Creating an expert teacher career path to improve teaching – Sydney

As the performance of Australian students is falling in international tests in reading, science and especially maths, we are failing to use our best teachers to improve teaching across all schools.

A new Grattan Institute survey of more than 700 teachers and principals finds that top teachers are often given ‘add-on’ coaching roles to their busy schedules, but they get inadequate time, training, or support to help other teachers improve. The roles are very general, failing to get into how to teach subjects well.

In this Grattan Institute/State Library of NSW Forward Thinking event, the panel discussed our latest report on how to create an expert teacher career path, with new dedicated new subject leaders helping to transform school education and boost student performance.


Eddie Woo teaches mathematics at Cherrybrook Technology High School and is the Leader of Mathematics Growth for the NSW Department of Education. Since 2012, he’s uploaded his everyday classroom lessons to his Youtube channel, Wootube, which has more than 800,000 subscribers and almost 50 million views. In 2018, he was named Australia’s Local Hero in the Australian of the Year Awards and listed as one of the Top 10 teachers in the world by the Global Teacher Prize. He is the Education Ambassador for Sydney University, host of the ABC’s children’s series Teenage Boss and the author of Woo’s Wonderful World of Maths.

Tom Alegounarias is past Chair and CEO of NESA, President of the NSW Board of Studies and CEO of the NSW Institute of Teachers. He is former General Manager of Strategic Policy in the Department of Education and member and Executive Officer of various national committees, including the Schools Resourcing Taskforce of the Ministerial Council. Tom has held the positions of Director of Equity; Students At Risk and Disadvantaged Schools Programs in the NSW Department. He has worked nationally and internationally on Professional Teaching Standards and was an inaugural Board member of ACARA. He chairs HatchApp, a not-for-profit assisting new teachers to enter the profession.

Kylie Campbell, is the Director, Strategic Projects at the NSW Department of Education. Since joining the Department of Education in 2016, Kylie has led a number of significant reform initiatives including the implementation of a performance and development framework for 20,000 non-teaching staff in schools and the transition of 45,000 teaching staff into a regulated accreditation system. Prior to the Department, Kylie worked in the private sector and she has an extensive background in the finance industry, having held a range of global and national Human Resource roles at both Macquarie Bank and Commonwealth Bank. Kylie is a registered psychologist, and is a proud public school graduate and mother to 3 children attending public schools, both primary and secondary.


Julie Sonnemann is the School Education Fellow at Grattan Institute. Julie is the co-author of Grattan’s recent report, Top teachers: sharing expertise to improve teaching to be discussed at the event. Julie has significant experience in education policy and system design, and has co-authored several high profile reports on effective teaching, professional learning, equity and funding. She is a trained economist and has experience in government, research and consulting organisations.