Premier Leadership Award Winners




John Reading was appointed to the teaching staff at St Joseph’s College, Hunters Hill in 1976, at a time when the College was a full boarding school staffed mostly by Marist Brothers, and very few lay staff worked at the College. This began a long association of over 45 years with Boarding as a supervisor and boarding master, Rowing as coach and administrator, and Rugby as a coach and referee. John also served as an Officer of Cadets in the College’s Cadet Corps until it was disbanded in 1984.

He initially taught Economics, Commerce, Geography and Religious Education, later specialising in Economics as the years progressed. John has loyally and generously served under seven former Headmasters – Br Alman Dwyer, Geoffrey Joy, Marshall McMahon, Br Ernest Houston, Br Paul Hough AM, Ross Tarlinton OAM and Dr Chris Hayes, all of whom would agree that John has made an extraordinary contribution to education and is the kind of staff member who goes ‘above and beyond’ to achieve positive outcomes for students.

John has made an extraordinary contribution in Boarding at St Joseph’s College, from Dormitory Master to Acting Boarding Coordinator for Years 7 and 10, to a remarkable 14-year period as Year 12 Boarding Coordinator (1993- 2006), and as Head of Boarding since 2007. To these areas of responsibility,  John has brought outstanding administrative skills and a truly admirable level of pastoral care for the students.

Parents of boarders from regional and remote areas have often expressed appreciation for and affirmed John’s extraordinary support and care for them and their sons, particularly in difficult times.

John has also been an active supporter of and contributor to the initiatives of the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association (ICPA) and the Australian Boarding Schools Association (ABSA) for many years, including as a presenter at conferences.

John is one of those committed and altruistic staff members who go above and beyond role expectations. He has continued to make an extraordinary contribution to St Joseph’s College and boarding education for his whole professional life.



Mr Stewart Norford has given over 35 years of service to boarding schools in Queensland. The Rockhampton Grammar School has been privileged for him to be an integral part of its boarding team for over 25 of those years.

Initially holding the role of Head of Boys Boarding at RGS, Stewart went on to become the Director of Boarding for more than 10 years. Prior to joining RGS he held boarding roles at All Souls and St Gabriel’s in Charters Towers. Stewart was also a boarder himself, undertaking study and boarding at All Souls throughout his school years.

The leadership, passion, support and absolute commitment Stewart has provided to boarding throughout his career, not only to students but to parents and to staff, is immeasurable. The Rockhampton Grammar School’s Boarding success, and its position as Queensland’s largest boarding school, is due in large part to Stewart’s exemplary leadership skills and professional practices. Stewart is involved in mentoring staff not only in Boarding but also in the Primary and Secondary School and is held in the highest regard by all who work with him. He places ethics and relationships at the heart of everything he does, and continually uses feedback from all parts of the community to improve the boarding experience for students. The development and growth of Grammar Boarding over the last decade is a credit to his passion, planning, dedication, vision, and engagement. Without his efforts, critical infrastructure, staff development, community engagement and student development processes would not have happened.

Stewart has been a tireless advocate for regional boarding and has given lifelong commitment to enhancing the lives of boarding students.



Berian has been an essential part of Brisbane Grammar School since beginning as Director of Boarding in 2016. His work for boarding families and compassion for the boarders themselves has seen Brisbane Grammar School Boarding excel.

In his five years at Brisbane Grammar School, Berian has introduced several innovations including a new sign in and out system to improve safety for boarders; introducing boarding student committees to ensure student voice on a variety of issues from the dining hall menu to activities; implementing wide-ranging academic and wellbeing enrichment programs; introducing a residential induction program that includes camping under the stars; and pushing for improved facilities and playing a key role in the design and development of a new Middle School boarding house. In recent times, Berian has excelled leading BGS Boarding during the COVID pandemic. His judgment greatly benefited Brisbane Grammar School and colleagues from other schools also benefited from his understanding of related issues. His care for boarders across the state has motivated his investigative work.

Berian has achieved level 4 of the Accredited Boarding Practitioner and contributes strongly to the wider boarding community in Queensland as Vice Chair of the State Committee.



