Women in School Leadership program

The Women in School Leadership (WISL) program is a blended model of onshore and offshore professional learning for female principals in Victoria and India. Six Victorian and six Indian principals participated in the program between September 2019 and December 2020.

The program supports principals to explore and discuss the theme of ‘Leading schools for social change’, with a particular focus on health and wellbeing. The program aims to develop principals’ intercultural skills, leadership capacity and personal connections with Indian counterparts.

Danielle Stella is the principal of Taylors Hill Primary School and was one of the participating principals in the 2019 WISL program. Danielle was partnered with her peer, Manju Gupta, from Kothari International School in the city of Noida, India. Of her experience in the program, Danielle said ‘My networks have certainly been expanded through the program and not only through the principals in India but actually the other principals here in Victoria. Our paths probably wouldn’t have crossed otherwise!’

The program includes formal professional learning, interactions with leaders across the business, community and education sectors, and an in-country school and homestay experience in Delhi in September 2019. 

During their time together in Delhi, the two principals made connections and expanded their professional networks. Danielle led a presentation to the staff at Kothari International School on a range of topics, including: professional learning teams, student data trackers, collaborative planning, the Victorian Disability Inclusion, and the Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships Program.

Due to COVID-19, in 2020 the program shifted to fully virtual delivery, and unfortunately the principal of Kothari International School was not able to make a reciprocal visit to Victoria. The virtual program included online sessions with guest presenters and tailored coaching workshops for participants.

Despite the challenges of remote learning and lockdowns throughout 2020, the principals continued to develop and strengthen their partnership. In addition to the online professional learning, both principals met virtually to collaborate on topics including staff performance and development, principal health and wellbeing and the Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships Program, and improving school systems and processes. 

While their original ideas to connect students in 2020 didn’t run as planned, the principals worked together to develop a future roadmap for their partnership.

This program is included in Victoria’s India Strategy: Our Shared Future, and is intended to enhance people-to-people links between Victorian and Indian schools, in recognition of the importance of the Victoria-India relationship. This pilot program was been developed in partnership with the Asia Education Foundation and the Australia India Institute at the University of Melbourne.

For more information, visit the Women in School Leadership webpage. 

Find out more

This year, Education Week celebrates the theme ‘Building Connections’. 

It is an opportunity for all primary and secondary schools, higher education, and early childhood services to showcase how they are building connections with the community around them. Education Week will run from 23-29 May.