UNSW Gonski Institute for Education Advisory Board

The Gonski Institute for Education is guided by an external advisory board, which provides advice and recommendations on priorities and directions and promotes the Institute’s mission and goals. The Advisory Board consists of expert practitioners from the field and leading public figures with strong links to education, as well as UNSW staff representatives from areas relevant to the Institute.

Meet our board members

Mr Ian Narev (Chair), Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Ian Narev

Ian Narev has been the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia since 2011. He will retire from that role in April 2018. Before joining CBA in 2007, Ian was a partner of McKinsey & Company, having joined McKinsey in New York in 1998.

Ian holds a Masters of Law degree with first class honours from Cambridge University (International Corporate Law), and a Masters of Law degree from New York University (International Relations), where he was a Hauser Scholar. He also holds undergraduate degrees in English and Law from the University of Auckland.

Among his non-profit interests, Ian is a founder and the Chairman of the New Zealand-based Springboard Trust, which works with principals of primary schools to help improve school effectiveness, Chairman of the Sydney Theatre Company, and a member of the board of SCEGGS Darlinghurst.



Dr John Vallance (Deputy Chair), State Librarian & Chief Executive, State Library of New South Wales

John Vallance

Dr John Vallance is currently the NSW State Librarian and Chief Executive. He attended the University of Sydney where he studied classics and archaeology, followed by Cambridge where he completed his MA and PhD in classics at St John’s College. After graduating with starred First Class Honours in Classics, he became a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and taught in the Faculty of Classics at Cambridge for eight years. He has published widely in the field of ancient Greek science and medicine. Between 1999 and 2017 he was Headmaster of Sydney Grammar School.

He has served as a member of the Library Council of NSW, a Trustee of the State Library Foundation and a Director of the National Art School, and is currently a non-executive director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He is also Honorary Professor for the Public Understanding of the Humanities at the University of New South Wales.

Professor Eileen Baldry, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Inclusion & Diversity, UNSW Sydney

Eileen Baldry

Professor Eileen Baldry is Deputy Vice-Chancellor Inclusion and Diversity and Professor of Criminology at UNSW Sydney. She has held senior positions in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, serving as Interim Dean, Associate Dean Education and Deputy Dean and is appointed the first female Deputy Vice-Chancellor at UNSW. Deputy Vice-Chancellor Inclusion & Diversity, she oversees governance and policy setting by the UNSW Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Board, ensuring these align with the mission, direction and priorities outlined in UNSW’s 2025 Strategy.

Professor Baldry has taught social policy, social development and criminology over the past 30 years; and has been and is a Chief Investigator on the Australian Research Council (ARC), NH&MRC, AHURI and other grants over the past 25 years. Her research and publications focus on social justice and include mental health and cognitive disability in the criminal justice system; criminalised women and Indigenous Australian women and youth; education, training and employment for prisoners and ex-prisoners; homelessness and transition from prison; Indigenous justice; Indigenous social work; community development and social housing; and disability services.

Professor Baldry was awarded the NSW Justice Medal in 2009 and in 2016 was named in the AFR/Westpac 100 most influential women in Australia.


Professor Merlin Crossley, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, UNSW Sydney

Merlin Crossley

Professor Merlin Crossley is a molecular biologist, specialising in human genetic diseases. He is also an enthusiastic teacher and science communicator who contributes frequent articles on science, education and policy.

He serves on the Trust of the Australian Museum, is Deputy Chair on the Board of the Australian Science Media Centre, sits on the Boards of the Sydney Institute of Marine Science, and New South Innovations, is on the Council of the EMBL Australia, and Editorial Board of The Conversation.

He undertook his BSc at the University of Melbourne, majoring in genetics and microbiology, moved to Oxford University supported by a Rhodes Scholarship, and then did post-doctoral research at Oxford and Harvard before taking up a position at the University of Sydney, where he was Professor of Molecular Genetics 2005-9, Acting Dean of Science 2004, Director of Research for the College of Sciences and Technology 2005, and Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research from 2006-2008. In 2010 he began as Dean of Science at UNSW and took up his current role as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic in 2016.


Professor Susan Dodds, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW Sydney

Susan Dodds

Professor Susan Dodds is a Professor of Philosophy and the Dean of Arts & Social Sciences at UNSW Sydney. Susan has extensive experience as a middle manager at three universities. Prior to taking up her role at UNSW in 2016, she was Dean of Arts and Deputy Provost at the University of Tasmania for 7 years and before that she was the Head of School of English Literatures, Philosophy and Languages at the University of Wollongong. Susan is also the President of the Australasian Council of Deans of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (DASSH) and the Chair of the Board of the Australasian Association of Philosophy. Her philosophical research lies at the intersection of ethics, political philosophy and moral psychology, with a particular focus on bioethics and emerging technologies. Her two most recent books are both edited collections: Big Picture Bioethics: Developing Democratic Policy in Contested Domains, co-edited with Rachel A Ankeny (Springer, 2016) and Vulnerability: New Essays in Ethics and Feminist Philosophy, co-edited with Catriona Mackenzie and Wendy Rogers (Oxford University Press 2014).


