Business and community leaders step up for schools

Media release

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Tuesday, 21 Aug 2012


21 August 2012:  More than 180 business and community leaders will step up to support their local schools by participating in the annual Principal for a Day program taking place around Victoria this week, as well as during September and October.

By becoming a Principal for a Day, business and community leaders shadow the school principal in many aspects of a common school day, including in-depth management discussions, taking classes with students, talking with parents and teachers, or even doing canteen or yard duty.

Victoria’s Minister for Education, the Hon Martin Dixon MP, will be Principal for a Day at his former primary school, St Pius X Heidelberg West. Other Principals for a Day in this year’s program include:

  • Lady Primrose Potter AC, Governor,  The Ian Potter Foundation
  • Alex Malley, CEO, CPA Australia
  • Kathy Kaplan OAM, Founder & Principal of IMPACT for Women
  • Ian Curley, celebrity chef
  • Timothy Hart, Director of Public Engagement, Museum Victoria
  • Andrew Hewett, Executive Director, Oxfam Australia
  • Nicole Waldron, Chief Operations Manager, Epworth Hospital Richmond
  • Thirty-one National Australia Bank executives
  • Eleven Melbourne Football Club staff members
  • Mayors and Councillors from several metropolitan and regional Councils

Principal for a Day is a unique opportunity for business and community leaders to gain a first hand, behind-the-scenes experience of the strengths and challenges facing our schools every day, and provides insight into and better understanding of the young people who represent the future.

The program provides school principals an opportunity to compare management and leadership perspectives, and helps develop partnerships between businesses, the wider community and schools.

Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) chief executive, Professor Geoff Masters, said school-community partnerships, such as Principal for a Day, highlight the different kind of relationship between school and community that has emerged in the past few decades. Rather than being set apart from the rest of the community, the school is now often seen to be its hub. The community, in turn, is seen as an important source of resources and expertise for the school.

“Support from those beyond the school gates is now an essential part of preparing learners for the twenty-first century,” said Professor Masters.

“School-community engagement can bring social, intellectual, financial, psychological and performance benefits, and is a strong characteristic of highly effective schools.

“The Principal for a Day program helps to build partnerships whereby leaders from business or community and from education can learn from each other and form long-lasting professional networks,” said Professor Masters.

Principal for a Day is a partnership between ACER and the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) and has been held annually in Victoria since 2001.

A full list of participating schools and Principals for a Day is available from


Media enquiries: Megan Robinson, ACER Corporate Communications

Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER)
Phone: (03) 9277 5582
Mobile: 0419 340 058