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World standard leaders committed to the development of schools

Programs delivered under NESLI are developed and facilitated by a preeminent international Faculty of leadership educators. This passionate and engaged group of educators bring the programs to life and create the dynamic, interactive learning experience which defines all NESLI programs. Faculty members are supported by the various stakeholders involved in NESLI ensuring constant access to the collective knowledge and experience of an ever increasing pool of educational experts.

Rachel has over twenty-five years of experience in public education as a secondary-level teacher, guidance counselor, Director of Guidance, Assistant Principal, Director of Curriculum & Instruction, and Superintendent in the state of Wisconsin.  In addition she served as Chairperson and Assistant Professor at Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the College of Education & Leadership.  Her doctorate is in Urban Education with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction.  Rachel also spent five years as the Chief Operating Officer for CPS Human Resource Services, a nationwide HR consulting firm for the public and non-profit sectors based in California. 

Currently Rachel is the principal for OnPurpose Consulting, focusing on the development of purpose-driven leadership and organizations. In this role she works with school districts, non-profit organizations and businesses in strategic planning, change management, leadership training & development and coaching.  She is a certified facilitator for the Center for Courage and Renewal and in that capacity facilitates Courage to Teach and Courage to Lead programs and retreats at the national and local levels.  Rachel is also part-time associate professor at the Milwaukee School of Engineering in the MBA in Educational Leadership program. 

Rachel’s interests are in the area of transformational leadership, with a particular focus on the “inner life” of both leaders and organizations.  Rachel lives in Shorewood, WI with her husband Brian and two rescue dogs, Zoe and Puck.  She enjoys independent films and theater, yoga, walking, biking, reading, and most of all exploring new landscapes.

Dr Rachel Boechler

Dr. Rachel Boechler

Sonia comes from a strong background in early childhood intervention and education.  She has taught in special schools across the spectrum of Prep to year 12 and in Early Childhood Development Programs.

With a Bachelor of Arts in Education, Bachelor of Education, Graduate Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorder/Intellectual Disability and a Masters in Early Intervention, lifelong learning is her mantra.  Sonia is a qualified mentor and coach working with both pre-service teachers, beginning teachers and aspiring leaders across the public and private education sectors.  With a passion for leadership in special education and women in leadership, Sonia brings both enthusiasm and experience to her role.  Empowering leaders to excel and inspire their teams to grow is a driving force behind Sonia’s motivation.  

Guiding people along their learning journey is a fulfilling and rewarding role Sonia relishes and in turn grows from herself.  She is an advocate for a strong learning culture within organisations, especially in the field of Education.  

Sonia Moyle

Sonia Moyle

Jason has more than 20 years of experience leading the design, delivery and management of innovative and transformative curriculum in K-12, vocational, higher education, government and corporate settings in Australia, Europe and Asia. 

Jason is the author of the Longman Boost! Integrated Skills Series from Pearson Education, a major coursebook series for primary/elementary and middle school English language learners that has sold several million copies in more than 30 countries worldwide. 

He has won several awards for teaching, learning and E-Learning initiatives and has led more than 200 professional development workshops and made plenary and keynote appearances in Asia and Europe. He is a Past President of a major provincial TESOL chapter in South Korea and has served at executive level in national and international TESOL organisations, with particular specialisation in the areas of leadership, policy, strategy, innovation and the teaching of English to young and teenage learners.

Jason has also held senior positions with Open Universities Australia and the University of Melbourne, where he headed up the new Graduate Online initiative and worked closely in particular with Chancellery, the Centre for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE), Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE) and the Centre for Program Evaluation (CPE).

Jason Renshaw

Jason Renshaw

Executive Director, Education

Paul Larkin is a highly skilled facilitator and program developer specialising in leadership development for individuals and teams. His areas of expertise include personal leadership, coaching, team dynamics, and performance and change management.

Following a successful career in leadership within the IT sector spanning over fourteen years; Paul became a Senior Global Consultant within Royal Dutch Shell, facilitating advanced leadership development and organisational change programmes around the world. Prior to joining the Australian School of Applied Management, Paul ran his own learning and development consultancy specialising in leadership and management. Paul is frequently engaged to provide personal one-to-one coaching to a broad variety of clients at all levels of management.