Professor Chris Davison, Head of School, School of Education, UNSW Sydney

Professor Chris Davidson

Professor Chris Davison, a specialist in language education and school-based assessment, is Professor of Education and Head of the School of Education, University of New South Wales (UNSW). Before her appointment to UNSW, Chris was Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Education at University of Hong Kong, where she worked for nine years. She has worked in teacher education, including at Melbourne and La Trobe University, for over 30 years, and before that, as an English and ESL teacher and consultant in primary and secondary schools, English language centres and the adult and community education sector in Australia and overseas.

Chris has researched and published extensively on the interface between English as a mother tongue and ESL development, integrating language and content curriculum, and English language assessment, in leading international journals including TESOL Quarterly, Applied Linguistics, Language Assessment Quarterly, Language Testing and Linguistics and Education. Her books include a two-volume handbook of teaching English internationally (Springer, with Jim Cummins) and a co-authored book on English language teaching innovation in China (HKU Press, with Xinmin Zheng). She is founding co-editor (with Andy Gao) of the Springer book series on English Language Education. With colleagues at the University of Hong Kong, Chris has completed the research and development of a range of oral school-based assessment initiatives for the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority, and also worked over a number of years with the Ministries of Education in Singapore and in Brunei on integrating assessment for learning into their new curricula. She has just completed a multimillion dollar project researching and developing a teacher-based assessment resource framework for EAL learners in Victorian schools, funded by the Department of Education and Training (DET), Catholic Education and Independent Schools Victoria. She has conducted many in-service programs and consultancies with educational systems in the Asian region, including Singapore, Laos, Vietnam, Taiwan, Indonesia, Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand and China.

Chris has been actively involved in an extensive range professional associations and community organizations throughout her career, including undertaking stints as President of the Australian Council of TESOL Association, Chair of the Australian Literacy Federation, Chair of the TESOL International Research Committee and most recently, Chair of the NSW Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards Initial Teacher Education Committee and President of the NSW Council of Deans of Education. She is currently a member of the ALAA Executive and Editor in Chief of the Australian Review of Applied Linguistics. Chris is recipient of a number of awards, most recently for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education and to TESOL, awarded by the Australian Council of Deans of Education in 2016, and the Ralph Rawlinson Award 2017 for Outstanding Contributions to the Education of Students with Disadvantage at the International Level.


Professor Megan Davis, Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous, UNSW Sydney

Professor Megan Davis

Professor Megan Davis is Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous UNSW and a Professor of Law, UNSW Law. She was elected by the UN Human Rights Council to UNEMRIP in 2017. Professor Davis currently serves as a United Nations expert with the UN Human Rights Council's Expert Mechanism on the rights of Indigenous peoples based in UN Geneva. Megan is an Acting Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court. Professor Davis is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences. She is a member of the NSW Sentencing Council and an Australian Rugby League Commissioner. Professor Davis was Director of the Indigenous Law Centre, UNSW Law from 2006-2016.

Professor Davis is a constitutional lawyer who researches in public law and public international law. Her current research focuses on constitutional design, democratic theory and Indigenous peoples. Professor Davis has been the leading constitutional lawyer working on Indigenous constitutional reform since 2011. In 2015 she was appointed by the Prime Minister to the Referendum Council and designed the deliberative constitutional dialogue process the Council undertook. In 2011, Megan was also appointed to the Prime Minister's Expert Panel on the Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Constitution and continues to be involved in legal discussions on the constitutional issues relating to the referendum model.

Professor Davis has received many accolades in recognition of her contribution in public law and public international law, including in The Australian Financial Review Magazine’s inaugural 2017 Cultural Power List (ranked #7) for her work on constitutional reform and delivering the Uluru Statement From the Heart, the 2010 NAIDOC Scholar of the Year; and the United Nations Association of Australia QLD UN Award in 2017.

Professor Kristy Muir, Chief Executive Officer, Centre for Social Impact, UNSW Sydney

Professor Kristy Muir

Professor Kristy Muir is the CEO of the Centre for Social Impact (CSI), a Professor of Social Policy at UNSW Sydney, and an elected member of the University Council at UNSW Sydney. She has worked for more than two decades with for-purpose organisations to help understand, measure, and find innovative solutions to complex social problems.

Professor Muir has undertaken dozens of projects with many government, not-for-profit, corporate, and philanthropic organisations to help improve social impact. Her research, which has attracted more than $11 million in funding, has focused on children, young people, families and communities and spans many social domains (e.g., education, employment and social participation, wellbeing, disability, mental health, financial resilience). She has published widely in policy, sociology, social work, history and public health journals and in publicly accessible and popular media, such as TEDx, The Mandarin, The Guardian and The Conversation.

Professor Muir received the UNSW Staff Excellence Award for Senior Leadership in 2013. She was formerly the Research Director at CSI (2013-2015), the Associate Dean Research for the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (2011-2013) and the Director of the Disability Studies and Research Centre (2009-2010) at UNSW Sydney. She has a PhD in social history, is a graduate of the AICD and, prior to joining academia, worked in the not-for-profit sector.


