ECA’s Leadership Program for Victorian Educational Leaders

ECA’s Leadership Program, revised in 2021, is a renowned program for educational leaders and teachers in leadership roles. Through this tailored Victorian cohort, 220 Victorian Educational Leaders will delve deep into leadership theory and practice aligned to the VEYLDF, through participation in a dynamic and collaborative community of practice. Here you will explore your own practice in line with evidence-based leadership capabilities, and be supported to build skills in leading yourself, leading with and for others, and leading within and beyond your organisation.

You will be introduced to the program by Dr Anne Kennedy, participate in live webinars with leading experts, and connect with other Victorian Educational Leaders to bring research and contemporary knowledge into practice.
Over the course of six months, participants will complete a series of self-paced online modules and webinars, while also being invited to connect live with Australia’s leaders in early childhood education, including Dr Leanne Gibbs, Professor Susanne Garvis and Professor Manjula Waniganayake. Participants will also receive a hardcopy Leadership Program guide and have access to a collection of reference and contemporary research materials.

Enrolment in this program is limited and by application only. Victorian Educational Leaders interested in this opportunity will need to complete an application form outlining their leadership experience and their learning goals and have the support of their service to participate in the six-month program. Please note that due to limited places in this program eligible applications will also be reviewed to ensure Educational Leaders from across Victoria and from a range of service types are included.

The Department of Education and Training (Vic) will provide a contribution, to eligible services, towards hiring an early childhood professional to backfill a teaching staff member participating in this professional learning for up to three days. Further information on applying for this contribution will be provided on completion of the Leadership Program.

*An anonymised review process will be used to ensure educators from across Victoria and from a range of service types have access to this professional learning.


To apply for ECA’s Leadership Program for Victorian Educational Leaders click here.

The opportunity to apply for this program has been extended for a limited time only and will close at midnight, Sunday 27 June 2021.

Live webinar dates

Access to the ECA self-paced Leadership Program from June 2021 – December 2021.

Webinars Dates Time
Introductory webinar: Dr Anne Kennedy Thursday 29 July 2021 3.30 pm–4.30 pm AEST
Webinar 2: Dr Anne Kennedy, Professor Susanne Garvis,
Professor Manjula Waniganayake and Dr Leanne Gibbs
15 September 2021
3.30 pm–4.30 pm AEST
Webinar 3: Educators (TBC) Wednesday
13 October 2021
3.30 pm–4.30 pm AEDT


This program will be hosted by Dr Anne Kennedy, with presentations from key leaders in our sector and live sessions from Dr Leanne Gibbs, Professor Susanne Garvis and Professor Manjula Waniganayake.

Dr Anne Kennedy

Dr Anne Kennedy works as a consultant and researcher in early childhood. Anne is fellow of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne, a member of the Victorian Children’s Council and a Board member of The Front Project and The Australian Education Research Organisation (AERO). Anne was involved with the revision of ECA’s Code of Ethics in 2006 and 2016 and has worked collaboratively with ECA in the development of a range of resources for early childhood professionals.




Dr Leanne Gibbs

Dr Leanne Gibbs has worked in the early childhood education (ECE) and community sector for over 35 years and is Senior Manager with Early Start at the University of Wollongong. She has a PhD in ECE leadership, along with qualifications in education, public policy, politics, leadership and management, and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).
Leanne’s former roles include teacher and director of ECE programs, adviser and manager with local, state and federal government, lecturer within higher education institutions and principal researcher . She has managed professional development programs for major providers and was Chief Executive Officer of an Australian sector peak organisation.
Leanne is an active member of Boards and advisory groups on ECE workforce and science. She is an author, researcher, and podcaster. Her research interests are leadership, management and governance and their influence upon social justice and ECEC quality.


Professor Susanne Garvis

Susanne Garvis is a Professor of Education and Chair of the Department of Education at Swinburne University of Technology. She returned to Australia in mid-2020 after working in Sweden and the Nordic region for 6 years. Susanne has a strong understanding of early childhood education and care from an international perspective and has worked with a number of NGOs, professional organisations and governments around the world.




Honorary Professor Manjula Waniganayake

Manjula Waniganayake is an Honorary Professor of Early Childhood Education, at Macquarie University. She has an extensive track record spanning almost four decades of working in the early childhood sector. Manjula was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Tampere, Finland for her scholarly contributions to advancing knowledge and understanding about Early Childhood Leadership. She believes in diversity and social justice, and values learning through respectful conversations.