Meet our board
The Australian Education Research Organisation (AERO) is a ministerial-owned company. An independent Board has been appointed and will govern AERO following the company’s incorporation in early 2021.
Board members include:
- Chair, Dr Lisa O’Brien, Chief Executive Officer, The Smith Family
- Deputy Chair, Emeritus Professor Colleen Hayward AM
- Sir Kevan Collins, Former Founding CEO of England’s Education Endowment Fund
- Ms Judith Fahey, Principal, Hellyer College
- Ms Kerri Jones, Executive Principal, Meridan State College
- Dr Anne Kennedy, non-executive Director of The Front Project
- Ms Leslie Loble, Former Deputy Secretary in NSW Department of Education
- Mr Roger Massy-Greene AM, Director, OneVentures and Eureka Capital Partners.
Dr Lisa O’Brien, Chair
Dr O’Brien has worked in leadership roles across the public, not-for-profit and commercial sectors. She is a non-executive director of Bupa, Australia and New Zealand, a Council Member of the University of Technology Sydney and a member of Chief Executive Women. In 2021, Lisa stepped down after 10 years as Chief Executive Officer of The Smith Family. During that time, she has led significant growth in both the reach and the effectiveness of The Smith Family’s education-oriented programs to support more disadvantaged children and young people. A Medical Practitioner registered in New South Wales and a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators, Lisa also holds a Masters of Business Administration, a Masters of Human Resource Management and Coaching and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Emeritus Professor Colleen Hayward AM, Deputy chair
Colleen Hayward is a senior Noongar woman with extensive family links throughout the south-west of Western Australia. For more than 35 years, Colleen has provided significant input to policies and programs on a wide range of issues, reflecting the needs of minority groups at community, state and national levels. Among her many achievements, she has been recognised for her long-standing work for and on behalf of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia by winning the 2008 National NAIDOC Aboriginal Person of the Year Award. Colleen is also an inductee into the WA Department of Education’s Hall of Fame for Achievement in Aboriginal Education. In 2012, she was recognised as a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia, and 2015 saw Colleen awarded one of Murdoch University’s Distinguished Alumni for her work in the areas of Equity and Social Justice.
Professor Sir Kevan Collins
Kevan has a long career in education and public service. After stepping down from full time work as the Chief Executive at the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), he now supports a range of UK and international child and youth focused organisations. Prior to joining the EEF in 2011 as its first CEO he was Chief Executive and Director of Children’s Services in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. The EEF is a grant-making education charity dedicated to challenging educational disadvantage, sharing evidence and finding out what works in education. The EEF supports work in more than half of England’s schools and increasingly operates globally supporting work in Australia, Latin America, South Africa and Europe.
Kevan started his career teaching in east London. He went on to lead schools in Yorkshire and London and became the National Director of the Primary National Strategy in 2002. Kevan has gained international experience working in Mozambique, supporting the development of a national literacy initiative in the USA and is a Board member at Goodstart, Australia’s largest early learning provider. Kevan chairs the Youth Endowment Fund managing a £300 million pound UK Home Office fund generating and mobilising the evidence around what works to reduce youth crime and violence. Kevan completed his doctorate in 2001 and is a visiting professor at the University College London Institute of Education. He was knighted for his services to education in 2015.
Judy Fahey is a principal with 21 years’ experience. She has led three schools in Tasmania’s North West and demonstrated a consistent commitment to evidence-based school improvement which has resulted in greatly improved student outcomes and enhanced staff culture. Ms Fahey has previously led Ulverstone Secondary College and Burnie High School and is the current principal of Hellyer College. All serve a geographically dispersed and socially and economically disadvantaged region of Tasmania. Ms Fahey believes that education is the greatest gift that a fair and equitable adult community can bestow upon its youth. She is a proud advocate for public education.
