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Our Coaches

Our Coaches are responsible for coaching, mentoring and guiding school leaders to build leadership capability in schools.


Meet our coaches

Rod Baker

Rod Baker enjoyed 48 years working with the WA Education Department in a variety of roles including as a teacher, deputy principal, principal and district director. Rod has worked in a variety of school settings, majority in rural and remote areas – a highlight of his career was to open One Arm Point Remote Community School with his wife Gail in 1975, where they spent the first three months of the year teaching under a tree on the beach and living in a caravan.

Adrian Bertolini

Adrian is the Founder & Director of Learning of Intuyu Consulting. He is one of Australia’s foremost thought leaders on practical and real education that empowers and develops resilient, independent learners. Whilst his journey began as an engineer and Senior Lecturer in Aerospace Engineering at RMIT University, Adrian has worked across Australia, with students and teachers in primary, secondary and tertiary environments, to create authentic learning structures and experiences.  

Janine Blachford

Janine’s experience in educational leadership is very diverse. From being head of small rural schools, principal of disadvantaged schools to being principal of a metropolitan kinder-to-year 9 College of over 1800 students, Janine’s hands-on experience covers a full range of the education spectrum.

Janine is renowned for her down-to-earth style which has extended from disadvantaged school consultancy to the coaching of principals and teachers in the United Arab Emirates.

Rob Blachford

Rob has served as a principal of a rural secondary, a larger provincial school and was foundation principal of an international kindergarten to year 12 college in the Middle East.

Beyond schools he has served in a number of system leadership roles including being Director of Education in 3 of Victoria’s then 9 regions. This work involved at any one time leading, supporting and managing over 200 principals and their schools. He has also worked internationally as an education advisor and principal coach.

Jeff Bruce

Jeff is a Lead Coach at Australian Schools Plus and has extensive experience in education in a career that has spanned almost 40 years. He is a former Director with the NSW Department of Education where he had responsibility for 34 schools in The Hills area in the North-Western suburbs of Sydney.  

Peter Chislett

Peter has had extensive experience as a School Principal in a range of locations and R-12 contexts (17 years) and as a Regional Director. Rod spent 10 years in state office with responsibility for development and support of the Department’s Quality and Improvement policy. 

Peter also has extensive experience (20 years) as an Australian Business Excellence evaluator and team leader for the Australian Business Excellence Awards and is an accredited school reviewer for the Council of International Schools. 

Sue Cran

Sue had a career in the Department of Education for 40 years and has worked in school leadership positions in various High schools as well as a School Education Director. Sue is a trained coach and mediator and has a long term commitment to developing leadership in educators and supporting them to inspire and empower their school community to achieve growth outcomes for students. 

Chris Deslandes

Chris is a school leadership consultant with thirty years’ experience as a school principal in remote and mainstream schools in South Australia and the Northern Territory. Chris has also worked as Assistant Regional Director, responsible for 16 schools and kindergartens on SA’s Eyre Peninsula. He then spent five years as a Regional Leadership Consultant with the state government. Chris is currently contracted to a CSIRO STEM project in remote schools in WA.

Karen Dymke

Karen is a teacher educator and practioner with a wealth of experience in positions such as Director of Learning at a major independent school, project worker and manager for a number of State wide educational innovations, a lead presenter for the VCAL professional development, a curriculum writer for the VCAA, VCAL  and ACFE, Director of the ‘High Impact’ Theatre in Education team, and a classroom teacher. Karen is currently working in a range of settings, including government high schools, the independent sector and through teaching professional bodies such as the Victorian Applied Learning Association.

Virginia Elliott

Virginia is currently an educational consultant working in the areas of growth coaching, leadership development and sports education. More recently Virginia held several senior management positions within the NSW Department of Education, including Director ESES, Assistant Director Secondary Education, School Development Officer with responsibility for Professional Learning, Curriculum and Equity, and Manager Professional Learning and Leadership.

A passionate educator, her career has included various leadership roles, Leading Teacher, Deputy Principal, Principal, and Curriculum Manager at the NSW Board of Studies. 

Lesley Englert

Lesley is the Lead Coach for the Fair Education QLD program at Australian Schools Plus and has extensive experience in education in Queensland.  Her roles have ranged from teacher in primary and secondary schools, principal positions in two secondary and two large P-12 schools, Executive Director Gold Coast North Region, and Assistant Director General (Curriculum). She also served as the Queensland nominee on the ACARA Board from 2009 – 2013.

John Garnaut

John commenced his career in education as a Physical Education teacher. He has recently retired from his position with the Department of Education where he was Director Schools in the West Coast District. Previous roles with the Department included Director Teaching and Learning, Superintendent Health and Physical Education and Director Schools in the Mid-West and Swan education districts.

Much of John’s career as a teacher and as a director has been spent supporting schools in low socio-economic areas.

Marian Grant

Marian has had an extensive career in education and worked in regional, rural and remote schools in NSW. She had a range of leadership roles including Principal of a large regional high school for 12 years and Director in southern NSW.  

For the last 4 years Marian has worked in the area of leadership development and coaching and mentoring. She is a Director of I and D Leadership Coaching and Consultancy and a Senior Consultant with Growth Coaching International. She is currently doing personal study in understanding complexity in education and the development of adaptive approaches to problem solving.

Michelle Heath

Michelle is an experienced Early Childhood and Primary Educator and a School Leader, having developed expertise over 30 years in a variety of roles incorporating teaching, leadership, curriculum development and staff training.