Mr Chris Shaw, Principal, Hillvue Public School (Tamworth), NSW Department of Education

Chris Shaw

Mr Chris Shaw is Principal of Hillvue Public School, Tamworth. Hillvue Public School is one of 15 Connected Communities across the state and has an enrolment of 300 students, of which 80% identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Mr Shaw maintains a focus on creating environments that maximise student learning, with high expectations for both students and staff and an emphasis on achievement. At Hillvue, he has overseen a number of successes, including significantly improved literacy and numeracy results, increased classroom engagement, increased parent and community engagement and the development of a growth mindset among staff, students and the wider community.

Mr Shaw was invited by Mark Scott, the Secretary of the NSW Department of Education, to meet as one of 13 innovative leaders at a roundtable discussion focusing on a high-expectations culture in 2017. Mr Shaw has received a number of accolades, including the ACEL William Walker Award for Excellence in Educational Leadership in 2015.

Mr Eddie Woo, Head Teacher Mathematics, Cherrybrook Technology High School, NSW Department of Education

Eddie Woo

Mr Eddie Woo is Head Teacher Mathematics at Cherrybrook Technology High School. Prior to joining Cherrybrook Technology High School, he taught for 6 years at James Ruse Agricultural High School and led the development of online learning spaces, pioneering the use of collaborative web tools in classrooms.

Mr Woo is the creator of Wootube, which boasts more than 100,000 subscribers and has attracted more than eight million views worldwide.

Outside his high school classroom, Mr Woo is a volunteer facilitator with the University of Sydney’s Widening Participation and Outreach program and has motivated more than 1,400 students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Mr Woo had a Bachelor of Education (Honours) in Secondary Mathematics and Information Technology. He is an Executive Member at the Mathematical Association of NSW; winner of the NSW Premier’s Prize for Innovation in Mathematics Education in 2015; was awarded the 2017 University of Sydney Young Alumni Award for Outstanding Achievement. He was one of the 12 Australian teachers honoured at the 2017 Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards. In the 2018 Australian of the Year Awards, Mr Woo is recipient of the NSW Local Hero, and the Australian Local Hero Awards.


Mr John Bush, Mr John Bush General Manager, Education, Paul Ramsay Foundation

John Bush

Mr John Bush is currently General Manager, Education, for the Paul Ramsay Foundation, where he leads development and implementation of the giving strategy in education.

Before that, Mr Bush was Associate Director, Education at Social Ventures Australia. In his time at SVA, he was part of the core leadership team at Evidence for Learning, a social enterprise SVA has incubated that is dedicated to brokering, translating and mobilising knowledge between education researchers, policy makers, and school educators. Before moving to Evidence for Learning, Mr Bush led the design and delivery of the 2014 and 2015 SVA Education Dialogues.

Prior to joining SVA, Mr Bush was the Director of Learning and Development at High Resolves, where he led curriculum design, recruitment and training of teachers, and measurement and evaluation. He also led the development of a social action framework to underpin student social action projects, resulting in more than 100 action projects reaching 1.75 million people around Australia over two years.

Mr Bush began his career as a high school English teacher and school leader in Tennessee, and taught in a Catholic systemic school in Sydney.

Mr Bush has written for publications in Australia and abroad and has been spoken at many education gatherings. He has played advisory roles for the UNSW Matraville Education Partnership, the Association of Independent Schools NSW Elevate program, and the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards.

He holds a Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a Bachelor of Science (Highest Honors) from Vanderbilt University.


Ms Leslie Loble, Deputy Secretary, External Affairs and Regulation, NSW Department of Education

Leslie Loble

As Deputy Secretary External Affairs and Regulation, Ms Leslie Loble leads cross-sectoral, state-wide and national developments in education, spanning early childhood education, schooling and higher education. She shapes State policy and leads negotiations with the Commonwealth over education policy and funding, including agreements worth more than $10 billion over four years to New South Wales. She led the NSW development of the Gonski school funding reforms, the introduction of the new State funding arrangements for early childhood education and the development of the Smart and Skilled reforms of the NSW training system. She is a member of 10 major boards and committees and chairs the National Schooling Policy Group on behalf of the Education Ministers and CEOs.

Prior to joining the Department of Education and Communities Executive, Leslie was appointed by President Bill Clinton to several key roles including as Chief of Staff to Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich, and to senior executive positions in the U.S. Department of Labor.

Leslie has a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University.


Ms Iris Nastasi, Executive Principal Leadership and Succession, Sydney Catholic Schools

Iris Nastasi

Iris Nastasi is currently Executive Principal Leadership and Succession at Sydney Catholic Schools (Head People and Culture). Formally, she was principal of Clancy Catholic College (2012-20), a large coeducational secondary school in South West Sydney.

Ms Nastasi is a board member for the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA). Her leadership has been featured in Education Review (February 2016). She has collaborated with AITSL around the The Value of Feedback and been profiled as part of AITSL leadership videos in 2017 Developing a Confident Leadership Team.

Ms Nastasi's leadership has a strong focus on lifelong learning, innovation and critical thinking. She has worked as a teacher, executive leader and principal in NSW for 30 years.