Opening pathways for Aboriginal leaders

A program to increase the number of Aboriginal teachers that move into leadership positions within the education system is building on its success.

We have more than 700 permanent Aboriginal teachers in our schools, and more than 100 Aboriginal teachers in school executive positions ... and we want to see these numbers continue to grow.

In 2009, the government established the Aboriginal Leadership in Education Fund aimed at providing leadership support for Aboriginal teachers and executive in NSW government schools.

In response, the Aboriginal Teacher Leadership Program was developed by the Human Resources Directorate, in consultation with the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and the Aboriginal Education and Training Directorate.

The department's ongoing commitment to support career planning and improve leadership and executive capabilities to enhance career progression of Aboriginal staff was also a strong focus of the recently released Aboriginal Human Resources Development Plan 2012-2017.

The program started in 2010 and was delivered to 16 Aboriginal teachers across two metropolitan and two non-metropolitan regions with the highest number of Aboriginal teacher appointments. The program was expanded in 2011 to include 24 Aboriginal teachers across six regions.

Four graduates tell us about their journey since October 2011, what they've learned along the way, and the opportunities that have opened up for them.

Jamie Sampson

Audio (MP3) Jamie Sampson (developmental coach, Dubbo College South Campus, Western NSW Region.
Jamie was a previous program participant. Since his involvement in 2010 he has been promoted to deputy principal at Condobolin High School.

Leisa Hicks

Audio (MP3) Leisa Hicks, classroom teacher, Keira High School, Illawarra and South-East region.
Leisa is passionate about PDHPE and Aboriginal education.

You can also read the transcripts (pdf 18 KB).

Workforce Capability relieving leader Charlene Davison said the directorate would be working with all regions to deliver the program this year.

Up to 30 Aboriginal teachers would be selected to participate in the program. The program would start with an orientation workshop in Sydney on 21 and 22 November.

Director-general Dr Michele Bruniges said increasing the number of Aboriginal educators is a key factor in Aboriginal student and community engagement and improved educational outcomes.

"We have more than 700 permanent Aboriginal teachers in our schools, and more than 100 Aboriginal teachers in school executive positions - as principal, deputy, assistant principal, head teacher, and a highly accomplished teacher - and we want to see these numbers continue to grow," Dr Bruniges said.

Aboriginal Teacher Support Officer Stacy Parry said the program aimed to help aspiring Aboriginal teachers and school executives progress their careers within the department.

The program had already seen graduates promoted to deputy principal and assistant principal roles as well as take on acting principal and assistant principal roles.

Selection of participants was coordinated at the regional level and was based on criteria including participants demonstrating outstanding teaching and leadership capabilities in their current position, and aspiring to, or currently in, a school executive position.

Participants in the program were teamed with a development coach to work with them throughout the program, which ran over three school terms.

Development coaches were experienced principals, school executive or school education directors who demonstrated a personal and professional commitment to improving the representation of Aboriginal people in senior positions.

The program was centred on a 360-degree questionnaire completed by participants and colleagues from within their school.

The development coaches worked with the teachers to complete and analyse the questionnaire, assist with self-reflection and developing professional learning and career plans.

Other program components included an orientation workshop, to be held in Sydney in Term 4; involvement in an action learning project (to address teacher practice and student learning outcomes); job shadowing, mentoring and an end of program summation and celebration (Term 4, 2013).

The second cohort of Aboriginal teachers successfully completed the 2011 program on 25 July with a ceremony held at the department's Bridge Street office, where they showcased their Action Learning Project and were formally recognised for their participation in the program.



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