Business and community leaders take the helm at Victorian schools

Wednesday, 7 Sep 2016

7 September 2015: Students and staff at more than 150 Victorian schools will tomorrow welcome high-profile personalities, members of government at all levels, business executives, and CEOs from philanthropic and not-for-profit organisations as their Principal for a Day.

By becoming a Principal for a Day, business and community leaders shadow school principals 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.

Principals for a Day in this year’s program include:

  • Rod Quantock OAM – Comedian and environmental activist
  • Peta Searle – Assistant Front Line Coach, St Kilda Football Club
  • Susan Alberti AC – Founder, Susan Alberti Medical Research Foundation, and Vice President, Western Bulldogs Football Club
  • Ron Gauci – Former CEO, Melbourne Storm, and Former CEO, Fed Square
  • James Merlino MP – Victorian Minister for Education
  • Josh Frydenberg MP – Federal Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia
  • Ange Barry – CEO, Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation
  • Alex Mathieson – Programs Director, Oxfam Australia
  • Andrew Wailes – Artistic Director and Chief Conductor, Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra
  • Jürgen Schneider – Head of Market Development – Pacific, Siemens
  • Tracey Fellows – CEO, REA Group (
  • Ross Symons – CEO, Big Ant Studios.

Principal for a Day gives business and community leaders a first-hand experience of the strengths and challenges facing Victoria’s government schools, and provides school principals with an opportunity to compare management and leadership perspectives.

Chief Executive of the Australian Council for Educational Research, Professor Geoff Masters AO, said 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.

“Networked and ongoing relationships between schools and other stakeholders that support leadership development, such as those fostered by Principal for a Day, are recognised as a characteristic of highly effective schools,” Professor Masters said.

Principal for a Day is a partnership between ACER and the Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET), funded by DET via Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership, and has been held annually in Victoria since 2001. The key event will be followed by a forum in which guest panellists will discuss the leadership challenges highlighted by the Principal for a Day program.

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


Media enquiries: Steve Holden, 03 9277 5582 or 0419 340 058

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