Selection Panel

Our selection panel includes some of Australia's most respected business, education and philanthropic leaders. To find out more about them, view the profiles below.

Malcolm Elliott

Malcolm Elliott is President of the Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA) which represents over 7,000 principals across Australia from Government, Catholic and Independent primary schools.

Malcolm’s role with APPA sees him contributing on behalf of principal colleagues to the national school education agenda in discussions with government, education bodies and tertiary institutions.

Over his 40+ year career Malcolm has taught from Kindergarten to Year 10 in rural and urban settings; been principal of two high schools; and held the position of Coordinating Principal in the Glenorchy Cluster of Schools (10 primary and 3 high schools) in Tasmania. He has a particular interest in assessment of, and for, learning and its relationship to effective teaching strategies.

Nick Fairfax

Nick Fairfax is the Managing Director and Co-CIO of Marinya Capital, which runs the family office investments and affairs of the John B Fairfax family. Prior to this he worked in accounting and the music industry.

Nick has held numerous private and public company directorships including Rural Press Limited and Fairfax Media Limited, and is currently a Director of the Jibb Foundation and Deputy Chairman of the Sydney Film Festival. He holds a Bachelor of Economics from Sydney University and is a Chartered Accountant.

Nick is a representative of the Pioneers in Philanthropy – a group of Australia’s most distinguished business leaders and philanthropists who have come together to support disadvantaged schools and the teachers who work in them.

Alex Gordon

Alex Gordon is the Deputy Secretary for the Schools Group in the Commonwealth Department of Education, Skills and Employment. Since joining the Department in 2010, Alex has held a number of senior leadership roles within the Department driving major reforms in school funding, data collection and analytics, national curriculum and assessment, quality teaching and preschool.

Alex has worked across a range of public policy issues within Government, community organisations and the private sector which has included working on issues of social policy, energy and climate change, water, infrastructure and regional development.

Alex holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Sydney and a Master of Science from the University of Oxford.

Mark Grant

Mark Grant joined the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) as CEO in April 2019, bringing a significant breadth and depth of operational and strategic experience in Education to the role.

Prior to joining AITSL, Mark held the position of Executive Director, Leadership and High Performance at the Department of Education, NSW. Mark combines this executive experience with a background in schools as a teacher and leader. During his tenure as principal at three NSW schools, Mark drove improvement initiatives to benefit student growth and achievement.

Most recently, Mark led complex, integrated strategic work at the system level. This included school improvement planning; teacher quality, induction, professional development and leadership support for all school-based staff; and the provision of needs-based funding budgets to schools.

Chantel Mirzai

Chantel Mirzai was a Commonwealth Bank Teaching Award recipient in 2019 and is a representative of the Teaching Fellows alumni.

Chantel is Deputy Principal Instructional Leader at Auburn North Public School, a western Sydney school where most of the primary students have language backgrounds other than English, including many who have been refugees. Chantel is part of the leadership team which has transformed the school to one of NSW’s most outstanding performers through inspiring a culture of academic success whilst supporting the wellbeing of students.

Chantel is passionate about equity and the importance of quality teaching in helping to close the education gap.

Loretta Wholley

Loretta Wholley is the President of the Catholic Secondary Principals Association (CaSPA). She is also a Director for the ACT on CaSPA and a Director on the Catholic Education, Commission Canberra Goulburn. Loretta was an ACT 2020 Telstra Public Sector & Academia Award finalist.

Loretta has presented at topics ranging from the mental health and wellbeing of adolescents, healthy eating canteens to highly accomplished and lead teachers.

Loretta has achieved two Master's degrees - in Religious Education and in Educational Leadership. She has been teaching for 28 years in Perth and Canberra.

A Representative of The Commonwealth Bank