Some of my Thoughts.

A Great Privilege and Incredible Honor

The past eight years leading YABBA has been a great personal privilege and incredible honour.   In 2013 I became YABBA President with the passing of Graham Davey who left me a huge legacy to build upon.  The Council back then, and each since, entrusted me with the leadership of this fantastic organisation.  Throughout my tenure as President, I have worked at moving the organisation forward in delivering our mission of amplifying children’s voice across the Australian literature landscape. Leading YABBA through this time has been an incredible workload, but an enormous reward.  I thank each and every YABBA Council member during the past eight years. YABBA would never have achieved the heights we have without a concerted team effort.  Some of the huge things we did together include: Children nominating and voting has increased 10-fold We have grown our author and illustrator participation at the Awards Ceremony from 15-20 back in 2012, where today we have 35-45 children’s creators donating their time each ceremony We have had to implement strict ticket limits at the Awards Ceremony to ensure we cater to the 20+ schools that come along today We conceived, launched and now sustain a Virtual Author Program that brings [...]

NAPLAN and PISA: A leap year of hysteria!

Every year in Australia we have a week of hysteria when NAPLAN results are published. But every third year we get a second chance at hysteria and hyperbole with the publication of PISA.   This second wave of hysteria allows the education “experts” to promote their personal model of how to fix all things broken in Australian schools. These statements of how to fix everything feel like they are on endless repeat over the past 20 years.    It is important to question the system and student performance. But we need considered debate, defined solutions and a by-partisan 20 year funded agreement to systematic change. Not thought bubbles via the media, social networks and opinion pieces.   To avoid another 20 years of repeated hysteria weeks, can we at least agree a few simple ground rules: Teachers at not the problem: They are the key to the solution. Let’s support the profession with training, development and systematically improving the professions standing so that in 20 years teachers are THE most respected professionals in Australian society.  No Education Minister is allowed to be quoted during hysteria week: Any successful politician will use the media’s thirst for blood to provide insight. These learned and intelligent people are then reduced to a 20 […]

2016 YABBA Winners – A Personal Reward

For five years now I've had the great honour of leading the Young Australians Best Book Awards Council (YABBA).  The YABBA Awards is a children's choice book award.  The awards were founded by a team of volunteers in 1985 that believed children need to have great Australian books to engage them.  Today our mission is the same, we want to have Australian children Recommend, Read, Rate and Reward Australian books. Leading a not-for-profit volunteer run organisation has been truly transformational for my leadership.  Nothing will test your leadership skills more than engaging volunteers and ensuring they have valuable work to actually do and actually deliver on.  Anyone that has lead a volunteer organisation will understand how that simple challenge isn't that simple.   I personally love the enthusiasm and the drive the team bring to their work. I never joined the YABBA Council with the view of leading it.  I simply wanted to add my skills to the organisation in the area where I could help the most - Sales and Marketing.  I started with a review of the sales and marketing processes.  This lead to a rebranding, the development of a brand promise and ultimately a new website.  That [...]

Decision Points

Whilst cleaning up a hard disk I came across this great photo I took of a plane landing at Lukla Airport.  Lukla is the gateway to trekking the Everest region of the Himalayas and isn’t for those scared of flying – Google it if you don’t believe me. The photo got me thinking about the slim margin between correct and incorrect, good and bad, great outcome and not so great outcome. It’s very clear when landing a plane what a great and not-great outcome is.  But once the pilot has decided to land how many things now decide the outcome.  How many of those things can be adjusted along the way, how many are set in stone, how many can be controlled, how many can’t. On 1 July this year I made a big decision, to change my relationship with Renaissance Learning in the supply and support of their software products in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Just like the pilot in the light plane coming into Lukla I like to think all the decisions were mine and that the outcome is going to be great.  But I know the decision is made of many hundreds of little decisions, some of […]

Wow! What an 8 Year Journey

May 2014 marks EdAlliance’s 8th birthday! It amazes me that 8 years ago I established EdAlliance to support the Australian and New Zealand Accelerated Reader community.  I am truly grateful for the faith that each and every customer has shown in me and the team. The last 8 years has seen some amazing milestones – [su_list icon=”icon: check-square-o” icon_color=”#025506″] We’ve established an exceptional support desk We’ve conducted in excess of 1,000 free training sessions across the country 325 Teams from 65 Schools across Australia have competed in the AR Reading Challenge We’ve sent out 8,700 free posters to 2,900 Schools during the National Year of Reading We’ve sent 5,600 free posters to thousands of schools in support of the children’s choice book awards across Australia – YABBA, KOALA, KROC and COOL We’ve released 20,977 quizzes over that time The Screening and Progress Monitoring component of STAR Reading was released The AR App and SR App were released [/su_list] And that’s just the beginning. We have some very exciting plans taking shape in the background.  A new version of STAR Reading is being built right now.  A few Australian schools are trialling this product with exceptional feedback on the range of literacy […]