Paul has extensive experience within a variety of industries including Manufacturing, Exploration and Production, Mining, Marketing, Distribution, HR, Finance, IT and other specialised services. As a leadership consultant he has helped thousands of individuals across many countries, at all organisational levels, to become skilled leaders who create and sustain positive change in their organisations.

Paul’s myriad experiences and observations of other leaders have led to a strong belief that self-awareness and personal leadership are the foundations for success as an individual employee and as a leader. This belief has led him to devote his time and energies to helping others learn and grow.

Paul studied Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Swinburne University and Computer Science at RMIT. He is a skilled facilitator and coach in several psychometric instruments such as MBTI, TMS, MSCEIT and Bar-On EQi, is an accredited designer and facilitator of Accelerated Learning and has formal training in Coaching and NLP.

Paul Larkin

Paul Larkin

With a background in the Education, Not for Profit and Corporate sectors and over twenty years of leadership experience, Suzi Finkelstein brings a wealth of knowledge to her role.
Over her career, she has built a strong reputation for delivering exceptional outcomes with a particular focus on transforming the performance of leaders and their teams. As a leadership Consultant and Executive Coach, Suzi has worked across all levels of leadership, from aspiring leaders, team leaders to senior executives at many of Australia’s most highly regarded organisations.

Suzi has an informed grasp of the conditions women face in the workforce today gained from working with thousands of women from across Australia over the last five years in her role as Head of School, Women & Leadership Australia.

Passionate about developing capability in others through learning pathways, she takes great pride in her specialized skills in high-level relationship management where strategic thinking, inclusive practice and cultural development flourishes. She is consistently acknowledged for her ability to connect and engage deeply with diverse stakeholders, creating significant outcomes. 

Suzi Finkelstein


Anna Dabrowski is a researcher and lecturer in the area of educational reform and teacher effectiveness.  She is currently involved in the longitudinal evaluation of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, commissioned by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), in addition to developing performance and development frameworks to improve teacher quality in Australia and the United States.

Anna has several years of experience as an educator in Australia, Argentina and Germany. Anna has experience teaching in both international and national school settings, as well as tertiary institutes and language schools for EAL/D students.  Anna has extensive knowledge of international systems of education, curricula and standards based reform, and the role of leadership in promoting teacher effectiveness and student outcomes. She is also currently designing a mother tongue based literacy curriculum for the Ethiopian government.

Anna has a PhD in Education, examining the ways in which teachers and school leaders working in International Baccalaureate schools support and acknowledge student diversity. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts/Education, a Master of Applied Linguistics, a Master of TESOL and a Master of Education (Research). Anna speaks English, German and Spanish, and has published in the areas of education, linguistics and educational evaluation. She is also a regular presenter at both international and national education conferences and school leadership forums.

Anna Dabrowski

Dr Anna Dabrowski

Kate has been in education for over 15 years. She has taught in both the private and government sector, including remote and Indigenous schools. After being a curriculum consultant supporting regional schools, Kate took up various positions in school leadership in the north west of Western Australia.

As part of her journey as a school leader, Kate has been in both Deputy Principal and Principal positions, including working in an Education Support Centre and being a foundation Deputy Principal establishing a new school. Kate has been the Principal of Karratha Primary School for two years. During this time, she has transitioned the school community into the Independent Public School initiative and developed a culture of professional learning communities in the school. As a member of the local network of schools, she is active in promoting educational leadership and professional development.

Kate has an interest in developing staff, professional coaching and leadership. She established a network for developing leadership and transition opportunities in primary school student leaders and initiated TeachMeet events for educators in her home town. She also thrives on presenting professional learning and working with her school team to develop and implement school improvement plans. She is passionate about self-improvement and development, being a strong believer in lifelong learning. She was a member of the trial team for Principal Certification with Principals Australia Institute and has completed training in Growth Coaching.