Her work with Teachers, Schools and University students across Australia and internationally provides professional learning opportunities and differentiated, targeted coaching.  This includes evidence-based goal setting and support for improvement of practice, integrating and aligning curricular initiatives within existing practices, and incorporating intentional teaching and learning outcomes within a play based or enquiry pedagogy using current research.  


Eirlys Ingram

Eirlys has worked in a range of school leadership positions and in later years at the systemic, strategic level as a member of the senior executive and corporate executive of the Department of Education. She has considerable expertise, experience and understanding of schools, policy and system issues. She has also strong networks and links with government, non-government and community agencies including universities, training organisations and professional associations.

Nick Johns

Nick is the Director of Johns Education Consulting. He is also currently the Program Manager at ISS Institute and President of the Victorian Applied Learning Association (VALA).  He has worked for over twenty years across the primary, secondary and post-secondary education sectors, both in Australia and the UK. He has held a wide range of roles including teaching, education case management, flexible learning program leadership, project management, and research.

Boyd Jorgensen

Boyd Jorgensen began teaching in 1978 and has twenty-five years’ experience as a secondary school principal including nearly two years’ experience as a full-time teaching and learning auditor and  school reviewer for the Queensland Department of Education. 

Boyd is an experienced executive coach and skilled professional development presenter with a focus on promoting and enhancing high yield leadership behaviours that enable and establish consistency of practice.

Bob Lines

Bob has been an educator in the South Australian Department of Education for many years. His experience spans responsibilities for remote, rural and urban schools. His roles include the positions of principal Ernabella, Port Augusta Central, Augusta Park, Wandana, Ridgehaven and the Wiltja Program at Woodville High School. Most recently, he was the director of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara-Yangkunytjatjara Lands and Maralinga-Tjarutja schools.

Emma McCarthy

Emma McCarthy, is a highly-experienced teacher and social worker, with a Masters in Special Education and over 25 years’ experience in the sector. Most of her career has been at the forefront of working with at risk students suffering complex trauma. Emma successfully established the Berry Street School in Noble Park as the Principal, and now brings her expertise to other schools by developing and running programs that support their teams to work with complex and challenging behaviours.

Gerry McCloughan

Gerry has over 38 years of experience in school education. He has been a director and school development officer with the NSW Department of Education, leading school planning, evaluation and reporting processes. He has expertise and leadership in Science curriculum and evaluation at school and state level. Gerry is a significant contributor to school and university research and development to improve outcomes for Aboriginal students and families, and has an active role in supporting school improvement in several special schools and units.

Peter Morgan

In 42 years working in education, Peter has been a school leader for over 25 years, including as principal in 4 very different schools (Wilcannia CS, Monaro HS – Cooma, Belmont HS, Brewarrina CS) over 21 years. He has worked as a curriculum consultant and NSW state coordinator of the innovative National Schools Project. He has led in remote, rural, regional, metropolitan and international schools and taught from kindergarten to university.

Rob Nairn

Rob is the previous Executive Director of the Australian Secondary Principals Association and is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Edith Cowan University.  He has extensive experience in metropolitan and regional Senior High Schools in Western Australia particularly in low socio economic areas, and is passionate about ensuring that high-quality secondary education is provided to every young person no matter what their geographic, social or personal circumstances. 

Robert is a Director of Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL).

Jonathan Pietsch

Jonathan is the Manager of Thoughtful Works. He has management expertise in the Health and Community Services fields for the past 30 years. This has covered CEO and Program Director roles and Partnership development positions that have specifically focused on organisational development, partnership creation, program evaluation and quality improvement. Jonathan’s work has covered many service types focused on children and families through to the aged.

Kevin Pilkington

Kevin has had a career in the Education Department of WA spanning 31 years with positions including classroom teacher, Department Head, Deputy Principal, Principal and Principal Consultant (District Office). A passion for rural life and a keen interest in Indigenous education meant twenty four of those years were spent in regional WA.

Kevin lectured and researched in the area of Educational Leadership (Masters Level) and has published and delivered conference papers in this field.

Ben Sacco

For more than twelve years, Ben has successfully held positions of leadership across Government, Corporate and the Not-For-Profit sector. Having worked as a Senior Officer for the Department of Education and a Deputy Principal of a large Primary School, Ben is passionate about how clarity of purpose can be a catalyst for change to achieve social and educational impact. Predominately working in an advisory capacity and supporting countless leaders through personal and professional development, Ben continues to challenge and guide leaders for authentic growth in their daily work and life.

Geoff Wing

Geoff is an education consultant and fully accredited executive leadership and solution focused coach who is very experienced in providing support to school leaders and administrators across Australia. With more than thirty-eight years of involvement in leadership and management in NSW secondary schools and with regional support personnel, Geoff is a highly experienced and credentialed former educational leader and teacher.

Neil Worsley

Neil has 38 years of school experience including leadership with disadvantaged, Aboriginal, multicultural and middleclass communities, as well as experience in teaching in the UK.  As a College Principal, Neil facilitated a team of five principals working across five campuses leading and managing over 370 teachers and 4000 students towards school excellence.

Ross Zellow

Ross has extensive experience in education in a career that spanned almost 40 years. He is a former Assistant Regional Director with the Queensland Department of Education where he had responsibility for 35 schools in the Maryborough, Hervey Bay and Bundaberg areas of the Wide Bay region.

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