Global Leaders - Leading, Linking, Learning

ICP News December 2015

Welcome to ICP News.

This is our post Helsinki Convention issue. We hope you find it informative and useful. ICP is dedicated to the development, support and promotion of school leadership globally. We intend to publish ICP News in 2016 in a new and improved format as part of our communication strategy. Look for ICP News in March, July and November next year. We hope you enjoy leading, linking and learning through ICP.



ICP have pleasure in congratulating South African Principal Association (SAPA) Western Cape Branch as the successful bidders of the 2017 Convention. The convention theme is Waves of Change. Please mark in your diaries September 28th - Oct 1st 2017 to visit the beautiful city of Cape Town South Africa for this exceptional school leadership professional learning event. More details to follow in the coming months.

ICP Executive Meeting August Helsinki

ICP Executive met prior to the Helsinki Council Meeting and Convention for 2 days. Present at that meeting were Ari Pokka, Lisa Vincent, Sheree Vertigan, Rob Nairn, Alta van Heerden, Fiona Forbes, Sjoerd Slagter and Vicki Shannon. During this time, work was undertaken on the upcoming Convention and Council meeting. As this was the first face-to-face meeting since France in 2014 there was lots to do. We met with conference organiser Toni Lehtinen for a final convention collaboration session. Work was also focused on the Council agenda and finalising the council papers to be presented by executive members on membership and regional representation. Post Convention the Executive had a planning day with Dame Pat Collarbone from the UK from Creating Tomorrow. Dame Pat led the Executive on a full day of using her Change2 process to operationalize the strategic plan. While much was discussed and accomplished the process was not fully completed. The Executive did however come away with a clear view of the way forward for ICP.

2015 ICP Council Meeting – Helsinki, Finland August 1nd – August 2nd

Many thanks to all who attended the two-day council meeting in Helsinki. Many countries sent a representative to participate in two highly productive and informative days of international collaboration.

We had two guest speakers. Dr Phil Reily from the Australian Catholic University speaking to council about the Principals Health and Wellbeing Survey with data from both Australia and Ireland. This longitudinal study is growing in strength of data and with implications for principals is of interest to leader associations around the globe. ICP are looking at ways to work with Dr Reilly and other countries to broaden the study. For more information go to:


Professor Philip Garner spoke about Violence in Our Schools. This presentation bought into sharp focus the need to work on the social and emotional learning (SEL) in our schools to re-engage the disengaged around the globe. In light of all the recent violence in schools that has made the media lately this presentation was not only timely but also constructive for a global approach. ICP will continue to have reducing violence in school and promoting SEL as a focus moving forward. For more information on SEL go to:


A number of Council members also provided us with presentations in the Profiling Principals - Members Snapshot sessions. We would like to thank those members who provided Council with Member Snapshots covering leadership and advocacy.

Council business was also conducted with in depth discussion on membership, regional representation, ratification of the strategic plan, and elections of executive committee members.

Thanks to Surefire for a fantastic Council Dinner at Suomenlinna Castle on Saturday night.

Results of Election of Executive Committee

Congratulations to the following newly elected executive committee.

President Elect – Fiona Forbes (ASEPA Australia)

America’s Representative – John Hamilton (OPC – Canada)

Asia/Oceania Representative – Iain Taylor (NZPF – New Zealand)

These new members join the rest of the elected executive committee

President - Ari Pokka (Surefire – Finland)

Europe Rep – Sjoerd Slagter (Netherlands)

African Rep – Alta van Heerden (SAPA – South Africa)

General Rep – Rob Nairn (ASPA – Australia)

Our appointed Executive Secretary for 2016 is Sheree Vertigan.

Warm Thanks

At the end of 2015 Lisa Vincent and Vicki Shannon leave the ICP Executive.

Both are long serving members on the Executive and their insight and leadership will be missed.

To Lisa, our Immediate Past President, we sincerely thank her for her incredible professionalism, tremendous drive, enthusiasm and fiscal management that sees ICP in the positive position we are in now. ICP is forever in Lisa’s debt for all of her executive and Presidency work. We wish you well in whatever you do.

Great thanks also go to Vicki Shannon outgoing Americas rep for her service to ICP. Her dedication has meant very early morning Skype calls in all weather from Thunder Bay Ontario. Her input to the work of ICP has been critical to moving the organisation forward. Her dedication to global leadership is evident in all her work for ICP. A heartfelt thanks.

Snapshots from the 12th ICP Convention Helsinki, Finland, August 3rd – 6th 2015.

The 2015 Helsinki Convention started with flair and talent with the incredible students of Finnish schools who did their country proud. The musical performances were of such a high calibre and the audience were visibly delighted. The first keynote speaker Andre Noel Chaker did not disappoint and set the scene for what was to come, a polished, quality educational program. The buzz from the 1200 strong participants was palpable as they left Finlandia Hall.

