Adaptive Leadership:

A perspective on transforming education.

By Penelope Brown

"This paper is my attempt to clarify some
of the most foundational parts of a model, which, while conceptual to grasp, have deep practical implications."

Author, Penelope Brown

About the PAPER.

Penelope Brown’s paper is written in direct response to the February 2023 CSE paper by Hannon and Mackay, A new politics for transforming education: Towards an effective way forward.
She explores how an Adaptive Leadership perspective might further strengthen our understanding of the failures identified by Hannon and Mackay and help elucidate options to leadership practice on the transformation agenda they propose. Her purpose is to articulate, in plain language, the foundations of this leadership framework, make connections to our education context, and pose provocative questions, so that we can see the challenges in greater depth and become inspired to have new conversations.

About the author.


Penelope Brown is one of Australia’s leading specialists in the practice and teaching of adaptive leadership. She first studied under Professor Ronald Heifetz at Harvard University, where she completed her Masters degrees (MEd/MPA). The following year she worked for Professor Heifetz as his lead teaching assistant and has remained a part of the Adaptive Leadership Network community. In 2021, Penelope was invited to audit Professor Heifetz’s most recent leadership teaching program for Harvard postgraduate students, and her final paper was selected as a showcase for future students.
Penelope is now a Senior Leadership Consultant in the AISNSW (Association of Independent Schools of New South Wales) Leadership Centre. Prior to this, she worked as an education advisor for several of Australia’s leading social sectors, for the United Nations in New York City and for the World Bank in Washington DC. She has worked within education faculties at universities in the USA and Australia, was a teacher and leader in NSW independent schools, and is a Teacher’s Guild Award recipient..

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