Kate Lyon

Kate Lyon

Elizabeth McLeod, M.Ed is an educational consultant and facilitator who has led initiatives to promote positive school culture in diverse educational organizations for more than 20 years. As a Lead Facilitator for the Institute for Social and Emotional Learning (IFSEL) Elizabeth facilitates trainings on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), Conflict Resolution, Mindfulness, and Leadership for teachers and administrators. She also works directly with students as a school counselor and SEL educator at Marin Primary and Middle School in Larkspur, CA. Elizabeth’s passion is to empower educators and parents with the tools and training to transform their schools into caring, inclusive communities. Her goal is to create safe learning environments for people to develop and express their strengths and leadership through experiential learning, self-reflection, and group experiences. 

Elizabeth graduated from Boston College with a degree in Human Development and English and holds teaching credentials from San Francisco State University. She earned her Master of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she focused on the Psychology of girls and women, leadership, and non-profit administration. She developed experiential social justice and leadership curriculum for girls while working at an urban Outward Bound School. During this time, she developed the foundation for Girlventures, a non-profit in San Francisco that she co-created and where she served as founding Executive Director. Since then she has also co-founded the Institute for Social and Emotional Learning (IFSEL), a dynamic consulting and teacher training organization that operates using mostly a consensus model, and works with schools across the country to implement SEL best practices, strengthening policies and systems that promote empathy and respect. 

Elizabeth is a life-long learner who has been influenced by eastern contemplative practices, non-violent communication, and systems thinking, among other things. Her most important teachers are her two children, ages 11 and 14. She lives with her children and their very active Border Collie in a small coastal town south of San Francisco, CA.

Elizabeth McLeod

Elizabeth McLeod

Dr. David Franklin has vast experience in both primary and secondary schools as a teacher and administrator in California. He holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from California State University, Easy Bay, a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology from National University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Franklin has been instrumental in turning around schools in high poverty neighborhoods with high levels of English Language Learners. He also has experience working in high income schools with high expectations and heavily involved parent organizations. He has presented workshops all over California for the California League of Schools, California Association of Bilingual Education, and California State University, East Bay on Response to Intervention, Grade Retention and Educational Equity.  Dr. Franklin was a finalist for the California League of School’s Educator of the Year Award in 2011. In 2014, Dr. Franklin helped establish one of California's newest Distinguished Schools.

Honors & Awards

  • Mt. Diablo Educator's Association Administrator of the Year- 2014
  • California League of Middle School Educator of the Year Finalist - 2011
  • Alum Rock Administrators Association Middle Grades Principal of the Year - 2011
  • Champion of Arts Education Award for San Jose - 2010

University Partnerships

Dr. Franklin is an Adjunct Professor in Educational Leadership, Teacher Education and Special Education at a several universities including Temple University, Southwestern College, and National University. He is also a course designer in Master's and Doctoral prgrams in the areas of Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Technology and Civic Engagement.

Dr David Franklin

Dr. David Franklin

Dr Stephen Brown joined National Excellence in School Leadership Initiative (NESLI) in 2016 in the role of Global Executive Chair. In this capacity, Dr Brown has provided high level strategic direction across NESLI’s domestic and international activities.

Dr Brown has 32 years of experience in education, public sector and not for profit leadership roles both in Australia and internationally. He is a highly regarded expert in the areas of leadership development, organisational renewal and redesign, strategy, change management and capability development. Dr Brown undertakes consultancies across a broad range of settings and contexts within Australia and internationally, including Scotland, Nauru, Philippines, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and China.

Dr Brown was Hume Regional Director in North East Victoria for four years, and acted in the position of Deputy Secretary, Office of Government School Education. Dr Brown was Executive Director of the Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat in the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, and a member of the departmental leadership team. In December 2010, he was appointed to the position of inaugural Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Queensland Education Leadership Institute (QELi) Ltd. Dr Brown completed his tenure as CEO of QELi in April 2016 and, under his leadership developed an outstanding national and international reputation.

