Dr Stephen Codrington established OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE in 2015 as a cutting-edge specialist service to support school boards seeking to govern effectively according to recognised best practice. Since that time he has worked with hundreds of school leaders and board members.
Before establishing this service, Stephen served for 25 years as the Head of five schools in four countries – Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and the United States. During that period, as well as serving on the boards of his own schools, he also worked with many other schools (including as an accreditation officer) through organisations such as the Council of International Schools, United World Colleges, the International Baccalaureate, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest. He has developed strategic plans for schools, helped with board reviews and restructuring, conducted performance appraisals of senior and middle management, and observed boards at their best and at their worst.
As a result of his diverse experiences, Stephen developed a deep appreciation for the fundamental importance of effective governance in schools. His current work reflects his passion for making school environments as supportive as possible for the flourishing of young hearts and minds. He currently serves as the Chair of the board of Djarragun College (Cairns, Australia), Australia’s largest independent majority-Indigenous school.
During his quarter-century of school headships, Stephen served as the Head of schools that are boarding and day schools, national and international, single-sex and co-educational, religious and secular, including all age groups, ranging in size from 256 to 1505. The schools where he served as Head were:
• St Paul’s Grammar School (Sydney, Australia)
• Kristin School (Auckland, New Zealand)
• Prince Alfred College (Adelaide, Australia)
• Li Po Chun United World College (Hong Kong, China)
• The Awty International School (Houston, Texas, USA)
Stephen has been elected as a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators (ACE), he is a former Chairman of the Heads of Independent Co-educational Schools (HICES), former Vice-President of the Association of Executives of Christian Schools (AECS), and a former President of several academic and teaching associations, including the Geographical Society. In 2014, he was appointed an IB Ambassador in recognition of his high standing in international education.
His work in and with schools has included financial oversight, fundraising, advising and guiding boards through challenging times, public speaking, hiring faculty, problem solving, strategic planning, cultural and social adaptability, presentation skills, diplomacy, and – reflecting his own view of the importance of education in forming young lives – passionate advocacy for the power of education to transform our world.
From 2018 to 2022, Stephen worked with Alphacrucis College in the position of Director of School Governance and Leadership Development. In this role, he conducted research, professional development and school reviews through the Centre for the Future of Schooling, a research centre within Alphacrucis College. For the past five years, Stephen has spearheaded a self-funded project to raise the quality of teacher training across Sub-Saharan Africa in partnership with several local education providers.
Stephen’s wider experience in education includes many years of service as a senior IB (International Baccalaureate) examiner, including five years as an IB Deputy Chief Examiner. He is the author of ‘Planet Geography’, the first text written specifically to support IBDP Geography, which is now in its 9th edition as a set of ten books.
Stephen has spoken widely at various conferences and venues on themes such as change management in schools, best practice in education, building authentic internationalism in schools, and building international links in education. Some of Stephen’s most popular presentations include his own personal educational experiences in such diverse locations as North Korea, East Africa, the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, China and Cambodia.
Stephen maintains a personal website at www.stephencodrington.com.
Schools in New South Wales: We are a NESA approved and accredited training provider of courses relating to proper governance in non-government schools. Read about our NESA courses HERE.