2022 Term 2 Conference and AGM

On the 24th June, we came together at The Function in Glenelg for our Term 2 Conference titled Leadership and Building Culture. We had a lineup of inspirational and motivational speakers with no shortage of humor and thought-provoking conversations.

The new Minister for Education, Training & Skills - Hon Blair Boyer opened the conference, sharing with us all his upbringing and connection to the education system, where his father was a public-school teacher for close to 40 years and through his mother, who worked in the disability sector. The Minister welcomed and encouraged feedback from all those present and expressed his desire to visit sites firsthand and attend more conferences in the future with an open forum.

He then made announcements around the state budget, including the investment of $50 million over the next 4 years into 100 new mental health and learning support specialists and $28.8 million over 4 years to appoint an autism lead teacher in every government primary school. The Minister also announced that by 2026 they will commence lowering the entry age of children going into preschool to 3 years of age.

Following Minister Boyre and leading us into the key content for the day, we had the hilarious SAPPA President, Angela Falkenberg and the National President and Chief Executive Officer of ASEPA, Matthew Johnson present their journeys into Leadership.

Angela lead the way with her colourful history and journey not only into leadership, but her journey into leadership as a woman. She share some of the challenges she had to overcome, the tactics used to move her on when she advocated strongly for her communities and the incredible experiences she had along the way with students and sites that many would not have taken on. She also shared stories of her personal losses that silenced the room but followed with inspirational stories of her exceptional drive and determination with fast wit and humour. She finished by sharing some insight in to how she leads and left us with a clear understanding of how she never backed away from an opportunity while staying true to herself along the way.

Matthew Johnson came with quite the resume. His current roles include National President of ASEPA, State President of SEPLA, Lead Principal of Newcastle Community of Special Schools, Member of the School Teaching and Leadership Expert Standing Committee (AITSL), Founder and Convenor of the Coalition of Australian Principals (CAP), Member of the International Confederation of Principals Council (ICP), Member of the Australian Primary Principals Association National Advisory Council (APPA-NAC) and he is also a Doctoral Student (EdD) (UNSW).

Matthew’s presentation, much like Angela’s, was about his journey into leadership and disability education. He shared how his mother was his biggest inspiration and how she fought for equity, achieving success as one of the first female Head Teachers in NSW. Matthew shared his journey from a high-school Music and Visual Arts teacher into working in behaviour schools to being appointed as Executive Director School Performance, State-wide Special Schools in Queensland supporting and supervising 89 special schools across the state. Matthew shared his work with the different associations he is a part of and closed with the invitation to register to attend SEPLA-CON 2022 which will be held in Sydney at the SCC on July 18th and 19th.

After the break our keynote guest speaker Dan Haesler came to the stage. Dan is a coach whose work focuses on creating happier, healthier, and higher performance. He works with people in order to help them and the people around them to thrive, professionally and personally. Dan’s clients include elite athletes and Olympians, as well as corporate and educational leaders. Dan had everyone identify and reflect on their core values and challenged everyone to reflect on times where they may not have been able to act on these values in their professional and personal lives, reminding everyone of how important being able to walk the walk is when we expect that of others.
To assist us all Dan went through emotional intelligence and how as leaders, the way in which we handle situations of crisis or chaos is often deeply linked to the success and failure of those in our team. He used an experience of a recent flight to demonstrate how in times of crisis, people will look to those they feel are the strongest, can provide comfort, direction, and reassurance and confidently lead them. Dan noted how many people looked to the air stewards during his aborted flight, trying to read their emotion and body language and how if they appeared calm and non-responsive, people felt safer and could relax.
Dan then shared footage from an athlete he coaches in a recent game of NRL. When one of the captain’s team mates potentially costs his team the win, rather than belittling, berating, or making his teammate feel worse than he already does, the captain offered direction, focus, and more importantly made him feel supported with the powerful comment, “We’ve got you”. The impact of this statement, perfectly timed, allowed his young teammate to reset, re focus and he ended up breaking through and scoring a try, winning them the game.

Dan’s presentation left a sense of reignited passion, drive and motivation for many of the guests who attended the conference. If you missed the opportunity to attend the conference and hear Dan for yourself, we strongly recommend you head over to his website www.danhaesler.com and tune in or listen to his podcasts or even purchase his book ‘The Act of Leadership’.

Following a delicious lunch put on by The Function – Beachhouse and some short networking opportunities, we moved on to the SSS update delivered by Meredith Reynolds.

The final presentation for the conference was with the Inclusive Teaching and Learning Support and Inclusion Division with state-wide updates delivered by Kerry Parker and Cathy Clark from state office.

The conference came to a close and went into the SA SEPLA AGM with the announcement of the new Exec team, the finance report, conference dates and information as well as recognition and thanks to those who provide behind the scenes work and support for SA SEPLA.

Thank you to everyone who attended!

The next conference is on the 9th September at the National wine center with a focus on Autism and Anxiety.

Information and registration details for the Term 3 Conference will Be out soon.

We look forward to seeing you all there.