Scroll Top

Expert Facilitators – archive

Simon Dewar

Director of Partnerships – School Culture Partnerships

Since joining Real Schools, Simon’s impact on school improvement and cultural change has been significant.

He has walked alongside a considerable number of diverse school communities and helped them achieve their goals and make their ambitions a reality. His passion and expertise in implementing Restorative Practices, developing the capabilities of middle leaders and building a strong relational culture is profound.

Prior to being part of the Real Schools family, Simon spent over 20 years working in a wide variety of schools across Western Metropolitan Melbourne and in several regional towns across South-West Victoria. In all of these schools, Simon has undertaken a variety of different leadership roles, with the most significant being the 11 years he spent as the Principal of a secondary college in a country town. At the time of his appointment as Principal, Simon led the significant task of merging the two local schools to form one. For the next 10 years, he worked hard to shape the school’s culture, build strong relationships with the entire community and improve the outcomes of all students.

Simon has genuinely ‘been there’ and can empathise with the challenges facing educators and principals across Australia. He also knows the reward and feeling of getting it right.

Simon brings a strong educational background, a sound understanding of human behaviour, genuine care for young people and knowledge of the school setting to the Real Schools Team. He will support your school with the tools and strategies to help them uncover their full potential.

Simon is an extremely passionate, inspiring and dynamic person who partners with schools to empower cultural change and energise their entire school community.

Cassie Kitani

Expert Facilitator – School Culture Partnerships

Cassie has spent 29 years teaching and leading internationally and across the breadth of Australia’s schools.

A Principal of high acclaim, Cassie is a recognised leader within International Schools and the  International Baccalaureate Organisation, a skilled PYP unit developer, a transformer of teaching and learning, an expert in inquiry pedagogy and a fervent advocate for collaborative teams in schools.

Cassie’s experience also includes the thorough implementation of Restorative Practices in schools, driving transitions from punitive models, enhancing community connection and speaking eloquently to the embedding of positive School Cultures.

Cassie completed her Master of Education thesis in Teaching International Mindedness in 2010.

But Cassie doesn’t just talk a thoroughly impressive talk when it comes to great school experiences for all stakeholders. She works directly with teachers and students, tackles the tough topics and leaps the big hurdles.

Cassie is passionate about working with leaders to draw on their expertise and to inspire and connect with teachers.  She believes deeply that building restorative and connected communities can be a powerful force for transforming School Cultures… and lives.

Sheila Bollard

Expert Facilitator – School Culture Partnerships

Sheila has a deep belief that education can empower individuals to develop a love of lifelong learning which enriches the lives of students, not just in the immediate future but for generations to come.

Her work has been recognised through a Primary Principals’ Association leadership fellowship, which included an overseas study tour, and the Sydney South Network award for cultural and pedagogical change.

Known to use a minds-on approach, her foundation for planning is always based on peer-reviewed, evidence-based research. Sheila has partnered with the University of Technology Sydney and Sydney University in leading her schools and has based success on evaluating data.

Sheila is passionate about supporting others, managing cultural change, and inspiring school leaders and teachers. She has a proven track record, that regardless of school history or complexity, every student, teacher and school can thrive and succeed.

Kirsty Lush

Expert Facilitator – School Culture Partnerships

Kirsty is a passionate educator who has spent almost twenty years in field, as a teacher, coach, school principal and university tutor.

Most recently she has worked to support leadership teams and teachers across 25 schools drive improvement while engaging in agile leadership and responsive implementation strategies.

Kirsty knows first- hand the power the school environment and, most importantly, the people in it can have on transforming the lives its students and their families. As a principal for seven years, she worked with all stakeholders to transform the school culture, embed Restorative Practices and connect the school authentically within the community.

As a mentor for new and established school principals, Kirsty has proven success in supporting leaders through various change processes and navigating a range of complex issues that arise in schools.

Kirsty, a past finalist for Principal of the Year in the SA Education Awards, is energised when working with educator teams and loves to see them grow in their expertise and understanding. Working as a critical friend with schools from all sectors is a privilege, and as a life- long learner, Kirsty really enjoys the opportunity to be curious with and learn from others.

Kirsty believes the purpose of schools is to ensure all students flourish and are successful in contributing to the world around them, and she thrives on collaborating with others to achieve this goal.

Brenda Quayle

Expert Facilitator – School Culture Partnerships

Driven by a deep moral purpose and a belief that education is an absolute right for every single young person, Brenda is a committed educator who has served a variety of school communities across a career spanning almost 30 years.

Her deep commitment to equity and excellence has seen her lead schools across western Sydney, working with communities to create learning environments that place students at the centre of their educational journey.

