Alish Conley wins Neil Bloxsidge Leadership Award


Catholic Education Council Chair Jenny Parker, Christ the King School ​Principal Alish Conley, Archbishop Mark Coleridge and BCE Deputy Executive Director Durm O'Riordan.​

Principal Alish Conley has been named the 2023 Neil Bloxsidge Leadership Award winner at the annual Brisbane Catholic Education Leadership Dinner on Saturday (4 November).  
The Neil Bloxsidge Leadership Award is named in honour of a former colleague who showed exceptional leadership and was a much loved and highly respected member of the BCE community.   
The Principal of Christ the King School Deception Bay was celebrated as a high performing leader, supportive colleague and committed lifelong learner who exemplifies the values of Catholic education.  
She was presented the award by Head of School Progress and Performance Derek Maclean, along with Deputy Executive Director Durm O’Riordan, in front of an audience of her peers at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.  
When announcing the award, Derek described Alish as a leader with a natural inclination and dedication to the marginalised and an educator who is fiercely determined to ensure the students in her care receive the best chance in life.  
“Alish is a natural teacher, and her exceptional instructional leadership and vision had an immediate and significant impact on improved learning outcomes for all students, in developing proficiency of the teaching and support staff and in ensuring that high expectations are the basis for all plans and actions,” he said.  
“In her time at Christ the King, Alish has grown and developed a highly effective team of teachers and support staff who willingly try new approaches, processes, and strategies to engage children in rich learning.  
“Alish’s influence is not limited to the Deception Bay community, and she willingly shares her wisdom and experience with colleagues.  
“A number of principals and teachers have visited Christ the King to observe the wellbeing and behaviour support processes and the embedded the Explicit Improvement Agenda, signature pedagogies and practices. Alish is a leader among leaders.” 
Alish said when she was announced as winner, she initially felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and felt so privileged.  
“I was shocked to win this award as I was surrounded by outstanding leaders who work as hard as I do and are as passionate as I am about their communities. I am very grateful to be where I am working with such an extraordinary staff, as well as the students and families of Christ the King.” 
Alish, who has held the Principal role at Christ the King for four years, added that her core belief is that “students can overcome all boundaries.” 
“My goal is simple, to educate the hearts and minds of our little people. I want them to leave us with knowledge, skills, self-belief, confidence and to have a strong moral compass.” 
About Neil Bloxsidge:  
Neil passed away suddenly in 2010. At the time, he was the Director of School Service Centre South. As well as an exceptional leader, he was a much-loved figure in Catholic Education.  He was also a natural born leader, deeply committed, very genuine and very personable with a wicked sense of humour. He was always an accomplished professional.   
You only needed to spend a very short time with Neil to know that his leadership style was inspiring, it was built on relationships and trust and above all, he empowered and built trust in people. His sometimes relaxed and natural style masked a person with great inner strength, focus and strategic ability.  The people who have received the Neil Bloxsidge Leadership Award also show these great leadership traits.    

BCE231104-25.jpgBCE Deputy Executive Director Durm O'Riordan, Christ the King School Principal Alish Conley, and BCE Head of School Progress and Performance Derek Maclean.

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