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Anne Johnstone

IPEN Australia; Principal, Ravenswood School for Girls

Anne is Principal of Ravenswood School for Girls in Sydney and Chair of the Positive Education Schools Association (PESA).


Anne holds Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Laws (with honours) degrees, as well as a Graduate Diploma of Education and a Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) degree from the University of Pennsylvania, in which she achieved a distinguished capstone (thesis) award, under the supervision of Professor Martin Seligman. Anne is currently completing a PhD on applying positive psychology principles in education under the supervision of Professor Lea Waters and Aaron Jarden, through the University of Melbourne Graduate School of Education.


Anne is one of the pioneers of positive education having commenced work in this area as a recipient of a Churchill Fellowship in 2004, during which she conducted research while based at Cambridge University on how to foster resilience in learning. Anne has since led the implementation of Positive Education in three schools - as Deputy Headmistress of St Catherine's in Sydney, Principal of Seymour College in Adelaide and now as Principal of Ravenswood in Sydney.


This year, Anne was one of just five educators globally (including Sir Anthony Seldon, Simon Murray, Stephen Meek and Steve Pilch), as well as the only female recipient, awarded for her pioneering work and internationally recognised leadership in the field of positive education.


This honour was bestowed by Professor Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology, and Jim Hovey (Chair of Eisenhower Fellowships) at the University of Pennsylvania and Eisenhower Fellowships Positive Education Global Summit in Philadelphia in 2019.


Anne has acted as a spokesperson for PESA in the media, on matters relating to positive education, positive psychology and educational leadership. She has presented at every National PESA conference since its founding, and also at the PESA Queensland state chapter conference, as well as numerous other conferences relating to Positive Education. Anne has also helped host the national conferences and been active in supporting regional hubs such as the Upper Hunter in NSW. In addition, Anne has delivered guest seminars as part of the Certificate of Positive Education (University of Melbourne).


Anne has presented internationally, including at the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) conferences in Los Angeles and in Melbourne, and at the European Conference on Positive Psychology (ECPP) in Moscow and Amsterdam, as well as for the KHDA in Dubai (following her invitation to attend the 2019 World Government Summit).


In 2018, Anne was awarded the prestigious Australian Speech and Communication Association Award for Excellence, and as a young teacher, was awarded The Teachers' Guild of NSW Award for Excellence in The Early Years of Teaching (2003).


Before pursuing her passion for education, Anne practised as a lawyer for four years, and during this time also acted as course convener and lecturer in Modern Corporate Governance and Labour Law at Macquarie University for two semesters.


Anne is a passionate advocate for helping students positively transform their lives, fulfil their potential and flourish. To this end she has been a passionate and active voice for PESA, and along with our current Chair, Simon Murray, has helped us grow and develop into the national organisation we are today. Anne is committed to continuing to support the implementation of our strategic goals including expanding and developing the work we do at PESA to support teachers and students, broadening our membership base and further developing PESA's national and international contribution and leadership in positive education.

>Presentation Topic: The Case for Positive Education

In this session, Anne will explore the case for positive education. With mental health issues affecting approximately 1 in 4 young people at some time in their lives, there is an important role educators can play in offering both preventative strategies, and helping support the development of student resilience. Anne will explore ways in which the principles and strategies of positive psychology can be implemented in schools to help build student wellbeing through their experience of positive emotion, a greater sense of engagement and flow in their learning, building positive relationships, encouraging the pursuit of meaning and purpose, and understanding the importance of grit and a growth mindset on achievement and well-being. Anne will also explore research that shows that learning and academic outcomes are profoundly influenced by wellbeing.

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