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About ASPA

The Australian Secondary Principals’ Association (ASPA) is a professional body that represents the interests of principals, deputy principals and assistant principals from government secondary schools across Australia. ASPA works with the profession to shape a paradigm of leadership and learning in order to create a better, preferred future for all students in Australia’s government secondary schools.

At ASPA, we are committed to ensuring that high quality government secondary education is provided to young people no matter what their geographic, social or personal circumstances are.

Our mission at ASPA is to encourage members to work together to achieve excellence in Principalship for the benefit of young Australians.

Our Story

ASPA has evolved from an Association into a Company Limited by Guarantee. The presidents of each ASPA affiliate have a place on the ASPA Board with additional places allowed under the Constitution to bring the necessary expertise onto the Board.

We enjoy a unique partnership with the National Training Centre for Secondary School Principals (NTCSSP), which operates out of the East China Normal University in Shanghai and we signed an eight year Memorandum of Agreement in 2014 to formalise and continue this partnership.

At ASPA, we are proud of the hard work we have done – both in Australia and overseas – in developing leadership capacity in as many secondary schools as possible. This will continue to be a focus of ours as we move into the future.

We pride ourselves on our commitment to providing high quality, government secondary education to young people no matter what their geographic, social or personal circumstances are.

Our Board Members

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Peter Mader

Board Chair – B.Ed. (Secondary)

Peter has been a director on the ASPA Board since 2015 and assumed the chairperson role at the beginning of 2022. He is passionate about strong governance and ensuring boards play their role in achieving the objectives of organisations.​

Peter is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Flinders University where he is completing his thesis, “Principal Associations: an agonistic struggle over public educations policy 1995-2020”. He also operates as a leadership consultant – The Principal’s Craft – supporting principals, deputy principals and executive teams to be the best they can possibly be.

From 2015 – 2021, Peter was the President of the South Australian Secondary Principals’ Association (SASPA).  He has been a secondary principal in Whyalla at Stuart High School (2001), and at two large Adelaide suburban schools, Salisbury East High School (2002-2006) and Hamilton Secondary College (2008 – 2014).

Peter’s educational interests include futures focused leadership, curriculum innovation, school improvement and accountability, and principals’ voice in how education policy is formed, settled and enacted.

Andrew Pierpoint

President (Executive Director) -​ B.Sc, Dip.Ed, FACEL

Andrew Pierpoint is President of the Australian Secondary Principals’ Association – the peak body for School Leaders across Australia. He previously was President of the Queensland Secondary Principals’ Association for four (4) years.

Andrew has had extensive experience, over 35 years, in High Schools as a science teacher, Head of Department Science, Deputy Principal and Principal as well as having several system positions in the support of Principals. Throughout his career, Andrew has worked in complex rural and remote communities through to large regional and metropolitan schools. He has led communities and reference groups at district, regional, state and national levels.

Andrew’s special interests are the provision of professional learning for school leaders, Principal Health and Wellbeing and is highly active in school sport.

Andrew has demonstrated a passion for State education in Queensland for many years and possess an excellent understanding of the Principalship from first hand experience. Most importantly, Andrew has a genuine desire to make a real difference for School Leaders in the application of their ever increasing, complex roles in schools and the broader community.

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Melissa Gillett

President, Western Australian Secondary School Executives Association
B. Psych (UWA), Grad Dip Ed (UWA), Post Grad Cert Public Sector Management (Monash)

Melissa Gillett is President of the Western Australian Secondary School Executives Association (WASSEA); representing WA public secondary school principals, deputy principals and aspirant school leaders. 

Melissa has over 30 years of experience in Education. Her educational journey differs from most as she was initially employed as a School Psychologist rather than a classroom teacher. Melissa sees this difference as a strength as she relies on the expertise of her teaching staff to lead school improvement. In her most recent principalship at John Forrest Secondary College (Years 7 – 12), this approach led the College to achieve the first “exceptional performance” Public School Review of any public school in WA.


Melissa has also undertaken system leadership roles in HR and strategic policy development and implementation. Most recently she was a Collegiate Principal; providing guidance, support and coaching to principals to achieve school improvement whilst enhancing connectedness across the WA education system. Along with enhancing principal health and wellbeing, Melissa believes the voice of the principal to be critical in system policy development as well as strategic reform.

Melissa is passionate about the needs of low socio-economic kids. She maintains a commitment to ensuring all schools receive resourcing targeting the actual needs of students, rather than via broad simplistic formulae; as this will enable principals to effect real change and close the massive educational gaps that currently exist.

Melissa’s other great passion is sport – primarily the mighty West Coast Eagles in the AFL and closely followed by state/national women’s cricket teams and the Australian Wallabies.

