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APPA Life Membership Awards

On Tuesday 8th November, five dedicated APPA members were awarded life membership for their enduring contribution to the association and to primary education. The awards were presented by the Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, and the Shadow Minister for Education, Tanya Plibersek MP. The event was attended by the APPA NAC and a number of parliamentarians. It was a fantastic night, and a fitting way to celebrate our life members.

NORM HART held the position of APPA President (2011 – 2014) and is the association’s Immediate Past President. Considered a wise and thoughtful contributor, Norm provided strategic and forward thinking leadership across a wide range of areas. His term as president saw both a change in government and a shifting in the national education agenda. Through this, Norm was instrumental in guiding the association’s submissions to government and other inquiries and reviews, including those related to school funding, the Australian Curriculum, teacher standards, principal standard and teacher education. Always cognizant of the practical implications of impending change at a school level, he brought an understanding of the many school and community contexts found across Australia. Norm’s representation was always held in the highest regard and, whether it be in speaking with the Minister for Education and departmental bureaucrats or in addressing and mingling with his principal colleagues at an APPA Conference, he earned the respect he richly deserved. Since completing his time as APPA President, Norm continues to contribute to the association through project and other work.

SALLY RUSTON holds a deep understanding of primary education and, with a passion for seeing that every school has quality leadership, dedicated herself to building the capacity of principals. As President of the Independent Primary School Heads of Australia (IPSHA) and in various roles with APPA, Sally readily represented the association and her colleagues in various meetings and forums. Her contribution always gave clear and eloquent voice to the position of, and challenges faced by, primary schools, their communities and their principals and staff. Sally’s knowledge of curriculum meant she was often called upon to lead discussion during the development and review of Australian Curriculum. As a highly respected school leader, Sally continues to offer her expertise willingly and in the knowledge that every child deserves a quality education.

GABRIELLE LEIGH, as President of the Australian Government Primary Principals Association (AGPPA) and a strong and composed voice for primary schools, prioritised working across sectors and collaborating with colleagues to ensure the best outcomes for all students, no matter school or family circumstance. Gabrielle contributed extensively, including in the development of the Australian Curriculum, principal standard, principals’ health and wellbeing research, students with disabilities and school funding. Gabrielle played a significant role in the success of the 2012 and 2016 APPA / New Zealand Principals’ Federation Trans‐Tasman Conferences. Her leadership of the 2012 Trans‐Tasman meant that Australia drew, and brought together, the highest calibre of educational speaker to grace our shores. Passionate in developing the skills and knowledge of primary school principals, Gabrielle readily supported measures that targeted and enhanced school leadership. Importantly, Gabrielle valued people and recognised the need to ensure that all principals are positioned to undertake leadership responsibilities while managing their personal wellbeing.

STEPHEN BREEN is a respected and highly regarded voice for primary education at a national level. Bringing a breadth of experience and knowledge to discussions, Steve always saw it critical that principals are positioned to focus on their core business of leading schools. In his years with APPA, Steve recognised that the diversity found across schools and systems meant that resources must first and foremost be on hand to ensure the needs of students are met. Steve readily involved himself in APPA’s contributions to the Australian Curriculum, teacher standards, principal standard, national testing and My School, and school funding. His work in helping develop strong APPA positions was backed with sound argument and in light of the evidence, context and background of the issue.

DAVE EDWARDS served APPA, at various points, as Vice-President, Board member and National Council member since 2008. During his time with APPA and as President of the Australian Catholic Primary Principals Association (ACPPA), he maintained a strong and respected partnership with his colleagues across the sectors. A strong advocate for primary schools, Dave readily engaged with federal parliamentarians, departmental officers and education bodies about issues impacting on principals and their school communities. Dave represented APPA widely and built connections both nationally and internationally with the aim of giving colleagues a better understanding of other systems and cultures. As well as participating in forums, working parties and advisory committees, Dave contributed significantly to the work of APPA in relation to the Australian Curriculum, principal standard, school funding and national testing.

You can find several photos from the night below.

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