Tasmanian principals recognised at the 2017 John Laing Awards

Four school leaders from Tasmania 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.

Brett Youd (East Devonport Primary School), Kelly Dyer (New Norfolk Primary School), Mandy Reynolds-Smith (Montrose Bay High School), and Sally Milbourne (Norwood Primary School) had their consistent demonstration of outstanding school leadership recognised at a special presentation in Hobart today. 

Each of the recipients is an outstanding school leader and has made substantial contributions to education in Tasmania 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 school principal, also from Tasmania, 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 Tasmanian recipients follow.

Brett Youd (East Devonport Primary School)
Brett has been a school leader in a range of contexts and schools over many years including the role of Coordinating Principal and now as principal of East Devonport Primary School.  Brett has been a highly respected member of state and national professional associations. He is currently Vice President (primary) of the Tasmanian Principals Association and sits on the national councils of the Australian Government Primary Principals Association and the Australian Primary Principals Association.

Each of the roles that Brett Youd has held has reflected a practical and philosophical commitment to professional learning.  He is described as being very “hands on” in the application of his own professional learning and very proactive in the identification of professional learning opportunities for members of his staff. 

Brett provides highly valued advice and support on international perspectives on issues in education at TPA, AGPPA and APPA, as well as in meetings with senior leadership of the Department of Education and the Minister.

Mandy Reynolds-Smith (Montrose Bay High School)
Mandy has been an educator in Tasmania for over 30 years and has been a principal for 22 years in both primary and secondary sectors. Engagement with national and international best practice through professional associations, in which she is an acknowledged leader, has, in turn added great value to Mandy’s leadership of her school.

Throughout her career Mandy has sought to support the profession and has seen her own ongoing learning and that of others as critical. Mandy has been on the executive of three professional bodies that have influenced professional learning in the state. In the early 1990s she held a position on the Tasmanian Association of Senior Staff as a primary school leader. She held a position on the State Executive of ACEL for 10 years, served on the Australian Council of Education Leaders and has been a member of the Tasmanian Principals Association for 22 years. Mandy inspires leadership in others and has been recognized by her peers in a number of ways. She was a finalist for Secondary Principal of the Year in 2014 and 2015, and was also nominated for the Pride of Australia Medal in 2015. 

Kelly Dyer (New Norfolk Primary School
For the past 22 years Kelly has worked as an educator internationally and across Tasmania. Her experiences have been vast and diverse, ranging from teaching in a purposefully built school for Autism in London, a Bilingual K – 12 school in Oman, Physical Education, and Kindergarten to Grade 6 teaching in Tasmania.

Kelly has held senior positions since 2008 and became a principal in 2013. In 2016, Kelly undertook a Hardie Fellowship at the DATA WISE Leadership Institute at Harvard University with a specific focus on building an effective inquiry focus as a key strategy for improvement.  Kelly has added value to professional learning by modelling the DATA WISE School Improvement process to all three levels in her sphere: to her staff at New Norfolk Primary where implementation is well advanced, to the local network of principals in the Derwent Valley; and via the Principal’s Forum and the Tasmanian Combined Principals Conference.  

Central to Kelly’s leadership in school improvement is hosting other school leaders at NNPS to observe the practice in action. In this way, bridging the knowing/doing gap for school leadership teams is a priority and assists them enact the practice in their own context.

Sally Milbourne (Norwood Primary School)
Having held a number of educational leadership roles during her career, Sally’s underpinning motivation is her belief in and support for the growth and development of teachers and colleagues to be the best they can be in order to ensure the best possible outcomes for students.

Sally epitomises lifelong learning, constantly reflecting and assessing areas for growth, then reaching out for the learning which might provide that. She has achieved and maintains training accreditation in Cognitive Coaching, Adaptive Schools, Myers Briggs and Strength Deployment Inventory. Sally uses these skills and learning to deliver and support professional development for teachers, emerging leaders and peers at school level, across the DoE and beyond. 

Sally’s dedication to the professional development of teachers and educational leaders is further evidenced by her role on the TPA executive and her contributions to inform the development of the DoE/PLI’s Principal preparation program planning. At the same time Sally never lifts her focus from ensuring staff at her school have the support and development they need.

(L-R): Brett Youd, Member for Franklin Nic Street MP, Jill de Araugo, Mandy Reynolds-Smith, Kelly Dyer, Claire Vemey, Sally Milbourne and Malcolm Elliot.