Dr Janet Smith

Academic Director

“It is a great pleasure and privilege to be working with WLA on all kinds of initiatives to support increased opportunities for women leaders both in the education field and beyond. I sincerely believe our work is helping to improve opportunities and outcomes for women leaders at all levels.”

Alongside her ongoing work with Women & Leadership Australia and the National Excellence in School Leadership Initiative, Dr Janet Smith is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Education at the University of Canberra, where she has taught and researched Educational Leadership and Teacher Education for the past twenty-five years. Janet’s recent work at UC involved managing and teaching national and international professional learning courses, specialising in leadership, mentoring, coaching and social and emotional learning.  Prior to her work at the university, Janet was a high school teacher and school leader. Janet has also worked extensively as a development consultant, focusing on education, leadership, coaching, mentoring, spirituality and professional learning. Janet holds a PhD, Master of Education, BA, and Graduate Diploma of Secondary Education.

Whilst the focus of Dr Smith’s concerns about gender in education and the broader workforce has changed over time, her passion for improving outcomes for female leaders has not. The first three schools she taught at were single-sex public high schools. Dr Smith considers teaching in these schools as a seminal experience as she became acutely aware of the defining role that gender plays in education, wellbeing and learning outcomes. It also became apparent that a teacher’s gender has a major impact on their leadership aspirations and outcomes. As a result of this, Dr Smith completed a Masters degree focusing on girls’ education, and a PhD exploring the impact of gender on a teacher’s work and identity. Later, as an academic and leader in higher education, these same threads continued to weave their way through her teaching, research and experience.