Dr Brown holds a Doctor of Education from the University of Southern Queensland, and a Master of Arts from the University of London. He was awarded the Australian Council for Educational Leaders Nganakarrawa Award in 2007 and a presidential citation from the same organisation in 2009.

In 2009, Dr Brown was nominated for membership of the Global Education Leaders Program—a coalition of leading system thinkers. He was identified as a participant in the Victorian Leadership Development Centre’s 2009 program for future Deputy Secretaries and Secretaries in the Victorian Public Sector. In 2013, Dr Brown was awarded by ACEL (Qld) the prestigious Miller-Grassie Award. In 2016, Stephen was appointed to the Scottish College of Educational Leadership’s International Advisory Board and the Northern Territory’s Charles Darwin University and Department of Education’s Board of Management for the Centre for School Leadership as an external expert advisor. 

Dr Brown  is also a Scholar-Practitioner Fellow at the Asia Centre for Leadership and Change (AOLC) Hong Kong University of Education, Board Director at Stuartholme School Brisbane,  National and State Fellow of ACEL, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management (FAIM) and in 2014 graduated from the Australian Institute of Company Directors program (GAICD).
Currently Stephen is undertaking a portfolio career with a combination of roles and positions. These include advisor to businesses and government on education; directorship of a global professional services company; consultancies and academic and board appointments.

Dr Stephen Brown


Global Executive Chair

Mike is Academic Director of NESLI. He was previously Professor of Education and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Education, Science Technology and Mathematics at the University of Canberra.  Prior to this appointment, he was Foundation Chair of Educational Leadership at the Australian Catholic University. 

Mike has wide experience as a teacher, an education system senior executive, and as a researcher, consultant and policy advisor to Australian governments in areas of education policy, curriculum and teaching practices appropriate to 21st century schooling

He is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators (ACE) for services to teacher education and curriculum development.  He has been a Director of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL), President of ACEL Canberra Region, an ACEL Travelling Scholar, and is an ACEL Fellow. In 2015 Mike was awarded the ACEL Nganakarrawa Award for his general excellence in educational administration and his learning, experience and contribution to ACEL.

He has written several books including Pathways to School System Improvement (ACER Press, 2014) Leading a Digital School (ACER Press, 2008) with Mal Lee, Leading Improvements in Student Numeracy (ACER Press, 2014) with Rhonda Faragher, and Governing in Faith: Foundations for Formation (Connor Court, 2014) with John Henry Thornber; as well as written extensively in the area of educational policy and management for over twenty years.

Mike holds B.Sc., B.Ed., and M.Ed. degrees from the University of Melbourne; and a Ph. D. in Educational Administration from the University of Alberta, Canada. 

Mike Gaffney

Mike Gaffney

Academic Director

Dr Janet Smith is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Education at the University of Canberra, where she has taught and researched in Educational Leadership and Teacher Education for the past 25 years. During her years at UC, Janet occupied a wide range of leadership positions, including Associate Dean Education, Deputy Head of School and Discipline Head.  Janet’s recent work at UC involved managing and teaching national and international professional learning courses, specialising in leadership, mentoring, coaching and social and emotional learning.  Janet also organised and led UC’s Educational Study Tours to China, and taught a UC Masters of Education course at Hangzhou Normal University in China. Prior to her work at the university, Janet was a high school teacher and school leader for 16 years.

In addition to her work at the university, Janet has also worked extensively as a consultant, focusing on education, leadership, coaching, mentoring, spirituality, professional learning, teacher well being and renewal.

Janet is a Courage & Renewal (C&R) facilitator with the Center for Courage & Renewal (CCR) in USA, which is based on the work of Parker J. Palmer.  She was the first non-North American C&R facilitator and founded C&R work throughout Australasia. Together with CCR, Janet has prepared 26 other Australasian C&R facilitators.  She is a director on the CCR Board of Directors.

Janet holds a PhD, Master of Education, BA, and Graduate Diploma of Secondary Education.

Janet Smith

Janet Smith Phd

Program Director
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National Excellence in School Leadership Initiative, NESLI
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