Education Matters speaks to Aasha Murthy, the CEO of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders, about the organisation’s vision to strengthen educational leaders across the country.
What is ACEL?
The Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL) is the largest professional association for education in Australia and the wider Asia-Pacific region. We have more than 7000 members and a 45,000-strong network of educators from all sectors and all levels of education. Our strength lies in the fact that we are independent and cross sectoral with a national reach. We have branches in all states and territories and a strong governance structure with a national board of directors and a professional operations team at the national office. ACEL also collaborates with other education-focused organisations in Australia, to further extend our support for educational leadership.
What is the vision behind ACEL?
Our stated purpose is “to inspire, support, recognise and advocate for excellence in educational leadership.”
We cultivate a collaborative learning community of educational leaders by:
1. Enhancing leadership capacity through delivery of high quality programs, events and publications
2. Elevating the standing of educational leadership by recognising excellence
3. Representing, supporting and advocating for the education profession
4. Sustaining strong ACEL state, national and international networks
Our underlying approach across all our areas of endeavour is to be evidence-based, profession-led and positive.
What does ACEL provide?
We offer a wide portfolio of conferences, seminars and workshops, leadership and mentoring programs, in-house publications, online learning resources and a comprehensive list of titles in our bookshop.
We host several events, including four conferences, and annually more than 100 professional learning events and networking forums for members and the wider education community. We recognise excellence in educational leadership through state and national awards and fellowships. Our New Voice Scholarship program launched three years ago provides new voices in educational leadership and researches the opportunity to attend our flagship national conference and to contribute to our publications and other activities.
What have been recent highlights for ACEL?
We have experienced growth in all areas in the past few years, extending our reach, adding richness to our portfolio of resources and have ensured that everything we do is relevant to the current and future needs of educational leaders in all settings. A few key highlights from the last few months includes
– The Well Being Conference – This inaugural event held in Darwin was successful and attracted more than 300 participants from across the country. The theme focused on the power of confidence and strengths-based perspectives and the need to focus on the positive aspects of education
– The Disability Leadership Summit – Held in Sydney for the fifth year in a row, this event draws attention to leadership’s role in delivering outcomes for students impacted by disability. The sector has recently undergone significant change and reform and the summit provides a powerful platform for experts to share their research, policy and best practice
– Online learning – The ACEL Resource Centre is an online database containing more than 700 articles, podcasts and videos. It is a new benefit for ACEL Members and provides learning opportunities, particularly for educators in regional/remote areas. This curated library sets out resources set against AITSL professional standards and will be updated regularly
– Networking forums – our branches in all states and territories have hosted several events in the past few months bringing into sharp focus emerging issues facing schools and the wider community
How can educational leaders get the most out of engaging with the ACEL community?
We are a profession-led association initially established to provide an opportunity for educational leaders to engage with their peers and share their knowledge and experience. Through our conferences, events and publications, we provide a diverse range of platforms for educational leaders to provide insights, share their successes and reach out to their peers for support and advice. For example, ACEL Perspective is just one of our many avenue for educators to share their research in a series of journals published six times a year, from wide-ranging issues such as graduate readiness to the government’s role in education.
How does ACEL support positive discourse in education?
ACEL considers itself to be a forward thinking, relevant and responsive agent of change and innovation. It is a learning organisation that is continuously improving its practices to harness national and global opportunities.
We would like to make this a watershed year for our sector’s “narrative of optimism”. ACEL is no pollyanna in its championing of the sector’s cause. It recognises that there are improvements needed to make the sector’s performance exemplary. However, it heeds the poet Kahlil Gibran’s stricture:
“You have been told that, even like a chain, you are as weak as your weakest link.
This is but half the truth.
You are also as strong as your strongest link.
To measure you by your smallest deed is to reckon the power of the ocean
by the frailty of its foam.”