Ms Fahey has led school communities to adopt research and inquiry-based strategies to support student engagement, wellbeing and learning. She has consistently demonstrated that she is able to create a culture that embraces diversity and allows all learners to develop aspiration, hope and the skills required to enjoy productive lives. Ms Fahey is recognised as an educational and community leader as was a founding member of Burnie’s BIG Committee, established in 2014. This organisation is a coalition of industry and educational leaders focussed on raising community aspiration as it relates to educational attainment.
In 2015, in recognition of her educational leadership Ms Fahey was awarded a Hardie Scholarship, which allowed her to complete a residential at Harvard University. The focus of this study was the interplay of educational vision, strategy and organisational culture. In 2017, Ms Fahey was selected to undertake the ANZOG Senior Executive Development Program. Ms Fahey is a longstanding member and former office holder of the Tasmanian Principal Association.
As a lifelong learner and passionate educator, Kerri Jones has had the privilege of working with students, teachers and leaders across the state for 30 years. She is currently the Executive Principal at Meridan State College, a high performing P–12 college on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. During her career, Kerri has been a teacher, Deputy Principal and Principal in a variety of schools and has also had the opportunity to share her expertise and love of learning with Principals and their leadership teams in her role as Assistant Regional Director. Kerri has worked with the Department of Education, State Schooling team on a number of key initiatives including the Lifting our Top Performing Students state wide Inquiry and has reshaped the state-wide Principal Induction program to ensure that all new Principals have the knowledge and skills to ensure that every student in Queensland has the opportunity to be successful.
Dr Anne Kennedy
Anne Kennedy is an experienced and respected consultant in early childhood education. Anne’s consultancy work follows extensive experience as an early childhood teacher and academic working in teacher education programs in Australia, Sweden, Singapore and the USA. Anne is a Fellow of the University of Melbourne, Graduate School of Education. In 2012 she received the Barbara Creaser Memorial award from Early Childhood Australia for her valued contribution to the field of early childhood. Anne is a non-executive Director of The Front Project and a member of the Victorian Children’s Council.
As an active researcher, Anne is a member of the Early Years Education Research Project team, which has achieved remarkable outcomes for young children living with significant social disadvantages and risk factors through a high quality intensive early education and care program. The project is progressing to the replication phase. Anne’s involvement in this research project has confirmed her belief in the importance of robust evidence to support policy and practice reforms that can improve children’s outcomes and life trajectories.
Leslie served as deputy secretary in NSW Education for 20 years, leading strategy, reform and innovative delivery across schooling, early childhood and tertiary education. She established the influential Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation, Australia’s first dedicated hub of education data, evidence and evaluation, and the award-winning Centre for Learning Innovation and Catalyst Lab. At the national level, Leslie was long-term chair of the Schools Policy Group, which supports the education Ministerial Council in funding, curriculum, assessment, teaching quality and other central policy reforms. She was awarded the Australian Financial Review/Westpac Top 100 Women of Influence for her impact on Australian public affairs and named one of Australia’s top 50 school education innovators. With degrees from Harvard University and Cornell University, she currently is a Fellow with the Centre for Policy Development, co-chairing the council on early childhood development, and a UNSW Gonski Institute for Education advisory board member.
Roger Massy-Greene AM
Roger is the principal shareholder and Chair of Eureka Capital Partners, a private investment company, and Chair of Illawarra Coke Company, a related industrial land rehabilitation and development concern. He is also a director of OneVentures Pty Ltd, a technology venture capital firm. Roger also serves as Chair of Eureka Benevolent Foundation, a family foundation focused on overcoming socio-economic disadvantage. He is a director in the USA and Australia of The Hunger Project, an NGO that provides sustainable solutions for hunger and poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America.
Roger previously served as the Chair of Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy and Essential Energy, having been appointed by the NSW government to oversee reform of the NSW electricity distribution sector. He co-founded the ASX 200 company Excel Coal Limited and its predecessor Resource Finance Corporation Ltd and served as Chair of Excel Coal until its acquisition by Peabody Energy. Roger served as a member of the Cranbrook School Council for 15 years, retiring as President of Council in September 2020.