Prof. Donna Pendergast – Education Executive & Chair

Professor Donna Pendergast, Dean and Head of the School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University, talks: Hearing others and shaping ideas, being a lifelong learner, growth mindset, collaboration over competition and diving into different worlds.

First and foremost Donna Pendergast is a born teacher, an education leader who is passionate about the possibilities and transformational qualities of learning.

Teachers and education have such a vital role to play in so many ways and I am focused on giving students capabilities to carry through life… education as a field is so crucial to the success of business and social enterprises,” she said.

Following an illustrious career in the education sphere, Donna is now the Dean and Head of the School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University in Queensland, and recently assumed the role of Chair of the Queensland Educational Leadership Institute (QELI) — a non-for-profit organisation which assists teaches and school leaders reach their full potential.

Donna has conducted a number of national research projects of significance including Beyond the Middle, which investigated literacy and numeracy in middle schooling; and Lifelong Learning and Middle Schooling. She has also published several books pertaining to contemporary teacher work, including Teaching the Middle Years, The Millennial Adolescent, Groovy Chicks and Blokey Blokes. Donna has a Bachelor of Applied Science, a Graduate Diploma of Secondary Teaching, a Masters of Education and is a Doctor of Philosophy.

Born in Chinchilla in South West Queensland the second of three children, Donna spent her formative years in Charleville and her parents instilled within her the transformative nature of education. Her mother was one of 10 children and Donna and her siblings were the first in her family to attend university. Inspired by the young teachers who completed their country service in Charleville, Donna knew from a young age she was destined for a life in education.

“Growing up in Charleville there was always young teachers, bringing new ideas all the time, so growing up in a country town is a real asset as a student because you get energetic young teachers and that’s what appealed to me.”


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