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Our LEAD Committee launches their inaugural Accelerate program

Last night we were thrilled to launch Accelerate; our pilot leadership program exclusively designed for SPCE middle leaders.

The bespoke program is one year long and is designed for existing middle leaders across the organisation. Eligible participants will have demonstrated strong Christian leadership capabilities and a servant heart, evidenced in the way they manage and lead their teams.

The Accelerate program aims to accelerate the personal and professional leadership learning journey of participants, to equip them with the knowledge and skills to increase their leadership effectiveness.

It will introduce some of the higher-level skills required to lead a complex team, introducing some compliance, governance and legal frameworks that senior leaders in schools need to be familiar with, including strong links to the Teaching Standards.

Five Learning Subject Areas

The curriculum is grouped around our organisation’s five core values.

  1. Christ First – Spiritual Leadership
  2. Serve one Another – Servant Leadership
  3. Strive for Excellence – Best Practice in Educational Leadership
  4. Do What is Right – Ethical Practices for Leading People
  5. Build Community – Developing and Maintaining Meaningful Christian Community


The Accelerate Program will comprise of four elements:

  • Five Learning Days
  • Spiritual Retreat
  • Asynchronous Learning
  • Coaching Sessions

The Accelerate program is an initiative of our SPCE LEAD committee.

In 2023, Graeme Irwin oversaw the formation of the St Philip’s Leadership Engagement and Development (LEAD) Committee, marking a pivotal step in enhancing leadership within our organisation. The purpose of the LEAD committee is to support the CEO in developing the organisation’s most experienced leaders while spearheading the establishment of a bespoke Leadership Pipeline program. 

Members of the LEAD committee are:

  • Graeme Irwin – CEO
  • Michelle Cairelli – Executive Principal, Dynamic Learning and Young Parents
  • Marty Telfer – Principal, SPCC Port Stephens
  • Jamie Fahey – Principal Elect, SPCC Newcastle
  • Andrew Youd – Lead Specialist and Business Development, Teaching School
  • Virginia McMurray – Director, People and Culture 


The St Philip’s LEAD Committee exists to form and disciple exceptional Christian Leaders to carry and advance the vision and impact of Christian Education in our organisation and beyond for the glory of God.


The purpose of the Leadership Engagement and Development (LEAD) Committee is to support the CEO in developing the organisation’s most experienced leaders and in overseeing and managing the program initiatives so as to:

  • Invest in forming exemplary Christ-centred education leaders in the service of the Kingdom of God and the organisation's vision, mission, and values.
  • Cultivate a culture of Christian leadership formation/development.
  • Equip our best leaders to sow into and raise up aspiring and called staff through mentoring and other opportunities.
  • Ensure a pool of in-house developed and high-quality leaders are available for leadership roles.
  • Reduce the cost of recruitment and organisational risk associated with reactive leadership replacement.
  • Retain high-quality staff and reduce staff churn.
  • Raise the quality of leadership activity within the organisation to benefit our staff, students, parents and carers, and community.
  • Improve our employer reputation and promote St Philip’s as an employer of choice.

“But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Matthew 20:26-28 (NLT)