"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.
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!
It's incredibly rare to hear a speaker coming from heart and humanity but in the real world. I wanted to congratulate you on keeping to this and strengthening it over a long career. Major achievement
You are a natural, you inspired me
As a community governor with 40 years experience, I loved what you said about the 'third entity'
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.
- Gill has been with Independent Thinking since 2011
- You'll find her in our Leadership and Well-Being topic areas
- You can watch Gill in conversation with Andy Vass, Jackie Beere and Ian Gilbert in 2020 here
- You might also want to consider Dave Whitaker or Jackie Beere
- Ask us about Gill's prices and current availability and for details on how to save money when you book, click here.
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