Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority

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Board membership

The ACARA Board was announced in May 2009 and held its first meeting on 21–22 May 2009. The ACARA Board has a Chair, Deputy Chair and 11 other members, representing the Australian Government and all education streams (independent, government and Catholic) across states and territories.

Chair, ACARA 

Emeritus Professor Steven Schwartz AM 20150623 Steven Schwartz

Emeritus Professor Steven Schwartz is Chair of the ACARA Board following his appointment by the Federal Education Minister, the Hon. Christopher Pyne MP on 16 June with the approval of the Education Council.
Professor Schwartz has served as vice-chancellor and president of three universities (Macquarie and Murdoch Universities in Australia, and Brunel University in England). He is the executive director of the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Science, and a Director of Teach for Australia and the Australian Scholarship Foundation. Professor Schwartz is also the former National Chairman of the Fulbright Commission. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, a Royal Society Exchange Fellow and a NATO Fellow. 
Emeritus Professor Schwartz is a prize-winning researcher, teacher and author of 13 books. 


Deputy Chair, ACARA

Professor Emeritus Brian Caldwell, PhD 

Brian_Caldwell_75Professor Emeritus Brian Caldwell is the Deputy Chair of ACARA's Board.

Managing Director and Principal Consultant at Educational Transformations and Professor Emeritus and Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne where he served as Dean of Education from 1998 to 2004. He served as Dean of Education at the University of Tasmania from 1989 to 1990. Previously he served as a teacher of mathematics and science in Victoria and Alberta, Canada, and held academic posts at the University of Alberta.

Professor Emeritus Caldwell is a fellow and life member of both the Australian College of Educators (ACE) and the Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL). He is a recipient of the College Medal of ACE and the Gold Medal of ACEL, and has served as President of ACEL and Deputy Chair of the Australian Council for Educational Research. He is Patron of ACEL (Victoria).

Professor Emeritus Caldwell has conducted professional assignments of one kind or another in or for 40 countries over the last three decades. He has a continuing interest in providing schools with a higher level of authority and responsibility, with five books on the topic since 1988, the latest being 'The Self-transforming School' published in 2013. He is currently participating in a seven-country international research project on the theme. His other general interests lie in the fields of governance, especially federal–state relations; leadership; innovation; futures and finance.

Board membership

New Board members:

  • Dr David Howes, Assistant Deputy Secretary, Schools, Victorian Department of Education and Training

  • Ms Jayne Johnston, Chief Education Officer, South Australian Department of Education and Child Development

  • Mr Paul Hewitt, Executive Director, NSW Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards
  • Dr Tim McDonald, Executive Director, Catholic Education, Western Australia

Continuing Board members:

  • Ms Liz Banks, Deputy Director-General, Tasmanian Department of Education
  • Ms Susan Bowden, Deputy Chief Executive, Northern Territory Department of Education
  • Emeritus Professor Patrick Garnett, Chair, School Curriculum and Standard Authority, Western Australia
  • Ms Valerie Gould, Executive Director of the Association of Independent Schools, Western Australia
  • Mr Michael Hewitson AM, retired foundation principal of Trinity College, Gawler, now Councillor for Unley (South Australia) and author
  • Mr Stephen Gniel, Deputy Director-General, Education Strategy, Australian Capital Territory Directorate of Education and Training
  • Ms Patrea Walton, Deputy Director-General, Queensland Department of Education and Training.

Recent former Board members

Former Chair, Professor Barry McGaw AO, PhDBarry McGaw

Professor Barry McGaw was Chair of ACARA's Board from May 2009 - May 2015.

Prior to returning to Australia at the end of 2005, Professor McGaw was Director for Education at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

He had earlier been Executive Director of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and Professor of Education at Murdoch University. He was originally a science teacher in Queensland secondary schools. He holds BSc, DipEd and Bed (Hons) degrees from the University of Queensland, and EdM and PhD from the University of Illinois.

Professor McGaw is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, the Australian Psychological Society, the Australian College of Educators and the International Academy of Education.

Former Board members

Mr Tom Alegounarias, President of the New South Wales Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards

Mr John Firth, Chief Executive Officer, Victoria Curriculum and Assessment Authority

Ms Helen Wildash, former Executive Director, Teaching and Learning Services, South Australian Department for Education and Child Development

Dr Paul Sharkey, Director of Catholic Identity and Educational Services at the Catholic Education Office, Melbourne

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