Teacher, leader, practitioner and coordinator

Kim Edwards has over 30 years’ experience as a teacher educator, instructional leader, classroom practitioner, IB coordinator, and Deputy Principal for K-12 Schools.

Kim has worked as a Senior Education Consultant for Education Horizons since 2016. Kim consults with various teams across the business to ensure that our software solutions are designed to address complex school needs. In her role, Kim also works closely with school leaders and teachers running a range of teacher and leadership workshops.

For those who have not yet had the chance to work with Kim, you can get to know more about her skills and passions for the education sector below.  

Tired teacher sitting at kitchen bench
Man and woman smiling at desk with laptop

Why teaching? What attracted you to the profession? 

My Mum was a teacher. I grew up going to school with her and teaching swimming with her and my sister in our backyard pool. It just seemed natural to become a teacher. 

What sort of leadership experience have you had in schools? 

I’ve held many leadership roles from Head of Department to Head of School to Deputy Principal. I also have leadership positions within the International Baccalaureate being a lead trainer and educator.   

What is your teaching background? 

I started my teaching career as a Science/PE teacher at a school in the Western suburbs of Melbourne and stayed there for 4 years. I returned to Perth and was appointed as a Head of Department – Sport and Physed Ed at a high fee-paying private girls’ school. I loved this time and my organisational and event management skills flourished.  

This was the start of my leadership journey and the skills I learnt in this position stood me in good stead throughout my career. I learnt that I could lead and manage any area, even when I did not know anything about it, e.g. rowing. I just had to learn the key aspects required and then manage the endless logistics and organisational details required to lead such a large sport with so many key stakeholders involved.  

I also started Outdoor Education at the school, however, was delighted when eventually the school appointed a Director of Outdoor Education. I then spent many years working in the Boarding House (whilst also still overseeing PE and Sport). 

Across this time, I also completed my Masters of Educational Leadership and became Head of Middle School and led this sub-school for 10 years. I then became Deputy Principal of the school with a key responsibility for teaching and learning and the implementation of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme.

This was where my understanding of teaching and learning pedagogies started to truly develop because of the need to learn the educational theory that underpinned IB programmes and apply that knowledge and understanding in the classroom and more broadly be able to clearly articulate this to our teachers. It was a steep learning curve, but one that I will always be thankful to have had the opportunity to learn.  

Throughout my time as Deputy, I was also responsible for staff and the myriad of other responsibilities that Deputy Principals undertake daily.  

My technology skill development started in 1990 when the school introduced a one-to-one laptop programme, which at the time very few schools in Australia were doing. I learnt on the job how to use technology effectively in the classroom as no-one had any idea back then.  

In my role as Deputy Principal our teachers were using multiple disparate systems to manage their day-to-day functions. For example, attendance, pastoral care, teaching and learning and assessment and reporting. None of the systems talked to each other and there was constant double handling of data. The introduction of SEQTA meant that our teachers only needed to access one system to do all their tasks. It also meant that I could change the way our teachers reported, by removing the traditional subject comment and getting them to enter their task feedback straight into SEQTA so that it could be continuously pushed out to parents and students.

It also gave us visibility of teacher feedback which highlighted an urgent need to improve its quality. This change enabled the school to provide timely, relevant feedback to students and parents that was online and visible 24/7 and would ultimately help improve student learning. I wanted our students to be assessment-capable learners – where they could identify, where am I going, how am I going and where to next? (Hattie 2012). Managing this school change process taught me how important it was to collect and analyse evidence from multiple sources before launching into any change initiative, engage all key stakeholders, make a plan, work with team and don’t be afraid of running your own in-house PD.  

When I was Deputy Principal I also chose to train as an International Baccalaureate workshop leader, school evaluator and concept-based trainer so that I could use those skills back in the school. This training and opportunity to lead workshops in schools across Asia Pacific taught me invaluable lessons about dealing with teachers across a range of different cultural contexts and stood me in good stead for creating in-house PD for our teachers around quality feedback.  

What do you think your greatest skills are? 

  1. My willingness to learn and ‘have a go’ regardless of how daunting or unfamiliar the area may be.  
  2. Understanding of school leadership theory and transferring that into practice. I look back at all my work with the Visible Learning group and wish that I had the knowledge and skills that I now have, when I was in my 20s. 
  3. Understanding of teacher pedagogy. This area has greatly developed across my own teaching career as well as through leading IB and Visible Learning workshops on teaching practices that have the highest impact on student learning and using evidence to plan, implement and evaluate impact on student learning.  

How do you work with schools now?  

 International Baccalaureate (IB) – I undertake numerous roles which include:   

  • IB Lead Educator (IBEN): I work with the Asia Pacific IBEN department on the review of their workshop leader and school visit team member recruitment and training processes.  
  • IB Lead Trainer: I train future IB workshop leaders, consultants and school visit team members.  
  • Middle Years Programme (MYP) Consultant: I work as a consultant to support and mentor schools through their candidacy period to their verification visit.  
  • School Visit Team Leader (SVTL) – I lead School Evaluation and Authorisation visits.  
  • Workshop Leader (WSL): I lead IB teacher and leadership workshops across the Asia Pacific region.  
lady with bangles typing on laptop keyboard

Visible Learning Consultant – I present a range of Visible Learning workshops. I work with teachers and school leaders across Australia to support their practice and pedagogy with a focus on high impact strategies as outlined by the Visible Learning research.  

Concept-based Teaching and Learning Trainer – I am a certified Concept-based Curriculum and Instruction trainer delivering Concept-based workshops to teachers. 

Senior Educational Consultant EHG – I work with school leaders and teachers running a range of teacher and leadership workshops.  

What are the common issues that you help schools with?  

I often see a desire by teachers and school leaders to improve student learning outcomes. However, there is often a lack of understanding of teaching and learning pedagogies and how to improve these and as a result improve student learning outcomes.  

I also see a lack of a cohesive direction and/or understanding of the current evidence from education research on how to build system capabilities so that all parts are heading in the same direction.  

As Professor Hattie states, “There is no way that a system will make an overall difference to student achievement by working one teacher at a time …Instead, the onus needs to be on everyone working collectively to improve student achievement: the teachers, the school leaders, the other adults in the schools (such as teaching aides), the parents (and voters), the policymakers and the students” (2015, p. 5). 

I also regularly see that many schools are using a large number of disparate technology systems that often have significant overlap. This creates additional work for the teachers who have to navigate many of these systems, and the downside of this is that the school’s data can become siloed preventing them from accessing live analytics and identifying trends and patterns in their data. The school cannot see the whole picture, which often leads to increased manual processing of data, as the data is moved from one system to another, increasing their workload and pain.  

What’s your role at Education Horizons? 

Education Horizons has given me the opportunity to step back from my senior leadership role in a school and return to what I have always enjoyed doing – working with adults, but without all the school politics. I primarily work across different parts of the company to deepen the understanding of the teaching and learning context and the complex needs of schools. I also work with the Professional Services team to lead teacher and leadership workshops focused on using systems to improve student learning outcomes. 

I have also been able to continue to work with schools both from an IB and VL perspective which has enabled me to stay up to date with the latest educational research and then apply that knowledge to the various Education Horizons products and systems.  

What do you love about working with schools? 

The opportunity to work in so many different education sectors and locations e.g., independent, government, small, large, faith-based, privately owned (overseas) to government doctrine dictating all aspects of schooling. However, at their heart is the basic teacher-student relationship and the strong desire from teachers to improve student learning outcomes.