Lesa Fowler has made boarding her life's vocation. She has worked in numerous boarding schools within Queensland and Victoria, and has a complete understanding of the needs of all boarders, domestic (rural, city, Indigenous) and international. She has worked as the Head of Boarding at St Margaret's Anglican Girls School for almost 13 years and during that time has forged life-long relationships with the students in her care and their families. She is a consummate professional in her dealings with key stakeholders and, as a member of the school's leadership team, she is an advocate of the needs of boarders and their families.

She has highly developed leadership skills. She has earned a wonderful reputation with the St Margaret's boarding community, by being balanced, thoughtful and just. She is an ethical leader who understands that leadership is not a 9 - 5 job, but is one where visibility and approachability are attributes for success in a boarding context. Lesa leads by example, doing all types of work, from boarding house shifts through to strategic planning. She is a hands-on leader who walks alongside her staff.

Lesa has created a boarding house, which at the commencement of 2020 was turning students away, as it was running at capacity of 185 Years 6 - 12 students, and which functions smoothly and without incident. Lesa has been instrumental in growing boarding enrolments to capacity. It is a boarding house which has at least 13 different nationalities present and, under her leadership, it is a co-operative and harmonious house. She embodies a work ethic and commitment to the boarding house which is second to none.

Recognising the diversity of the boarding house and the need to nurture cultural understanding and tolerance, Lesa was instrumental in the creation of an annual 'See my difference, See my Worth' weekend long diversity festival, held on a Closed Weekend (all boarders in the house).

While Lesa manages the overall boarding house and its staff, she is also actively engaged in directly overseeing the academic and emotional welfare of the boarders. Continuous Reporting allows her to read every student's results as they are posted, facilitating constant academic monitoring. Lesa oversees our partnership with Yalari and our 18 Indigenous students in boarding. She has demonstrated absolute commitment to ensuring strong academic or vocational outcomes for our Indigenous students. She travels regularly to the various regional shows and towns and properties from which our boarders hale. Her outreach has been key to maintaining strong numbers in the boarding house.

In 2019, for the third consecutive year, Lesa was instrumental in St Margaret's supporting a high school campdraft - an initiative of one of our boarders. The first campdraft held in Warwick attracted 52 students from eight schools across Queensland and New South Wales. By 2018, the word had passed around and over 300 riders from 26 schools flocked to Pittsworth Campdraft Grounds in November for the second annual high school campdraft, with similar numbers in 2019, again held at Pittsworth. St Margaret's sponsored the event to support its boarding community. The boarders from properties wanted the chance to compete in 'their' sport and St Margaret's was thrilled to get behind this initiative on behalf of boarders everywhere. This event has now been taken up by the Queensland Campdraft Association - quite an achievement from one girls' idea - supported by her school and in particular the Head of Boarding Lesa Fowler who has travelled to each campdraft to support the boarders and represent the school.

Lesa has contributed to the national boarding community through membership on the ABSA Board and through helping plan conferences and seminars for boarding staff. She has written for 'Lights Out' and offered sessions at state seminars to boarding professionals. Lesa has overseen several projects and has major achievements, including: becoming an expert in the area of risk in the area of boarding, so much so that she has been asked to be a guest speaker at ABSA events and has written and published papers on this topic and writing articles and introducing programs designed to ensure a better transition into boarding and leadership development in boarding.

As a result of Lesa's longstanding leadership of the St Margaret's boarding house, the school was awarded Boarding School of the Year in the 2019 Australian Educator Awards and is a finalist in the 2020 Awards in the same category.



Chris is an innovator. He oversaw the implementation of electronic door locking systems and the Reach sign in/ out system. He has meticulously researched the best study habits for adolescents and pioneered the Academic Boot Camp Program, providing workshops and training sessions for students. He has changed the supervision of Prep sessions adding specialist subject teacher tutoring and separating older and younger students to create a graduated model of learner autonomy. He heard concerns about dining room food and implemented a ‘food committee’ which sits with the School chef and provides feedback, as well as having the autonomy to plan the menu for one week each term. Food concerns have disappeared. Chris has overseen the implementation of targeted and innovative wellbeing strategies, such as one of the boy’s houses developing a research based physical and mental wellbeing routine. This approach created such interest that it was featured as a presentation at a men’s health forum in 2017.

