2023 VPA Annual Leadership Conference

It was an incredible pleasure to welcome all participants to the 2023 VPA Annual Leadership Conference, Future Schools, Future Leaders, held at the Pullman Hotel on the 24th and 25th of August.

There were many highlights over the two days, with the conference as much an opportunity for networking and collegiality as it was for learning and professional development.

Guided by our wonderful MC Deborah Patterson, State Primary school leaders from around Victoria enjoyed highlights such as…

Hon. Natalie Hutchins MP, Minister for Education and Minister for Women

An opening presentation by the Hon. Natalie Hutchins MP, Minister for Education and Minister for Women. In line with the “Future Schools, Future Leaders” conference theme, the Minister acknowledged, “The role of school leaders is evolving to reflect the roles of our schools… the pressure on our school leaders is changing.”

The Hon. Natalie Hutchins, Minster for Education and Minister for Women, presenting the opening speech at the 2023 VPA Leadership Conference

Louka Parry

Louka Parry got us talking – and breathing – with his presentation, “The Learning Future” as he led us through the changing landscape of work, learning, and society. To quote Luka, “The future of Leadership is regenerative.”


Dr Catriona Wallace

This year everyone is talking about AI! Dr Catriona Wallace showed us different ways AI can be used and got us thinking about how future educators can look forward to leveraging it in their schools.


Pasi Sahlberg

Finnish educator, scholar, and author, Pasi Sahlberg's presentation, “Re-think – Intrigue – Co-create: Next Agenda for Leading and Learning, had us conceptualising new possible educational paradigms, with food, music, and movement all part of his educational future.

Dan Haesler

We got MAD with Dan Haesler. Not mad but MAD – Mindful and Deliberate. He was as funny as he was insightful. He talked about “red brain” vs “blue brain”, a concept that we can all use in our work and person lives, and left us with the very sage advice that, “Email is not a hobby”.

Angela Falkenberg, president of APPA, presents a keynote speech at the 2023 VPA Conference. She is a middle-aged woman, viewed in profile, with short mid-brown hair. She is speaking into a microphone.

Angela Falkenberg

Angela Falkenberg gave two presentations in what she described as a “mullet” – business in the front (with her APPA Update), party in the back (with her keynote presentation, “Leading in the Now with an Eye on the Future”). Her witty and insightful keynote was framed around the three accountabilities of a principal (instructional leadership, organisational management, culture and community establishment), and contained lots of pearls of wisdom to carry us forward.


Dale Sidebottom

Our final keynote presenter was play expert Dale Sidebottom, whose presentation “You Must be Well to Lead Well” introduced us to the Daily PEGG – Play, Exercise, Gratitude, and Giving. He got us laughing, moving, and connecting – and gave us great tips on maintaining our wellness as leaders.


We also heard from six of our valued Business Partners, Woods Furniture, Bank First, Athas concepts, Camp Australia, MSP Photography, and Compass Education. Their presentations were high-quality and unique, displaying the respective value each partner bring to the education space.

The conference was an extraordinary two days. It was fantastic to catch up, learn together, celebrate our collegiality, reconnect with old friends and make new friends. We hope our attendees enjoyed the range of keynote speakers and feel inspired and confident about leading their schools and students into the future.

VPA Members are the first to hear about events like the conference and other professional development events - and they get discounted registration. If you're not already a VPA Member, what are you waiting for? Become a member today.