Chair and Board member profiles
NESA Chair Tom Alegounarias
Tom Alegounarias was appointed Chair of the NSW Education Standards Authority in January 2017.
He was previously the President of the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW (BOSTES) and the Board of Studies NSW, and founding Chief Executive Officer of the NSW Institute of Teachers.
Tom is an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney, and co-authored the Great Teaching, Inspired Learning reforms.
Between May 2009 and May 2015, he was the NSW nominee and a foundation board member of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority Board.
Previously he was Director of Equity, and General Manager of Strategic Policy for the NSW Department of Education and Training, where he was responsible for national, cross-sectoral and cross-agency policy and liaison.
He has been Chair and Executive Officer to a number of national policy committees, including the Schools Resourcing Taskforce of the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs.
He was co-founder and inaugural chair of the Australian Centre for Equity through Education.
Professor Paul Chandler
BSc(Hons), MScPsych, PhD
Paul Chandler is Pro Vice-Chancellor (Inclusion and Outreach) at the University of Wollongong, and a highly respected Aboriginal leader with extensive experience in the delivery of education. He is regarded as an international expert in cognition and learning, an innovative and popular teacher and a strong advocate for education and Aboriginal peoples. He is highly active in his field of research, and is the most heavily cited educational researcher currently appointed to any Australian University.
Dr Brian Croke
Brian Croke, is Executive Director of the Catholic Education Commission NSW, a director of the Australian Council for Educational Research and Education Services Australia, member and chair of the NSW Schools Advisory Council, and a member of the National Catholic Education Commission. He is also Adjunct Professor of History at Macquarie University, an Honorary Associate at the University of Sydney, and Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Education, University of London.
NESA CEO David de Carvalho
Professor Susan Dockett
BEd(Hons), MEd(Hons), PhD
Sue Dockett is Professor of Early Childhood Education at Charles Sturt University, and has been actively involved in early childhood education as a teacher, academic and researcher for more than 30 years. Much of her current research is focused on educational transitions, particularly to school, and the expectations, experiences and perceptions of all involved. Other educational transitions, including from primary to secondary school, and school to work, are components of her ongoing research. Her research is widely published nationally and internationally.
Mr Denis Fitzgerald
Denis Fitzgerald is Vice-President of the NSW Teachers Federation. He has taught in a range of public schools across NSW as a classroom teacher and in various promotional positions. He was a founding member of the NSW Board of Secondary Education and the Board of Studies NSW, a member of the Curriculum Corporation, former President of the NSW Teachers Federation and Federal President of the Australian Education Union, and is a writer and speaker on educational and social issues.
Ms Katherine Grace
BA(Hons), LLB(Hons), MPP
Katherine Grace is General Counsel, Company Secretary and member of the Executive Committee for Stockland Group, a top 30 ASX listed entity. She is also involved in inclusive leadership, education and gender equity programs at Stockland, and is the lead sponsor of the employee advocacy group for gender equity, a director of its charitable trust, and member of the Stockland Innovation Committee.
Ms Robyn McKerihan PSM
DipTeach, BEd, MBA
Robyn McKerihan has had more than 40 years’ experience in the NSW education system, starting as a teacher, executive staff member and school principal. Since 1995, she has worked in senior roles as a Director and Executive Director in the NSW Department of Education at a regional and state level.
Ms Iris Nastasi
BA, CRE, Med, GCRE
Iris Nastasi is principal at Clancy Catholic College, a co-educational secondary school in western Sydney. She has worked as a teacher, executive staff member and principal in NSW for 20 years.
Dr Geoff Newcombe
BSc, DipEd, MEdAdmin, PhD, GAICD
Dr Geoff Newcombe is Executive Director of the Association of Independent Schools of NSW, and has extensive school governance and management experience having held positions of Head and Business Manager in a number of independent schools. He is a Director on the Board of the Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). In 2015, he established the AISNSW Institute to conduct research on enhancing schooling outcomes in the independent sector.
Mr Mark Northam
BA, DipEd, MEdStud
Mark Northam is Assistant Secretary of the NSW/ACT Independent Education Union and coordinates the IEU Education Issues Committee. He began his career in education as an English and history teacher at Coolah Central School. Between 1982 and 2000, he taught at Campbelltown High School, St Anne’s High School, Adamstown, and was Assistant Principal at St Clare’s High School, Taree, and Acting Assistant Principal at St Francis Xavier’s, Hamilton.
Mr Craig Petersen
Bed, VGC, MEd
Craig Petersen is the Principal of Denison College of Secondary Education and Deputy President of the NSW Secondary Principals’ Council. He has extensive experience in secondary education leadership, and is a former principal of Forbes High School, and Deputy Principal of Coonabarabran High School. He has been a member of NSW Fire Brigades since 1994, and currently serves as a captain in the NSW Rural Fire Service.
Mr Mark Scott AO
BA, DipEd, MA(Syd), MPubAdmin (Harv)
Mark Scott is Secretary of the NSW Department of Education, after a decade as Managing Director of the ABC. He was a teacher at St Andrews’s Cathedral School before moving to senior roles working for two education ministers. After completing a Masters in Public Administration at Harvard University he joined Fairfax Media as a journalist, rising to senior editorial and executive roles, before moving to the ABC.
Ms Carol Taylor
BA, DipEd, MEd
Carol Taylor was Chief Executive of the Board of Studies NSW from 2010 to 2013. She began her career as an English and history teacher at Chester Hill High, and moved to the Board of Studies, then known as the Statutory Board Directorate of the Department of Education, in 1988. Prior to becoming Chief Executive, she held roles in the areas of curriculum, assessment and measurement, and is an expert in assessment and standard setting. She has continued consultation work in these areas following her retirement in 2013.