Chris is an advocate. He has sought better facilities for his boarders based on best evidence research, with the result being full refurbishments for two of the five boarding houses. Chris has presented cases for better supervision of boarders and more activities on weekend, all of which have been adopted based on his attention to detail and persuasive advocacy. Constantly on the lookout for outstanding staff, Chris convinces the best of the best to take on roles in the boarding community, bringing a rich diversity of characters and role models into our boarding students’ lives.

Chris is a collaborator; On behalf of his boarding community with the rest of the School. He has also sought collaboration with other boarding communities, such as St. Patrick’s College in Ballarat, to do a warm clothing ‘drive’ for the homeless in winter. He is frequently contacted by colleagues for advice and he often and generously hosts groups who are looking to our boarding model for ideas and inspiration. Chris was a Board member and is now Vice Chair of the Victorian branch of the Australian Boarding Schools Association and acts as an advocate for boarding communities nationally.

Chris has the abiding support of his boarding staff simply because they are inspired by his vision for student care, nurturing and development. His support for his staff if unceasing, his communication clear and frequent and the boarding staff respond by providing uniquely high levels of care for every student. Chris is known amongst our boarding community as an extraordinary leader. He is renowned for his compassion, high expectations and his constant pursuit of innovation and improvement. As a result, Chris enjoys the absolute trust of our boarding community.



In his almost thirty years of service to Geelong Grammar School, Charlie has made an enormous contribution to the positive boarding culture and strong reputation of the School.  Now Vice-Principal, he has previously been Head of Perry House (1990-1998) and Head of the Timbertop campus (1998-2003), before moving back to Corio as Head of Campus from 2004.  He was appointed Vice Principal in 2014.  

Included in his portfolio most significantly are both Positive Education and Indigenous scholars.  

Positive Education

Charlie was one of the driving forces behind the implementation of Positive Education at the School, from his first meeting with Prof. Marty Seligman, father of positive psychology back in 2005.  Charlie’s commitment to the wellbeing of students and to improving the culture of boarding led the School on the journey that saw the building of the Handbury Centre for Wellbeing in 2009; the establishment of whole staff training in Positive Education (Pos Ed) that continues to this day; the founding of the Institute of Positive Education that operates professional training for educators all around the world, as well as developing Pos Ed curriculum from Prep-Year 10 and re-writing all the pastoral documents of the School to reflect the School’s values of kindness, forgiveness, hope, trust and integrity.  In his words, it is due to Pos Ed that the School is a much kinder, “softer” place than it was when he first joined.

Indigenous Scholars

Alongside the Pos Ed journey, Charlie has also been instrumental in establishing and maintaining the School’s partnership with Yalari, an organisation that funds scholarships for indigenous students.  GGS accepted its first Yalari scholars in 2009; today, there are almost thirty indigenous students in boarding at GGS on both Yalari and other scholarships.  Charlie works tirelessly with those students’ communities, sponsors and the School as a passionate advocate for each individual’s educational aspirations and as a voice for reconciliation.  He ensures that every significant assembly opens with a Welcome to or Acknowledgement of Country; he was the driving force behind the School’s Reconciliation Plan and he works closely with students every year to bring together Reconciliation Week activities, both cultural and sporting.



Bernie Dean is an outstanding leader in Boarding and Residential Care in Australia.

He has considerable experience in Boarding at all levels and has made contributions to boarding at a national level.

He has been involved in Boarding at:

• 1986 Head of Residence, St Teresa’s College, Abergowrie

• 1990 - 1995 Residential and Curriculum Management, Nudgee College

• 1996 - 2004 Head of Boarding, Rostrevor College

• 2005 Head of Residential Care, Downlands College

• 2008 - Current Director of Boarding, Immanuel College

His commitment to his own professional development and to the training of his staff is exceptional. All boarding staff at Immanuel are qualified for a Certificate in Residential Care.

Bernie regularly supports and mentors staff and leaders in other boarding situations across Australia. He has assisted in reviewing and supporting boarding facilities beyond Immanuel.