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Jayne Heath

SASPA Chief Executive

Jayne brings to the role of SASPA Chief Executive some 43 years of experience in South Australian public schools, of which 25 were in senior leadership roles. 

Jayne has been a member of the SASPA Board for more than 10 years and, for much of this time, has been the Convenor of SASPA’s Professional Learning Strategic and Conference Planning Groups. 
She has a Masters of Education (Professional Learning) and has exhibited a dedication and passion for high quality public education throughout her professional life. Jayne is an advocate for policy initiatives that better address issues of equity in education.

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Mat Grining

Tasmanian Principals’ Association

Mat Grining was elected as President of the Tasmanian Principals Association, commencing the position in January of 2023, following 7 years on the TPA state executive as a secondary school representative.

Mat has taught from kinder through to year ten in public education across 20 years in north western Tasmania. His leadership experiences in Tasmanian education include time in curriculum and assessment support, and substantive principalships in primary and K-12 dual campus schools during times of school amalgamations and major infrastructure projects.

During the principalship, Mat has represented and advocated for his colleagues through principal advisory groups and curriculum working groups with state and federal departments. 
Given Tasmania’s unique geography, Mat has a particular interest in ensuring that irrespective of the context of schools around the state, that all school leaders feel connected and supported through collegial networks like the TPA. Other professional interests include growing the capacity of our aspiring leaders, contemporary educational design, continuing to prioritise the wellbeing of our school leaders and raising the profile of the principalship across the broader community by capitalising on school and community partnerships.

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Robyn Thorpe

Vice President of the Northern Territory Principals’ Association

Robyn is Vice President of the Northern Territory Principals’ Association, a cross sectoral school leader’s professional association for all schools in the Northern Territory. She has been an executive member of the Northern Territory Principals’ Association for the past 4 years.

Robyn has worked in several urban and rural/remote schools in the Northern Territory for the past 25 years. She has been a teacher, senior teacher, assistant principal and principal in 8 schools in the Top End across the stages of schooling. Robyn was the first principal in Australia to be recognised through the national Principal Certification process and holds Certified Practicing Principal status. She currently sits on the CPP Board. Throughout her career, Robyn has worked actively across professional networks and organisations to build relationships with others which builds capacity of teachers, leaders and systems, nationally and internationally. As a leader she is committed to building strong networks of educators with a focus on system improvement and innovation to achieve better outcomes for all students in an ever-changing world. 

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Andy Mison

Andy Mison is Co-President of the ACT Principals’ Association

Andy Mison is Co-President of the ACT Principals’ Association and a currently practising principal. He has experience as an educator in a range of settings over three decades in NSW, The Northern Territory and the ACT. He has been a high school music teacher, executive teacher, deputy principal, and principal of three schools, as well as holding various system leadership roles including a period as a Director of School Improvement.

Andy has a background in the performing arts and has led arts curriculum initiatives at state and federal levels, large scale combined-school programs at the system level in the NT, and established performing arts programs supporting Indigenous students including his establishment of the long-running VAMPtv program in 2011. 

Andy is passionate about learning and wellbeing for all students and educators and a strong public education system. He is committed to advocating for colleagues and positioning the principals’ voice at the centre of education policy in Australia.

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Mark Breckenridge

President, Queensland Secondary Principals’ Association -​ B.Ed, Dip. Teaching

Mark Breckenridge is President of the Queensland Secondary Principals’ Association taking up that position in January 2018.


Mark has more than thirty years of experience as Principal across a diverse range of schools from small one-teacher schools, P-10 rural through to regional and metropolitan high schools with large student enrolments.


During this wide-ranging career Mark has developed an appreciation for the complexities inherent in all schools, regardless of location or size. School leaders are the critical component in school success; addressing issues of complexity, building and sustaining relationships that help enable a culture of continuous improvement. As a Principal Mark sought to ensure that his schools were a place where community matters. He believes strongly in the value of partnerships across the community-with families, business and industry and the wider community. 


From his earliest years as a Principal Mark has actively engaged in building professional and collegial networks with his fellow school leaders. These networks have been an important element in Mark’s leadership journey and are a central focus of his work now as QSPA President.

Jodie Chapman

Executive Officer, to President Andrew Pierpoint Australian Secondary Principals Association

Prior to the role of Executive Officer to the ASPA President, Jodie was for five years, the Personal Assistant to the Executive Principal, Ferny Grove State High School.
Previous to her experience working in schools, Jodie worked at the State Library of Queensland as Executive Officer to the Director Regional Access and Public Libraries and the Director, Engagement and Partnerships. These roles have provided Jodie with a skill set commensurate with her current role.

Jodie has a passion for school sport especially AFL.

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