomed from schools, government, universities and non-profit organisations.

Who spoke on the day?

One of the great things about the format Indigenous School Leadership Conference was that great people, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, were able to share stories of what they were doing to improve outcomes for Indigenous Australians.


From the Main Stage

Dr Curtis Roman

Larrakia man

Lecturer, Indigenous Knowledges

Australian Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Education (ACIKE)Welcome to Country

Tracy Woodroffe

Senior Lecturer, CDU

Senior Teacher (DoE)

PhD student

School of Indigenous Knowledges and Public Policy/ Centre for School Leadership, Charles Darwin UniversityIndigenous pedagogies in Territory classrooms

Tristian Duggie, Teaching Assistant

Katrina Kotzur, Teacher

Mungkata Outstation School

Co-teaching: The Butterfly Effect

Watch the video

Rod Little

Board Director 

National Congress of Australia's First Peoples

National Congress of Australia's First Peoples,

Principals Australia,

Dare to Lead

Influencing change through collaboration

Watch the video

Esther Djayhgurrnga, Co-Principal

Sue Trimble, Co-Principal

Gunbarlanya School

Karribidyikarrmerrimen... Working together, co-principal leadership

Watch the video

Dyonne Anderson

President NATSIPA

Principal Cabbage Tree Islander School, NSW

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Principals Association (NATSIPA)

Indigenous school leadership: national examples of best practice approaches and outcomes

Watch the video

Professor Peter Kell

Head of School

School of Education, Charles Darwin University

Apocalyptic and Transcendental Contradictions in Leadership 

Watch the video

Wendy Ludwig

Director of Operations Indigenous Leadership

Australian Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Education (ACIKE), CDUACIKE Indigenous leadership and study pathways

Tony Considine

General Manager Indigenous Education Review Implementation

Northern Territory Department of Education (DoE)

NT Indigenous education strategic directions

View PowerPoint slides

Mark Motlop

Rod Little

Peter Kell

Tracy Woodroffe

Northern Territory Indigenous Education Council

National Congress of Australia's First Peoples

School of Education, Charles Darwin University

School of Indigenous Knowledges and Public Policy/ Centre for School Leadership, Charles Darwin University

Panel discussion

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Gary Fry


Centre for School Leadership

Conference closing address
Breakout Sessions

Rod Little, Board Director

National Congress of Australia's First PeoplesInfluencing change through collaboration. A personal reflection on Education systems, programs and relationships from experiences gained in government employment; consultancy; advocacy and personal interest and passion.
Iqbal Singh, former Manager Indigenous Education ProjectsQueensland University of Technology (QUT)Re-engineering schools to accelerate educational transformation. This session is about how we don't need to wait for generations to improve our schools.  We need to do things differently to facilitate a viral-like pace in education reform for Indigenous people.  This means a shift in power and decision-making.  This session discusses options for this.

Des Barritt, Principal

Adrianne Doctor, RAAS Coordinator

Telka Zotz Wilson, Teacher

Sophie Walla, Assistant Teacher

Jilkminggan School

Rigor, relationships and reports and effective community engagement. Developing meaningful reporting and engagement strategies at Jilkminggan

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Kathryn Leo, PrincipalUrapunga School2 is better than 1. Leading education delivery through an Indigenous lens. Lessons learned from teaching together at Urapunga School: An Indigenous Principal's perspective.
Pauline Schober, A/Teaching Schools Coordinator, Senior Teacher

School of Education, Charles Darwin University

Sanderson Middle School

Indigenous teachers – Leading by example: Indigenous teacher role models and student connectedness with schools. With just over 40% of our students in Northern Territory Schools being Indigenous, it's time to get serious about the need for more quality Indigenous teachers.

Neil Gibson, Principal

Michelle Bennett

Minyerri SchoolTaking it to the streets. Enabling strong partnerships in the community
Julianne Wills and the Catholic Indigenous Education TeamCatholic Education, Northern TerritoryOwning shared leadership.

Sarah Corry, Senior Teacher

Raylee Parker, Teacher

Henbury School, 

Nightcliff Middle School

T2W - Transition to work. Providing real opportunities for all students to participate in authentic business enterprises
Mark Motlop, ChairNorthern Territory Indigenous Education Council (NTIEC)NT best practice models: Indigenous education

Stephanie Blitner, Co-Principal

John Bradbury, ST3 Talking Numba

Gloria Yantarrnga, Assistant Teacher

Camelia Blitner, Teacher

Lucina Jargaba, Assistant Teacher

Melissa Moore, Senior Teacher 1

Holly Yantarrnga, Assistant Teacher

Merrilyn Bara, Assistant Teacher

Angurugu School

Groote Eylandt Schools

Angurugu School

Alyangula Area School

Milyakburra School

Umbakumba School

Talking Numba. Empowering community teachers (ATs) to teach foundational maths ideas using hands-on activities and first-language explication

Andrew Murray, Teaching Principal

Joshua Jackson

Elliot School

Better Together. Factors leading to significant progress in student learning has been made at Elliott School over the past few years due to a strong commitment by ALL stakeholders to ensure that quality learning takes place at the school

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Robyn Ober, PhD student

Noressa Bulsey

Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education (BIITE)Both-ways in action - Philosophy to practice at Batchelor Institute. This presentation will explore the both-ways philosophy and its implementation through the teaching and learning spaces at Batchelor Institute
School Performances

Wagaman Djamakuli

Wagaman Primary School


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Sanderson Djamulkuli Bungal

Sanderson Middle SchoolBapu

Culture in the Classroom – Learning Together

Indigenous Employment in Schools – Great Job!

Reporting to Parents – Sharing Success

Team Teaching – Why Two is Better than One

Nightschool – Fun for Everyone

Celebrating Success – Taking it Home

Teachers and Families – Working Together

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