Karen Spiller OAM, Principal of John Paul College in Brisbane has been awarded honorary membership of the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia, the highest honour the Alliance bestows. The award recognises outstanding women and men who have made a significant contribution to the Alliance and to girls’ education and who have shown general advocacy for women’s rights and equality.
The award was presented by Alliance President, Ros Curtis and Senator the Hon. Penny Wong, at the opening of the Alliance’s Biennial Educators Conference, Fearless Girls Strong Women, in Adelaide on Saturday 5 May 2018.
Ms Spiller’s award nomination stated in part “Karen demonstrates sustained and significant contribution through her professional leadership as an educator. She has done this at the schools she has led and has contributed to independent schools throughout Australia. Karen’s leadership has had state and nation-wide impact in many areas but especially in developing women leaders and in encouraging STEM for girls. Karen has continually demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities throughout her lengthy career in a variety of professional and voluntary contexts.”
Karen has teaching and leadership experience in both girls’ and co-educational Anglican schools for over 30 years and was principal at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School in Brisbane from 2000 to 2017.
Karen is a past National President of the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia (2009–2011); a past chair of the National Board of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools Australia; and past vice-president of the Board of Independent Schools, Queensland.
In 2010 Karen was a finalist at the AIM Management Excellence Awards in the category of Not-for-Profit Manager of the Year (Brisbane).
Also in 2010 Karen was recognised by the Australian Government as a recipient of the National Award for Excellence in School Music Education 2010: Excellence by a School Leader.
In 2010 and 2011 Karen was a finalist in the EOWA Employer of Choice for Women Business Achievement Awards in the category of Leading CEO for the Advancement of Women.
In 2011 Karen was awarded a Churchill Fellowship “to examine strategies for preparing female leaders for the position of Principalship in Australian Schools” and travelled to the United Kingdom and the United States for this study.
In 2013 Karen was awarded Fellow of “The CEO Institute” and appointed a Fellow of Bond University and Principal in Residence.
In 2017 Karen was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) recognising ‘her service to women and to education’.
Karen is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Australian Human Resources Institute, the Australian Council for Educational Leaders and the Australian College of Educators.