Debra Kelliher

Senior Facilitator


Doctorate of Education, University of New England

Master of Arts First Class Honours, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Diploma of Teaching, Auckland College of Education, New Zealand

Graduate of Australian Institute of Company Directors, Sydney Australia


Mediation Accreditation Resolution Institute, Sydney Australia

Areas of Specialisation

Conflict resolution, women’s and girls’ leadership, strategic planning, principal wellbeing, turning around schools facing serious challenges, regional education.


Debra Kelliher has had a career in education for over twenty-five years. She has a Doctorate of Education, a Master of Arts with First Class Honours from Auckland University and is an accredited executive coach. Debra began her teaching career as an English teacher in New Zealand. In 2002 Debra was awarded a NSW Premier’s Teacher Scholarship to study in the UK. She has been a Head of English, Director of Studies, Head of Senior School, and Principal of two independent girls’ schools in Australia, one regional and one urban. Debra has also worked as a Senior Quality Review and Development Officer with the Catholic Education Office at Parramatta. She has had experience in schools in Vietnam, China, and Japan.

Debra is a trained mediator and executive coach and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She has a keen interest in girls’ education, leadership, and student voice. Debra's Doctorate examines effective ways to increase girls’ leadership capacity. The findings emphasise the importance of trust and relationship in enhancing student leadership. She is interested in women’s leadership and principal wellbeing and will be facilitating programs in NESLI’s suite of leadership courses. Debra and her husband Paul have a blended family of six adult children and love family occasions, travel, walking holidays and art. 

Previous/Current Clients

Kambala (an Anglican independent girls’ school), Sydney Australia.