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Transforming Australian Schools Conference

National Excellence in School Leadership Initiative (NESLI)

NESLI is a global provider of responsive and customised professional learning programs that focus on school leadership and wellbeing.  We support leadership excellence across the Australian K-12 education system through working with individual leaders, school leadership teams, school regions, dioceses and state and territory departments.

With 10,000 program graduates, NESLI’s local reputation has grown and so too has our visibility across a number of international schooling systems. We have an ever-increasing presence in Finland, New Zealand, Asia, Canada and the USA. This international collaboration affords us a unique view of school leadership across the globe, leading to better informed and internationally recognised outcomes for Australian school leaders.

The two-day conference will develop your leadership capabilities within the key areas of staff wellbeing, adaptive leadership, culture and providing feedback. The program aims to develop the skills, knowledge, frameworks, and confidence to thrive in the complex leadership challenges faced in today’s school environment. All streams are designed to meet the needs of leaders at all levels within schools. The conference will be a transformative experience, both professionally and personally, in the way you lead change.


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The symposium addresses the following PD accreditation criteria: APST 1.5, 1.6 & 4.1 Australia wide


Tickets can be purchased for an individual stream (half day), one or two days.

Each stream includes morning or afternoon tea.  Full day session also includes lunch.

Prices inc GST.

EARLY BIRD (ends 31 March 2019)

One Stream – $180
Full Day (2 Streams) – $350
Two Days (All Streams) – $650


One Stream – $200
Full Day (2 Streams) – $380
Two Days (All Streams) – $700


Four themes covered in the conference program are:

  1. Understanding the impact of relationships on school wellbeing 

  2. Exploring Adaptive Leadership for Women in Schools: Beyond Technical responses

  3. Growing a School Culture that Matters

  4. Communication, Rapport and Feedback

Friday 30th August

Session 1:

Speaker: Dr Anna Dabrowski,


9.00am - 11.45am

Understanding the impact of relationships on school wellbeing

Session overview:
Social capital can be defined as the interactions, relationships, and connections among individuals, which result in reciprocity, trust, and cooperation. However, research indicates that as school demographics diversify and face increasing systemic pressure, there is hesitation to include others within the established spaces. As a result, schools often see a decline in the relationships between staff members, which can impact on individual and organisational wellbeing. 

In this session, participants will be introduced to the concept of ‘social capital’, and explore the impact social capital has upon our wellbeing. Through a series of reflective tasks, participants will begin to explore ways to engage in more meaningful relationships as a way to combat some of the challenges facing school leaders, educators, and students.

session 2:

Speaker: Dr Janet Smith


1.00pm - 3.45pm

Exploring Adaptive Leadership for Women in Schools: Beyond Technical responses

Session overview:
Adaptive leadership is a practice of mobilising others to tackle difficult challenges that don’t have “quick-fix” solutions. However, time, culture, and change fatigue can impact on our ability to create meaningful and sustainable change in our schools.

This session introduces participants to the notion of ‘Adaptive Leadership’, and considers the ways in which female school leaders across all levels of leadership can develop authentic, yet adaptive, approaches to cultural change. Participants will be introduced to the differences between technical and adaptive challenges, before considering opportunities for their own context.

Saturday 31st August

Session 3:

Speaker: Kirk Fisher


9.00am – 11.45am

Growing a School Culture that Matters

Session Overview
Participants will explore the “hard problems” of school culture: trust, conflict, and making personal differences a positive. More than any other factor, including leadership, performance or policy, a strong team culture is the best predictor of how well people will engage in their work. And when it doesn’t work, you’ll see your best people give up or leave.

This is a fun, highly interactive workshop that will give you tools to take back to your school and apply right away regardless of your current leadership level.


Speaker: Kirk Fisher


1.00PM - 3.45PM

Communication, Rapport and Feedback

Session overview:
Participants will explore how we talk, listen, and give feedback. We’ll explore this with a model of communication that heads off the main barriers to communication from the start. We will also look at how to apply this to performance management. Statistically, the most difficult of many people’s roles is giving feedback to others, particularly when improvement is needed. This workshop will give you practical tools and perspective to turn that around. You’ll be busy applying the models throughout.