2017 VPA Annual State Conference Summary

Inspiring Teams Through Positive Leadership


The VPA Annual State Conference was held on Thursday 17th and Friday 18th August at Pullman Melbourne, in Albert Park and it was a great success.




Conference Closing Message

The conference commenced with an uplifting and energetic performance from the Tate Street Primary School’s Marimbataters who were absolutely brilliant. The principal Terry Scott would have been very proud of the performance from his students.
The conference program was interesting, relevant and engaging. The first keynote address was from Dr Karen Edge. She shared her research on Generation X school leaders which was very insightful. She stressed the importance of getting rid of the words ‘busy’ and ‘tired’ as they both have negative connotations. Karen was practical, current, and relevant. She highlighted the importance of saying ‘no’!
Minister James Merlino followed Karen and provided an update on the latest information from the Department. He acknowledged the importance of principal health and wellbeing.
Bob Milstein provided a brilliant, down to earth and relevant presentation on the English language. He highlighted the importance of plain English communication, the need to drop the jargon and the importance of using active voice.
Steve Francis encouraged us to be brave leaders and highlighted the importance of addressing the elephant in the room. He discussed how vital it was to have high trust in the school.
Yamini Naidu closed the day with a very entertaining and informative presentation. She discussed how to use humour when under pressure and how humour can be used to change the perspective of a situation. Yamini shared her belief that a strong work ethic combined with a sense of humour promotes success and inspires others.


Friday started on a high with a brilliant Bollywood performance form Glendal Primary School. Thank you to Deborah Grossek, the school principal, for organising this performance, which certainly started the day on a lively note.
This was followed by Dr Justin Coulson who discussed positive psychology and how to bring out the best in you and others. He discussed gratitude, optimism, zest and persistence. He said we talk about our problems too much and that we needed to break this habit and talk about our joys instead. He shared some excellent ideas about how to promote gratitude in our schools.
Dennis Yarrington the APPA president shared principal health and wellbeing data from across the nation. He also gave an update on APPA’s recent and future activities.
Kate Christie gave us some brilliant time management strategies from organising our email boxes to mastering the 5 steps to being smart. She discussed the disadvantages of multi-tasking as research indicates that it decreases your efficiency by 40%.
Dr Helena Popovic concluded the conference on a high as she discussed how to boost your brain and to get ahead. She shared many health and wellbeing tips that were practical and easy to adopt. It was a brilliant way to end the conference.

I would like to thank all our presenters. They were engaging, practical, entertaining and thought provoking.

I would like to thank our Business Partners and Exhibitors whose generosity makes it possible for us to hold the conference. Your support is greatly appreciated. Thanks to all who visited, and spent the time connecting with, our business partners and exhibitors throughout the conference. We ask that you continue to show your support of our business partners and the exhibitors by inviting their companies to quote when purchasing new goods and services.
I hope that everyone who attended had some valuable takeaways too!
Thank you to Jacqui Bates and her team from 'The Conference Manager' for their outstanding organisation. Jacqui in particular has made organising the event seamless and easy.
Thanks to Tate Street Primary School and Glendal Primary School for sharing their amazing talents with us.

Thank you to the VPA team Gaye, Anne-Maree, Elissah, Kristen and Tamara who work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that the conference was a success. The conference would not be as successful without their attention to detail.

Thank you to all the delegates for taking time out of your demanding schedules to spend time on your own learning. Our conference theme ‘Inspiring Teams through Positive Leadership’ has explored useful concepts and effective techniques to understand and improve our workplace culture. The aim of the conference was to empower you to engage positively and lead your team, contributing to the social, emotional and professional wellbeing of your staff.

And of course last but not least we extend our thanks to our president Anne-Maree Kliman. Anne-Maree ensures that the vision of the VPA constantly underpins everything the organisation does. As the president she promotes the organisations vision through her professional interactions and advocacy for government education.
I hope all who attended enjoyed the conference. We look forward to seeing you next year.  

-Cheryle OsborneConference Chair



Small School Scholarship

Congratulations to the following people awarded a Small School Scholarship and thank you for attending this year's VPA Annual State Conference:

Jean Mawhinney, Neerim District Rural Primary School; Arthur Lane, Warrenheip Primary School; Glen Lauder, Oberon South Primary School; Debbie Humphries, Kialla Central Primary School; Cameron Peverett, Colac Specialist School; Linda Mooseek, Nullawarre And District Primary School; Sharon Ranger, Talbot Primary School;  Carol Taylor, Bealiba Primary; Stuart Telford, Bolinda Primary School; Marie de Prada, Carraragarmungee Primary School; Katie Lovel, Dunolly Primary School; Stephen Cox, Woady Yaloak Primary School - Snake Valley Campus;  Nathan Harris, Woady Yaloak Primary School - Scarsdale Campus

The VPA is proud to support our members who are leaders of small schools and provide access to high-level professional development and networking opportunities through the Annual State Conference. We would also like to acknowledge these teaching Principals who dedicated time out of their school to travel and attend the conference. We understand it takes a lot of organisation and appreciate your commitment. We hope you enjoyed the conference as much as we did hosting you.


Study Awards


The VPA has a long standing tradition of supporting members in practical ways and facilitating their continuing development. We would like to congratulate this years winners in the following categories:

  1. Developing Others - Building Capacity - Award by Woods Furniture
    Corey Pohlner, Principal Woady Yaloak Primary School
    Title: Developing a School Wide Stress Free Culture 

  2. Principal Health and Wellbeing - Award by Teachers Health Fund
    Shelby Papadopoulos, Principal Colac Primary School
    Title: Clinical and Professional Supervision for Principals

  3. Promoting School and Community Links - Award by Victoria Teachers Mutual Bank
    Andrew Parry, Principal Horsham West and Haven Primary School
    Title: Happy and Healthy School Communities

  4. Building Positive and Respectful Relationships - Award by Frontier Financial Group
    Danny Forrest, Principal Donald School
    Title: Maintaining, Building and Creating More Sustainable Personal Relationships

We look forward to seeing what comes of both of these fantastic projects and will keep you updated.

We would also like to acknowledge the generous financial support provided by our four Study Award sponsors, Woods Furniture, Teachers Health Fund, Victoria Teachers Mutual Bank and Frontier Financial Group.