He has also contributed significantly to residential care and boarding at an academic level. His Master’s thesis is on “The Effects of Employment in Boarding Schools on the Families of Married Residential Schools Workers.” Master of Education (Research), Australian Catholic University 1995.

Bernie has also written a training Course for Residential Staff in Boarding Schools in Queensland, writing nine training units specialising in the secondary boarding context. The Course implemented nationally in 1991.

He has also written several papers on residential staff training.

Bernie’s support for his colleagues in boarding nationally is exceptional. He regularly assists and mentors other boarding colleagues and has assisted in lifting boarding standards internationally.

Bernie is highly regarded by his staff, professional colleagues and parents at Immanuel College. Bernie has created a unique co-ed boarding environment which has evolved into family based boarding. He has created a strong well trained professional team who have become residential care professionals. He is loved, trusted and respected by parents and is at his best in a crisis. In these experiences he brings wisdom, compassion and experience in all he does. Students respect him for his passion and personal commitment to developing their lives. They know his commitment in caring for them goes well beyond his paid role.



Tina has been Head of Boarding at St Mary’s Anglican Girls School in Perth for 9 years. The great name that she has developed for St Mary’s boarding has meant that while other similar schools have decreased their numbers over the past decade, St Mary’s numbers have increased, and they now have 187 boarders, up from the mid 160s just a few years ago. St Mary’s is one of the premier boarding houses in Western Australia, ensuring that their boarders have first class learning, pastoral care, extra-curricular and accommodation experiences. It is Tina Campbell who initiates and drives these opportunities.

In 2016, Tina presented at the inaugural Global Forum on Girls’ Education in New York City at one of the Inspire roundtable sessions, with her topic focusing on the little things that are important in boarding that enhance pastoral care for students.

Tina is strongly committed to positive education, starting with her attendance at the course held at Geelong Grammar School and she has driven it enthusiastically in the boarding house. Due to her initiative to provide significant and extensive academic support for boarders during prep time, St Mary’s has seen boarders ATARs improve each year. She has set up intensive and targeted help for all boarders.

Tina has been Chairman of the Western Australian division of ABSA and while she was leading this organisation she set up an excellent professional development programme for staff involved in boarding as well as social occasions for students. When she finished in this position, she left the association in very good shape for the future. She was also Secretary to the National Board of ABSA during this time.

Tina is a leader and a role model for all staff in education and a worthy winner of this Premier Leadership Award.



During Kim’s time as Head of Boarding she has transformed the boarding program at Worawa Aboriginal College. Prior to her arrival the boarding program was struggling with numbers, staff morale and the challenge to make it a safe place for their boarders.

Worawa Aboriginal College, a boarding only school, accepts Indigenous girls from years 7 to 10, and within this many students arrive with complex emotional and psychological needs arising from disadvantaged and dysfunctional family and community backgrounds. Kim’s role is to recruit and support these girls, and help them prepare to be ready to enter mainstream boarding schools for their senior years.

The Worawa Pathways to Womanhood is a program delivered through the residential program led by Head of Boarding, Kim Walters. Through a series of modules students are led through a pathway of developmental activities. Beginning with self-awareness, it assists students to build resilience and takes the student through personal care, increasing cultural awareness, social skills and public speaking and leadership skills. Kim is pivotal in ensuring the continuation of learning outside of the classroom. As a result the College has been privileged to see some amazing transformations and student personal growth. She has been a key part in the provision of sporting, cultural and artistic activities for the girls, ensuring their time outside of the classroom is active and engaging.



Dave’s remarkable physical feat to support Indigenous Boarders in the Yalari organisation is unsurpassed. He has devoted one year of his life to prepare for his 7 marathons in 7 days in 7 cities around Australia - all for a boarding cause.

This selfless act should be recognised by all working in boarding. Furthermore he has transformed single sex boarding at Scotch College, Adelaide into a real co-educational experience with boys and girls living harmoniously under the age roof. He had to lead from the front to do this and his systems and processes are a model to all. He has revolutionised combination within the boarding community and it is a good model for others.