"It is the complexity in a multicultural, multifaceted world that makes that world of education so wonderful."
There are few educational leaders with the breadth of experience that Gill Kelly has developed in her career leading a diverse – and ever-growing – list of schools in very special circumstances.
Indeed, it is the challenge of complexity - embracing it, not fighting it - that is right at the heart of Gill’s approach to education.
We first met Gill when she was a deputy in a rural secondary school going through the BSF process and were thoroughly impressed by her approach to using a new school building to transform the nature of teaching and learning. From there she took on the complex challenge of leading an inner-city school with children from 64 countries speaking 44 different languages.
For her next challenge, she worked with Associate Dave Whitaker as an Executive Principal of a PRU that was in the process of being relaunched and improved. This was followed by being headhunted to be the head of a state boarding school (yes, they do exist) to lead a major school improvement push.
At the heart of Gill’s work you will find words like culture, optimism, determination and even love. It is through these values that Gill finds a way to help a school find the best in itself and move out of the precarious state in which it has ended up.
Yes, Ofsted like what she does when she is working with schools to help turn them around, but that’s not the point. It’s about an approach that seeks to create a new sense of teamwork, one that brings out the best in all staff and children in a way that matches high expectations with care, compassion, understanding and patience.
Excellent presentation, engaging speaker, sympathy and empathy, giving responsibility for emotion back to staff. Need to pay more attention to possibilities
The Heads commented on the hope and warmth of your message and how you had made them think – just what I had hoped! Thank you for being so inspiring!
Thank you so much for working with us this afternoon. Simply having the time to think as a team was worthwhile and something I know we need to do more often
I think Gill’s presentation skills were brilliant. Her sense of humour was great and she managed to keep us all engaged the entire day, even after lunch
Everyone in teaching leaders should hear Gill
It was brilliant, the staff are all buzzing to day after a great day yesterday, thank you so much!
While her first book for the Independent Thinking Press, Where Will I Do My Pineapples?, was the honest account of the trials and tribulations of using the new school build to turn around the nature of teaching and learning, her next one, due in 2019, is a global examination of what it takes to be a school leader in the most extreme of circumstances.
On top of her work in the UK in such a rich variety of settings, she also has a growing international reputation in the Middle East and Asia and is also in demand in education and business for her powerful coaching work.
All of which adds up to why we feel Gill has something to say about the human - and humane - side of leadership that school leaders want to hear, whatever and wherever the school they lead.
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