NT principals recognised at the 2017 John Laing Awards

Four school leaders from the Northern Territory have been officially recognised for their dedication to education and professional learning in the annual John Laing Awards for Professional Development, managed by Principals Australia Institute.

Julie Perry (Howard Springs Primary School), Carolyn Edwards (Henbury School), Tim Morgan (Karama School), and Sue Healy (Palmerston Senior College) had their commitment to education and consistent demonstration of outstanding school leadership recognised at a special presentation in Darwin on October 20.  

Each of the recipients is an outstanding school leader and has made substantial contributions to education in NT through strategic senior leadership roles over a considerable time.  They have been responsible for working with other senior educators to build leaders’ capacity.

The John Laing Awards acknowledge principals in every state and territory who demonstrate outstanding leadership in providing professional learning in government, Catholic and independent schools. They celebrate the contribution principals make to support the professional learning and development of teachers and other school leaders.

Set up in 2004, the Awards honour John Laing, a former Tasmanian school principal who worked for PAI (the then Australian Principals Association Professional Development Council). He was the motivating force behind the innovative initiative in the early 1990s to bring principals together for national professional learning projects and programs to support their role as school leaders.

A brief bio of each NT recipient follows.

Julie Perry (Howard Springs Primary School

Julie began her teaching career in 1977 in Wyalkatchem, a small town in the wheat belt of Western Australia.  She is an experienced educator who has worked in a wide range of school settings throughout her career in both urban and remote regions of WA and the NT. She has a strong belief in the ‘Principal Principle’ and the need to lead by example. 

Julie is able to work with educators from diverse backgrounds, building teams and a collegial approach to developing whole school approaches. She values the contribution of all staff and parents in the educational process and ensures that there are opportunities for professional learning for everyone. She is unassuming in her manner and quietly goes about scaffolding learning for staff, ensuring they have quality professional learning to build their pedagogical knowledge and practices. 

She is an active member of several professional associations and attends professional learning with her staff to develop common understandings and to provide a base for professional dialogue. 

The development of a strong professional learning community which embraces challenge, interrogates student data and teacher performance has been a very strategic process instigated by Julie at Howard Springs Primary School.

Carolyn Edwards (Henbury School

Carolyn undertook her primary, secondary and tertiary education in the NT and has been principal of Henbury School, Darwin for the past eight years.  Henbury School is a comprehensive specialist high school for students with mild to severe intellectual and/or multiple disabilities. 

Her vision to see every student in her school excel has turned Henbury School into a model school known for promoting and upholding the dignity and rights of students with disabilities to a quality education that prepares them for their future beyond school.  Carolyn has established a professional learning community at her school that focuses on continuous improvement of practice, professionalism and learning. She is an excellent mentor and coach and has inspired many staff members to grow their leadership capabilities and move into Senior Teacher, Assistant Principal and Principal roles. Several of her staff have been recognised by prestigious Territory and national awards. Carolyn leads by example and demonstrates commitment to her own professional development by engaging in leadership programs and further educational courses.

Carolyn is a leader in education in NT and a former winner of the Principal of Year as well as the Teaching in the Territory Excellence Award in 2013 for the Darwin Region. She has also been recognized for her innovative management of Henbury School, overseeing the building of the new main school campus and orchestrating the immensely successful Henbury Corporate Annual Christmas Corporate Luncheon fundraising event.  She is also a previous winner of the Telstra Business Women’s Award.   

Tim Morgan (Karama School

Tim Morgan has ten years of experience in a school leadership role and is currently the principal of Karama School.  After being appointed principal in 2014, Tim developed a plan to enhance the physical environment, teaching and learning programs at Karama School as well as the Professional Learning initiatives for staff that underpin the school’s growth across all areas. 

Working in a challenging school within a complex community, Tim has made student and staff wellbeing an absolute priority.  His introduction of the Smiling Mind program has led to a positive change in the behaviour and attitudes of students, which has in turn had a motivating effect on teachers.  

Each staff member at the school has a Professional Development plan and Tim spends time with all teachers to ensure they are progressing and their development needs are being met.  He is an advocate of continuous learning and with his encouragement, Karama School staff have attended and successfully completed courses in a diverse range of subject matter from Reading, Writing and Oral Language to NAPLAN Marking and Assessment, Teacher Wellbeing and Trauma Informed Practice to name but a few.

Sue Healy (Palmerston Senior College)

Sue Healy is an experienced educator who worked in Queensland before taking the role of principal of Casuarina Senior College in 2007, which she guided to become one of the highest performing schools in the region. Sue’s areas of expertise and interest include educational leadership, organisational culture and school improvement.  

Following a stint as General Manager of Curriculum, Teaching and Phases of Learning for the Department of Education, Sue was appointed principal of Palmerston Senior College. She took over the reins at time when a review of the Middle and Senior school was being conducted. This process resulted in Palmerston Senior College being awarded the first independent public school in Palmerston. 

Currently Sue is heading up the merger of Palmerston Senior College and Rosebery Middle School, which will become a second campus of the former. In managing this process, she has cemented her reputation for being an exceptional leader, showing clear vision, strong aspirational goals and a passion or ensuring that teachers are involved in every part of the journey.  













(L-R): NTPA President Sabina Smith, Sue Fisher (representing Carolyn Edwards), Julie Perry, Sue Healy, Judy Morgan (representing Tim Morgan), Education Minister Eva Lawlor MLA, and NT DECS Executive Director Vicki Bayliss