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School Leadership: Mastering the First Year

Meet the Team

We've put together a team of inspiring, experienced school leaders willing to share their knowledge, demonstrate their skills and model the dispositions and character strengths that have made them effective international school leaders. 

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Meredith lawson

Meredith is located in Adelaide, Australia - the hometown base from which she first launched her thirty year career in education. In January she will start a new role as a secondary-school leader, a follow on from her position as Middle School Principal at Nishimachi International School in Japan. Since beginning her career in the field of Physical Education and Science, her teaching and pastoral care roles have been wide and varied, giving her a passion for the middle years of schooling. Her leadership experiences began early and have included senior roles in Melbourne, Ho Chi Minh and Tokyo. Meredith's talents lie in her ability to build highly effective teams using a strength-based approach to ensure growth for all.


Meredith understands the many layers of the school leadership role, and is excited to explore these in Workshop 2 of the upcoming To Leadership and Beyond programme. Leading learning, school culture, student social and emotional growth, pedagogical change, teacher wellbeing, parent relationships and school public profile all need to be squeezed in between budgets, schedules, reporting and a myriad of paperwork. Meredith will share her strategies for managing meetings, prioritizing time and navigating the daily logistics of school administration in a way that allows new and aspiring leaders to get the balance right from the beginning.

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Mihoko Chida is the Lower Loop Leader at Verso International School in Bangkok, Thailand. She was born in Japan and grew up in California. Mihoko holds a BA from Occidental College, and MA from UCLA, and is working on her Doctorate in Education through East Carolina University. She started teaching in public schools that served students from low socioeconomic backgrounds in Southern California. Fluent in Japanese, she worked at Nishimachi International School in Tokyo for eight years, serving as the Curriculum Coordinator for three years and as the Elementary School Principal for three years. She has always wanted to work in education because of her love for learning and enjoys being in a 'job that allows you to be creative, solve problems, and forces you to think on your feet' She has presented at EARCOS conferences and served on accreditation teams for WASC and CIS at schools. She admits to loving boy bands, was known to be 'very shy and quiet' in high school and loves to travel. 



As a Coach, teacher and leader, Justine is dedicated to helping others accelerate their learning and increase their performance. Her grounding in ICF accredited transformational coaching methods, matched with her extensive experience in the field of education, act as a positive and creative force that challenges others to move from intention to action. Justine's 20-year background in the education sector covers school leadership, curriculum development, strategic planning, policy development, tertiary-sector teaching training and elementary level classroom teaching. Justine has both leadership and teaching experience within a range of top curriculum models utilised in international schools and has also been involved in curriculum and teacher professional development at a government policy level. She is well versed in pedagogical theory, excels in classroom practice and demonstrates a full understanding of the needs of adult learners and change management processes.
In the past ten years, Justine has worked in private international schools in Germany, Japan and Indonesia. Prior to this, in her home country, New Zealand, Justine was a principal in a central city elementary school, lectured on Bachelor of Education programmes at both a public university and an indigenous university, and completed a long-term contract as Senior Advisor for the New Zealand Ministry of Education. Justine has a constant thirst for institutional growth, always with a central focus on the holistic wellbeing of all members of the community. Not only is she highly successful in leading international teams through transformational and sustainable growth, but she is also dedicated to contributing ongoing learning back into the wider body of knowledge thus supporting the improvement of global education systems.

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Stephen Barratt

Steve Barratt spent the first part of his working life in Australia and since 2004 he has worked in five International Schools across Germany, Hong Kong and Australia. As a teacher he specialised in senior secondary Business and Economics or in an elementary school classroom. For 8 years Steve worked as a Director of Curriculum/Teaching and Learning, firstly at the International School of Dusseldorf (ISD) and then at The Friends School in Hobart, Tasmania. He is currently in his third year as an Elementary School Principal after returning to ISD in the midst of the pandemic. As a Principal, Steve has a passion and interest in nurturing highly collaborative teams whose primary focus is on improving student learning.


Lauren carter

Lauren is currently located in Semarang, Indonesia - where she has resided for the past 7 years. After over 10 years of teaching as a primary school teacher she moved into a more senior leadership position back in 2019. She is working as the head of school at a non profit, board - run international school in Indonesia. The position has been a steep learning curve over the past few years but her time management, organisational skills and her initial support from leadership coaching has led to a successful beginning to her leadership career.


Lauren understands the way our emotions and responses impact on how schools function as a community. She has learnt first hand the necessity to become a better facilitator, listener and leader within the school while continuing to focus on creating a safe and supportive environment for all staff members, including herself. Understanding the importance of effective communication and finding the right support in your early years of leadership is crucial to being able to maintain a healthy work and personal balance. She will unpack these ideas in Workshop 4 and challenge each of you to look at your role in the wellbeing of others (and yourself).

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Carol Koran, B.Ed; M. Ed, has spent over 40 years in the field of education, including 20 years as an Associate
Principal and Principal at the high school level in Alberta, Canada. Her life-long learning journey has included working with universities, government agencies, colleges, and international schools, always with a focus on improving learning for students and nurturing growth in teachers. Following her retirement from her position in Canada, Carol served for 3 years as Director of Learning at Nishimachi International School in Tokyo, focusing on curriculum
implementation, teacher supervision and coaching, and professional development, working with teachers from Kindergarten to Grade 9.

Currently, Carol supervises and evaluates student teachers and interns for the University of Lethbridge, is an instructor and practicum supervisor in the Education Assistant program for Lethbridge College, and is a Trainer and Quality Assurance Reviewer for Maple Bear Global Schools. Carol believes that a key role of a school leader is the ability to recognize, foster and support the strengths of staff members, encouraging the practice of collective efficacy in schools.

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