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Business and community leaders step into principals’ shoes

Media release 3 minute read

Around 150 business and community leaders will step up for schools and become Principal for a Day tomorrow. 


Business and community leaders step into principals’ shoes

11 August 2014: Around 150 business and community leaders will step up for schools and become Principal for a Day tomorrow.

Business and community leaders participating in  Principal for a Day shadow school principals and take part in many aspects of a common school day, including in-depth management discussions with the principal, taking classes with students, talking with parents and staff, or even doing canteen or yard duty.

Principal for a Day gives business and community leaders a first-hand, behind-the-scenes experience of the strengths and challenges facing Victoria’s government schools, and provides school principals with an opportunity to compare management and leadership perspectives. The program helps schools develop ongoing partnerships and networks with businesses and the wider community.

ACER chief executive Professor Geoff Masters AO said strong school-community partnerships, such as those fostered by Principal for a Day, are recognised as a characteristic of highly effective schools.

“ACER’s research shows that, when schools and their communities share local decision making and responsibility for the education of students, outcomes improve,” Professor Masters said.

“Principal for a Day enables schools to develop strategic partnerships to address identified student needs by providing access to expertise and resources that might not otherwise be available within the school. It also enables business and community leaders to better understand and support schools in their work of improving student outcomes,” he said.

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

  • Martin Dixon, Victorian Minister for Education
  • James Merlino, Victorian Shadow Minister for Education
  • Monte Olson, Longford Plants Manager, Esso Australia
  • Lin Bender AM, Chief Executive, Helen Macpherson Smith Trust
  • Adrianne Fleming, Chief Flying Instructor and Operations Manager, Tristar Aviation
  • Thomas Dobson, Head of Marketing Planning & Performance at National Australia Bank
  • Bernie Geary OAM, Principal Commissioner, Commission for Children and Young People
  • Dr Judith Slocombe, CEO, The Alannah and Madeline Foundation
  • Ian Curley, Executive Chef, The European
  • Jonathon Welch AM, School of Hard Knocks Institute.

Members of Parliament, Mayors and Councillors from metropolitan and regional councils, and Executives from the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) are also Principals for a Day in this year’s program.

Principal for a Day is a partnership between ACER and DEECD, and has been held annually in Victoria since 2001. The key event will be followed by forums 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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