QLD principals honoured at 2017 John Laing Awards

Five school leaders from Queensland have been officially recognised for their dedication to education and professional learning in the annual John Laing Awards for Professional Development, managed by Principals Australia Institute.

Trudy Moala (Grace Lutheran Primary School), Brett Webster (Ormiston College), Eamon Hannan (Emmaus College), Richard Graham (Tully State High School), and Dr David Turner (Queensland Association of State School Principals) had their consistent demonstration of outstanding school leadership recognised at a special presentation in Brisbane. 
(L-R): Richard Graham, Sophie Laing, Claire Vemey, David Turner, Trudy Moala, Eamon Hannan, and Brett Webster.
Each of the recipients is an outstanding school leader and has made substantial contributions to education in Queensland through strategic senior leadership roles over a considerable time.  They have been responsible for working with other senior educators to build leaders’ capacity.

The John Laing Awards acknowledge principals in every state and territory who demonstrate outstanding leadership in providing professional learning in government, Catholic and independent schools. They celebrate the contribution principals make to support the professional learning and development of teachers and other school leaders.

Set up in 2004, the Awards honour John Laing, a former Tasmanian school principal who worked for PAI (the then Australian Principals Association Professional Development Council). He was the motivating force behind the innovative initiative in the early 1990s to bring principals together for national professional learning projects and programs to support their role as school leaders.

Brief bios of the Queensland recipients follow.
Trudy Moala (Grace Lutheran Primary School) 
Trudy’s school leadership career spans an impressive 23 years across several schools in Queensland and Japan.  She is recognised for her knack of finding and developing talents within her staff and encouraging them to display their leadership skills and she has a collaborative leadership style. 
In 2015, Trudy’s school was recognised by a Queensland University of Technology research team as having the highest level of positive wellbeing among staff as well as the highest levels of collaboration of all of the schools that participated on the study.  Trudy’s school also won the TT Reuter Award (in Lutheran Schools) which recognised her work in Inclusive Education in her school.  

Under Trudy’s leadership, many teachers have taken up leadership positions.  In annual planning, she works with her staff to help them identify paths of leadership. She has helped many teachers move into senior teacher roles, deputy principal positions and principal positions and continues to mentor her less experienced colleagues as they grow in their careers.
Brett Webster (Ormiston College)
Brett Webster was first appointed as a school principal in the year 2000 and has been Headmaster at Ormiston College since 2006. During his time at Ormiston, the college has emerged as one Queensland’s highest performing academic schools. Simultaneously, Brett has led the team at Ormiston College to develop a strong reputation as a school at the forefront of innovative tech-enabled learning and preparing students for life in the 21st century.

A strong vision coupled with extensive and ongoing professional learning has been the catalyst for building the capacity of the staff at Ormiston College to embrace new methodologies, enhance learning activities and improve the outcomes achieved by students.

Brett invests time in his own professional development and continually seeks learning opportunities from leading schools and educators around the globe. He is also called upon to speak at conferences, both within Australia and overseas and regularly hosts visits to the Ormiston College campus from educators around the world.

Brett is described by his staff as an inspirational and highly effective leader who is clear in his direction and vision for Ormiston College. He is a lifelong learner who actively pursues his own professional development opportunities and fully supports staff in their professional learning pathways.

Brett has developed a teaching and learning culture within Ormiston College that promotes innovative and 21st century thinking and practice. His professional learning and investigation of 21st century initiatives have led to a major shift in teaching and learning at the college, and has seen it win awards for Innovation and recognition by Educator magazine as one of Australia’s Most Innovative Schools.   
Eamon Hannon (Emmaus College)
Eamon Hannan has a solid track record in education and has worked in leadership roles in three Catholic secondary colleges in Brisbane, Mackay and Rockhampton. He was Assistant Principal Curriculum and Deputy Principal at Clairvaux Mackillop College (1997 – 2004), Principal of St Patrick’s College – Mackay (2005 – 2015) and is currently Principal of Emmaus College in Rockhampton (2016 – present).

He has been involved in a number of professional learning opportunities including Qeli (Good To Great), Enhancing Catholic Schools Identity Project Intensive, Celtic Spirituality Pilgrimage and Qeli Resource Management Program. 

Eamon has chaired the Conference Committee for the 2015 CaSPAQ State Conference and is a member of the 2018 CaSPA conference committee. He has been on the executive of CaSPAQ as Rockhampton Diocese Representative and is currently Treasurer. He has provided a number of in-services for teachers, staff and principals on Celtic Spirituality, The Enhancing Catholic School Identity Project and on the Art and Science of Teaching with teachers. 

He is an innovative thinker and is always looking for opportunities to lead in the profession as an educator taking on the broader responsibilities for the profession, with deep commitment enhancing opportunities for students in his own school and across the state.

Eamon is described by his peers as very personable and collegial, and has supported a number of his leadership team and staff members to become principals. Eamon is also an advocate for education in regional Queensland.  He holds degrees in Master of Educational Leadership, Master of Education (Mathematics), Bachelor of Science and a postgraduate Diploma of Education and a Certificate IV in Systematic Theology.
Richard Graham (Tully State High School) 
Richard has demonstrated outstanding school leadership in the Far North Queensland (FNQ) region for an extended period of time, where he has progressed from Deputy Principal to Principal of Tully State High School. He has also served with distinction on the QSPA’s State Council and Executive for many years.   
He takes a lead role in designing and running the FNQ QSPA Conference each year, which is attended by up to 80 school leaders and has coached and mentored many colleagues during this time. During Richard’s time as Deputy Principal, he led a complex school through challenging times from pedagogical renewal to managing significant cyclone damage.  

Richard is a firm believer in the support of local and regional networks to ensure that his school is operating at its best.   

One of Richard’s key strengths is his professionalism and ability to build management capacity.  The clear path that Richard has formed has allowed others to participate and achieve great things in their own careers. In his unassuming manner, Richard has grown a crop of school leaders in FNQ.    His work has also had a positive impact on the challenges facing the region such as rural and regional diversity and comparatively high turnover of school teachers. 
Dr David R Turner (Queensland Association of State School Principals)
David has enjoyed a diverse career in school leadership working in small rural schools, P-10 schools and more recently in large complex urban schools.  He was first appointed principal in 1988 and also spent over three years working in the tertiary sector as Head of Campus and Head of School (2006 - 2008). In October 2015 he was appointed to a newly created role with the Queensland Association of State School Principals – the Director of Professional Learning.

He has a passion and devotion to enhance professional learning for others. So much so, that he has placed his own school-based principalship on hold to devote an enormous amount of time and energy into the newly created QASSP Director or Professional Learning.

In just over twelve months David has arranged and even developed a suite of professional learning for school leaders that is accessible across all of Queensland. He has also linked school leaders with professional colleagues and consultants to further their own professional learning goals. David has developed in consultation and collaboration with Central Queensland University the Graduate Certificate in Educational Leadership. This is an Australian first where, thanks to David’s work, QASSP is proudly partnering with CQ University Australia to deliver a new postgraduate qualification designed to provide school leaders who aspire to higher positions, with the skills and knowledge necessary for career advancement.

David developed and planned the inaugural international study tour to British Columbia, “Inquiring into BC” and has also programmed the first annual Networks of Inquiry and Innovation Symposium in September. His work continues to grow influencing the work of hundreds of current and potential future leaders in Queensland. His relentless focus on providing quality professional development for administrators is reflected in the attendance at opportunities as well as engagement in the international tours and the upcoming symposium.