2023 — 4 speeches
Prof. Chris Sarra
Chris is an inspiring and passionate Australian educationalist of Italian and Aboriginal heritage and the founder and Chair of the Stronger Smarter Institute. Growing up in Bundaberg, Queensland, as the youngest of 10 children, Chris experienced first-hand many of the educational issues faced by Indigenous students.
In 1998, Chris became the first Aboriginal Principal of Cherbourg State School in south-east Queensland, where his leadership significantly improved the educational outcomes of its students. He spoke movingly of that experience at the 2005 Communities in Control conference.
That same year, Chris finished up his stint as principal of Cherbourg School, and in 2006, with the support of the Queensland Government, he established the Indigenous Education Leadership Institute, the forerunner to what's now known as the Stronger Smarter Institute.
Chris has a Diploma of Teaching, a Bachelor of Education, and a Master of Education. He completed his PhD in Psychology with his thesis Strong and Smart - towards a pedagogy for emancipation, which was developed into a book and published in 2011. His autobiography was published in 2012.
In 2004, Chris was named Queenslander of the Year, and in 2010 he was Queensland's nominee for Australian of the Year. In February 2017 he was announced as a member of the Federal Government's revamped Indigenous Advisory Council.