Experienced at all levels of school leadership, Brenda has previously held executive positions with the NSW Deputy Principals Association and ACEL NSW. She has collaborated with colleagues on reference groups for the NSW Secondary Principal’s Council, NOII NSW (Network of Innovation and Inquiry) and the Prevention Education Research Unit (WS Health).

She has a long history of designing and facilitating professional learning opportunities, influencing the development of staff capacity and inspiring colleagues across all stages of their career.

Her approach to collaborative professional practice has seen significant shifts in school culture leading to improved relational strategies and high impact professional learning that directly enhances student engagement and learning outcomes. Her deep belief in restorative practices has enabled her to deeply immerse her school communities in the development of a culture of collective responsibility to support all students in all contexts.

Her commitment to systems leadership has seen her awarded an ACEL NSW Fellowship, recognising her pedigree in designing cultural shifts and change models that support colleagues, parents and young people to dive deeply into problems of practice and to work through the various complexities that fill a school day. She believes that everyone can learn and is committed to supporting school communities to create positive cultures that reflect deep collaboration and support the creation of powerful learning communities.

Candice Brown

Expert Facilitator – School Culture Partnerships

Candice has worked for more than 25 years as a teacher, principal, coach, consultant and university lecturer. She believes a positive school culture will impact student and staff achievements positively.

She considers a hands on approach to be vital and leads with a proactive, visible stance. Providing an environment where everyone belongs and is comfortable to take risks in teaching and learning is key to her success as a school leader.

Most recently she has worked as principal in complex rural environments where she focuses on transforming lives and building identity. She works with stakeholders across the school community to enhance the teaching and learning environment using restorative practices and inclusive approaches. Connection with the local community is really important to her.

Candice believes in providing leadership opportunities and creates an environment where students, teachers and school leaders grow and excel. Her passion for professional learning resulted in her selection to a professional learning assessment panel for DOE where PL providers and programs were assessed against the AITSL standards. She believes that with the right tools and support everyone can succeed.

Paul Blinkhoff

Expert Facilitator – School Culture Partnerships

Paul has been involved in education for over twenty-five years across a variety of primary schools and P-12 Colleges. Throughout this journey, he has held formal leadership positions across four schools, all with very different contexts.

His most recent appointment was as Principal at a large Catholic Primary School in inner-city Brisbane. Under Paul’s guidance, this school was known for their strong community, collaborative culture and ability to engage students in their learning.

So, how did he find his way to School Leadership? After spending four years travelling our great world post high school, Paul brought many worldly experiences before beginning his teaching career. He has always possessed an innate sense of engaging students in their learning while in the classroom, and this hasn’t changed in various settings and roles throughout his career. Whatever the context, his core focus has been to engage students in their learning. This has been done through developing quality relationships, utilising the restorative practices model and continuing to learn and grow himself.

Paul is seen as a welcoming, friendly and caring leader ,who is skilled at connecting a wide variety of people and personalities with a common purpose. He builds high levels of trust and fosters world class engagement in developing collaborative and restorative practices. His success as a leader in schools is reflected not only in the day-to-day management and educational delivery of very busy and high performing schools, but in providing clear and direct long term, aspirational strategic goals while developing a strong sense of a restorative and collaborative culture. He is also passionate about mentoring and coaching the next generation of educational leaders and reinstating teaching as a profession of choice for the younger generation.

His boundless enthusiasm for developing, being a part of and leading positive staff, student and community restorative cultures ensures he is a welcome addition to the Real Schools team.

Marion Walsh-Gay

Expert Facilitator – School Culture Partnerships

For nearly two decades, as a teacher, mentor and principal Marion has led diverse teams across schools in Metropolitan Sydney. She understands and enjoys the complexity of working in organisations that prioritise people.

Her guidance and mentorship has empowered colleagues to become lifelong learners and agents of change within their own classrooms and schools.

By prioritising and establishing relationships as the foundation of learning, Marion creates a culture where individuals feel valued, connected, and motivated to learn and collaborate. Her approach not only enhances academic achievement but also nurtures essential life skills, empathy, and a sense of social responsibility.

Marion is passionate about working with leaders and educators to tap into their shared knowledge and collective wisdom. By fostering a culture of inquiry, she creates environments for educators to ask questions, challenge assumptions, and reflect on practice. She believes that by empowering educators and students to explore, question, and collaborate, learning environments are created where risk taking, innovation and the potential of each individual can thrive.

Marion believes that by fostering restorative and connected communities, schools can inspire learners to be their best for themselves, each other and the world.