In order of presenting

Mickey Kumatpi Marrutya O'Brien

Senior Kaurna Man

Mickey is a descendant of the Kaurna (Adelaide Plains) and Narrunga (York Peninsula) peoples. He has been, sharing cultural engagement for a number of years. It is a role handed to him by his Father, Uncle Lewis Yerla Burka O’Brien. It is a position; he honors and respects greatly. He is a Foster Parent of seventeen years, to three beautiful children.

Mickey has travelled all across Australia, living and working in a number of Aboriginal Communities, delivering programs and benefits. He enjoyed the opportunity to support the Aboriginal Community, sitting on boards and Advisory Panels. He is a recipient of the Rotary Club Courtesy Award, for Community involvement working with youth. Mickey is also an Australia Day Service Award recipient, for my work as a volunteer on advisory groups. He enjoys sharing Cultural Knowledge and providing Welcome to Country, with people, not at people.


The Honourable Blair Boyer

Minister for Education

Blair lives in the North Eastern suburbs of Adelaide with his family.  When he has time he enjoys playing basketball, watching the footy, listening to music, taking the kids bike riding and spending time on the family farm.  He is also a volunteer with the Salisbury SES Unit and the Modbury Meals on Wheels.
Blair grew up on the family farm in rural South West Victoria, not far from Mount Gambier. He was educated at Portland Secondary College (VCE) before graduating from Monash University with degrees in Arts and Law in 2005. It was at University in 2000 that Blair met his wife, Catherine, with whom he has three daughters. Blair completed his articled clerkship in 2006 and practiced as a solicitor for a short period of time.
In 2011 Blair and Catherine moved to Adelaide where Blair worked as Chief of Staff to Minister Jennifer Rankine.  After Jennifer’s retirement from Cabinet, Blair began work for Premier Jay Weatherill.  In March 2018 he was elected Member of Parliament for the seat of Wright.  In May 2018, Blair was appointed to the role of Shadow Assistant Minister for Health and education.  IN September 2020, Blair was appointed to the role of Shadow Minister for Education, Skills and Training and Veterans’ Affairs.
Blair was re-elected as the Member for Wright in March 2022 and was appointed Minister for Education, Training and Skills in the Malinauskas State Government.
Blair’s upbringing in a rural environment has instilled in him a love of the country and an appreciation of the rewards that come from hard work and persistence. He is aware of the privilege that life has granted him and is determined to do his utmost to extend to all South Australians the opportunity to make the most of their talents and aspirations.
Blair is particularly passionate about education and believes that a strong, affordable and accessible public education system is the key to equality.  He believes that meaningful, dignified, work is the bedrock of our society and should be available to all South Australians, regardless of their means or background.

Jayne Heath

Chief Executive, SASPA

Jayne brings to the role of SASPA Chief Executive some 43 years of experience in South Australian public schools, of which 25 were in senior leadership roles.

Jayne has been a member of the SASPA Board for more than 10 years and, for much of this time, has been the Convenor of SASPA’s Professional Learning Strategic and Conference Planning Groups.
She has a Masters of Education (Professional Learning) and has exhibited a dedication and passion for high quality public education throughout her professional life. Jayne is an advocate for policy initiatives that better address issues of equity in education.

Professor Sam Sellar

Dean of Research: UniSA Education Futures and Professor of Education Policy

Sam Sellar is Dean of Research and Professor of Education Policy in UniSA Education Futures. He was formerly Reader in Education Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University. Sam’s research focuses on global and national education policy, large-scale assessments such as NAPLAN and the digitalisation and datafication of education. He is currently working on two international research projects investigating the use of digital platforms in higher education (with Dr Janja Komljenovic at Lancaster University) and the impact of digital assessments in schools (with Dr David Rutkowski at Indiana University). Sam also works closely with teacher organisations around the world to understand the impact of privatisation and accountability on teacher professional autonomy. He has published more than 70 books, book chapters and journal articles, and his most recent book is titled Algorithms of education: How datafication and artificial intelligence shape policy (University of Minnesota Press), co-authored with Kalervo N. Gulson and P. Taylor Webb.

Dr Niki Vincent

Commissioner for Gender Equality in the Public Sector (Victoria, Australia)

Dr Niki Vincent was appointed as Victoria’s first Public Sector Gender Equality Commissioner in September 2020. She is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Gender Equality Act 2020 and plays a key leadership role in promoting gender equality in the Victorian community and workplaces.
Dr Vincent has a wealth of experience in gender equality and organisational leadership. This includes serving as the South Australian Commissioner for Equal Opportunity from 2016-2020.
Prior to that, Niki held the position of CEO of the Leaders Institute of South Australia as well as a concurrent appointment as a member of the Remuneration Tribunal of South Australia. She has also led major programs of academic research in previous roles, holds an appointment as an Adjunct Associate Professor in UniSA’s Business School and has established and run two successful not-for-profit organisations.

In addition, Niki is an active ambassador for Time for Kids – a respite foster care organisation – and sits on the board of InTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence.
Niki is a mother of 4 adult children, a full-time foster parent, has 2 young adult stepchildren and 10 grandchildren. She spends her sparse free time with her partner, family, and friends, and enjoys hiking, seeing films, listening to Radio National podcasts and a variety of music, gardening, doing yoga and camping in remote places.

Martin Westwell

Chief Executive, The Department for Education

Martin was appointed Chief Executive of the Department for Education in April 2022, following a successful 4 years as Chief Executive of the SACE Board.

Martin has worked extensively with education systems and other organisations in using evidence to inform policy, practice, innovation and impact in education.
He was a Chief Investigator in the national Australian Research Council (ARC) Science of Learning Research Centre, and has worked with UNESCO using evidence to inform strategic planning of education in the Asia-Pacific region.

In 2018, Martin received the prestigious Australian Council for Educational Leaders’ (ACEL) Gold Medal, awarded for the most outstanding contribution to the study and practice of educational administration and leadership.
In 2007 Martin and his family moved to South Australia where he took the position of inaugural Director of the Flinders Centre for Science Education in the 21st Century and then Strategic Professor in the Science of Learning at Flinders University.

Martin completed his degree and PhD at Cambridge University and was a Research Fellow at Lincoln College, Oxford University in biological chemistry.

Helen Connolly

Commissioner for Children and Young People SA

Helen Connolly took up her appointment as South Australia’s first Commissioner for Children and Young People in April 2017.
Helen has 30 years’ experience as a leader in human services.  Prior to her appointment as Commissioner for Children and Young People she was Executive Director of the Australian Red Cross in South Australia and Chair of the South Australian Council of Social Services Incorporated (SACOSS).
Throughout her career, Helen has taken an active advocacy role on the main policy issues that impact on the wellbeing of Australian families and children, with a strong focus on early intervention and prevention strategies.

Tim Costello AO

Australian Executive and Advocate

Rev Tim Costello is one of Australia’s best known community leaders and a sought-after voice on social justice issues, leadership, and ethics. For 13 years until October 2016, Tim was Chief Executive of World Vision Australia, placing the challenges of global poverty on the national agenda. Tim now directs Ethical Voice and is also Executive Director of Micah Australia. He is an Advocate for the Alliance for Gambling Reform and a Senior Fellow for the Centre for Public Christianity.




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