Our Board and leadership team

Board of directors

Our Board is made up of education, business and government leaders with decades of high level, diverse leadership experience.

Noel Pearson – Founder and Co-Chair

Noel is an Indigenous Australian, who has spent decades advancing reform on native title, economic development and social policy for his people in Cape York Peninsula. He is Director of Strategy of Cape York Partnership and Co-Chair of Good to Great Schools Australia. Noel intends to devote the next decade of his working life to education reform and is working closely with government and business to form partnerships to advance education opportunities for Australian children.

Elizabeth O’Leary – Senior Managing Director of Macquarie Group and Co-Chair

Elizabeth O’Leary is a Senior Managing Director at Macquarie Group with more than 13 years senior experience in its business in Australia, the UK and Hong Kong. As Head of Agriculture for Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, Elizabeth has been responsible for developing and managing the institutional investment platform, overseeing investment management as a member of the Executive Committee for each of its funds; and as a board director of each operating company in which the funds invest.

Michael Andrew – Former CEO and Chairman of KPMG International

Michael is the former Chairman and CEO of KPMG International. He was actively engaged in shaping the future direction of KPMG’s member firm network, which employs 155,000 professionals in 155 countries. Prior to this, he held top-level roles in KPMG Australia including Deputy Chairman and Managing Partner of KPMG Melbourne. Michael also brings a wealth of knowledge as former board member of Jawun Indigenous Corporate Partnerships, which improves the lives of Indigenous people in communities around Australia.

Richard Smith – Adjunct Professor at Southern Cross University

Professor Richard Smith was Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean at CQ University Australia until his retirement as Emeritus Professor in 2008. He is presently an Adjunct Professor of Education at Southern Cross University. During his career, Richard was President of the Australian Association for Research in Education, editor of the Australian Journal of Education and chaired the Queensland Minister for Education’s ‘Think-tank’ for six years. Richard has a long association with international education, cultural exchanges and collaboration with a number of higher education institutions.

Kim Bannikoff – Education Leader

Kim Bannikoff is the former director of the Queensland Studies Authority (QSA). He began his career in education in 1971 as a teacher in Victorian technical schools and went on to work in TAFE colleges. In 1999, as Assistant Director General at Education Queensland, he led the development of the Queensland Government’s policy blueprint for education in Queensland to take the school system through to 2010. He then spent four years as Director of Schools and CEO of VET in the Victorian Education Department before returning to Queensland to lead the QSA.  Kim currently runs his own consultancy practice.

Tony Denholder – Partner, Ashurst Australia

Tony is the head of Ashurst’s resources practice in Brisbane, specialising in energy and resources, government and native title. He has advised companies in the mining sector for over 15 years including Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton and was recognised as one of Australia’s leading lawyers in the 2009 to 2014 editions of Best Lawyers Australia.

Our leaders

Our leaders have a wealth of collective experience in delivering the Good to Great Schools Australia agenda.

Bernardine Denigan – Chief Executive Officer

Bernardine is the former CEO of Cape York Partnership with a career working with Indigenous peoples, state and federal Governments on education and community development partnerships. She was instrumental in the design of the Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy. Bernardine was the recipient of a Winston Churchill Fellowship to study education reform in the United States and received a scholarship from Harvard Business School in 2011-12. Bernardine leads the organisation with a strong focus on innovation and co-design.

Julie Grantham – Managing Director, Government Relations and Stakeholder Engagement

Julie Grantham has held many positions in the Queensland state education sector from Teacher to Director General. During her tenure, Julie led many wide ranging reforms in education. This included the expansion of early childhood education, the planning of the move of Year 7 into secondary schools and major reforms of TAFE Queensland.

Lyn McKenzie – Education Consultant

Lyn is the former Deputy Director-General of the Queensland Department of Education where she oversaw the implementation of Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy. Lyn is a former teacher, principal and district director.

Michael Roberts – Executive Director of Schools

Michael is an inspirational educational leader and highly regarded in the Queensland education community.

Michael guided Broadbeach State School, to become a leading Queensland academic school. Under his stewardship, dramatic school improvement was achieved through a commitment that every child received the opportunity to succeed and excel both in school and beyond the school gate.

Read more of Michael’s Broadbeach State School story here.

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