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Rosemary Conn to depart as Schools Plus CEO

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After almost a decade of thoughtful and dedicated service, the founding CEO of Schools Plus, Rosemary Conn, has resigned.  

Schools Plus Chairman, Angus James, said under Rosemary’s leadership, Schools Plus has grown from a simple concept, proposed by the first Gonski Review into Education, into a leading investor in school communities that gives children and young people opportunities they rightly deserve.  

“Schools Plus was founded by a group of well-known not-for-profit organisations led by Michael Traill to close the education gap caused by disadvantage.” 

Rosemary has been dedicated to driving funding for and mobilising educational initiatives for children and young people from less advantaged backgrounds over the last nine years. 

“We are most grateful for Rosemary’s incredible leadership and that it has resulted in transformative change for around half a million children and young people who have less advantaged backgrounds, and 40,000 teachers who work in these communities across Australia,” James added.  

Some of Schools Plus’ achievements under Rosemary’s leadership over the past nine years have included: 

  • More than $60 million raised  
  • Support for 1500 school communities, benefiting 500,000 children and young people and 40,000 teachers 
  • Established the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards, acknowledging over 72 world-class school leaders 
  • Significant philanthropic partnerships over time including the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation, one of Schools Plus earliest donors through to last week’s announcement of $3 million for investment in STEM and technology from Google  
  • Established the Pioneers in Philanthropy – a group of leaders committed to enabling equity in educational opportunities for children. 

 “We were delighted that Rosemary’s leadership was recognised as a finalist in The CEO Magazine Awards last year and also being named as one of AFR’s 100, Women of Influence in 2019,” said James.  

David Gonski AC, who was instrumental in the foundation of Schools Plus in 2013 and is Chair of Schools Plus Pioneers’ group said Rosemary’s legacy at Schools Plus has been to support hundreds of teachers and school communities to implement high-quality programs to help close the education gap for hundreds and thousands of students across Australia.

“We have been truly inspired by her passion and dedication to furthering this cause at Schools Plus.” 

Rosemary will continue as CEO until 15 September. 

“We will soon appoint a recruiter to conduct a comprehensive search to identify a new CEO who will possess the necessary expertise, vision, and values to lead Schools Plus into the future,” said James.  

“On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Rosemary for her enormous contribution to Schools Plus and wish Rosemary all the very best in her next leadership role.” 

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.


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