The sun shone most days and the program stimulated our minds. Pasi Sahlberg – Mr Finnish Education in his Marimekko striped t-shirt educated the audience and left us with ‘sitting is the new smoking’ as well as singing his favourite Bob Dylan song.

Alf Rehn was dynamic with his fresh thoughts on challenging the status quo.

Andrew Cole from the Wallace Foundation showed us some highly interesting illustrations of leadership practice and Olive Mugenda gave an insight into transformational leadership at Kenyetta University.

The final day concluded with a brilliant young man Pekka Hyysalo that showed the audience just how to persevere through adversity. It was a high note to finish a brilliant program.

An example of the power ICP has in linking, leading and learning is illustrated below with a response sent to the Executive through Surefire at the conclusion of the convention.

Thank you to the ICP committee and Sure Fire for bringing together a wonderful array of speakers and leaders of schools from around the world. The keynote speeches have been of excellent quality and have given us exciting pathways and ideas to continue to lead change and transformation in our schools. Congratulations on an amazing world class conference.

This conference has had a second but equally exciting and important aspect for two participants. Orla and Niamh, two little Northern Irish girls first met in Primary School in Gilford, Co Down in 1975. We continued our primary schooling together and moved on to Our Lady's Grammar School, Newry for secondary schooling. Then Niamh's family, due to the political unrest decided to emigrate to Australia in 1986 when the girls were in fourth year.

Since then we have had a long distance and very sporadic relationship, only spending a number of hours with each other over the last 29 years. Coincidentally, both of us went in to teaching and subsequently leadership roles. Both of us became principals and over a dinner get together three years ago, whilst Niamh was a holiday trip back to Ireland, flippantly threw out the idea of meeting at the 12th ICP convention in Helsinki. Excitement levels grew at registration time and gradually heightened as flights were booked and leave was taken.

Not only have we been on a great learning journey during the conference but we have been catching up on the last 29 years and sharing wonderful memories as well as looking at the way we lead our schools and the implications for change. We have met many other principals and had a fantastic time getting to know the beautiful city surrounds and enjoying the Finnish hospitality.

With great thanks,

Orla and Niamh

From the President’s Desk

On the Road…

After the Helsinki Convention I looked at my calendar to summarise all the invitations, conferences and other activities I had put it there during those sunny and active days of the ICP convention. Unfortunately I understood that I was unable to do them all, but most of them were able to put it into my schedule. Like most of us, I'm also a School Principal. That's my main duty even in these ICP years so that changes the focus radically.

At the ICP executive meeting we decided that I would concentrate my presidency on new areas, new countries and new members. In September I visited the Ukraine, National Principals Association, RGU, to attend their yearly meeting in the city of Sumy east of the country. For one week I had a great opportunity to met our newest members and visited many schools. Despite the difficult economy and war, Ukrainian education was full of potential and promise. Principals and teachers knew very well our 21st century educational challenges. They were very interested to train more, adapt ICT in education and build international contacts. And Ukrainian hospitality is something so special that I will remember that week for the rest of my life.

In October ICP executive had a very fruitful meeting in Toronto. I would like to say the warmest thanks to the Ontario Principals Council for their great support. After Toronto I was very sure that ICP will play a significant role in the world education field. That mindset comes from a combination of great teamwork and our new strategy, which will make us much stronger in the near future.

After Toronto there was one week, which I spent in school in Finland before I flew in the first week of November to make a keynote speech in Saudi Arabia. During that very special week with the Saudis, hosted by the Public Education Evaluation Commission (PEEC), I got a strong vision that organizations like ICP can be one of the collaborative bodies to raise principals standards in Saudi Arabia. There were some concrete planning and discussions, so we will see in the near future, how our collaboration will continue.

All and all, autumn has been very active and 2016 looks very similar. So let's do our best and make ICP a more active partner in all Principals' daily work.


ICP Executive Meeting Toronto, Canada Oct 19 – 20th 2015.

This two-day meeting which was generously hosted by Ontario Principals Council enabled the Executive to complete the unfinished business from the Dame Pat Collarbone planning meeting and to operationalize the strategic plan. Roles were assigned and deadlines added to ensure that each executive member has responsibility for part of the strategic plan. These clear actions will be reported on in subsequent newsletters. Some of these actions include;

  • a communication plan
  • new branding and marketing
  • clearer protocols for members on membership
  • protocols for regional representation and council representation.

These are exciting for our organisation as we move forward.

In addition there was further discussion on the membership paper incorporating the views from the August Council meeting. Discussion was held on Convention 2017 which in turn has effected Council meeting 2016.

ICP Planner 2016

Listed below are the known ICP member events for 2016 (at the time of print). If you would like to have one of your events listed in the next newsletter in March please send details to: fforbes@arach.net.au

Irish Primary Principals Network

Annual Conference

28th - 29th January 2016

City West Hotel Dublin


Association of School and College Leaders

Annual Conference

4 – 5th March 2016

Hilton Birmingham UK


Academy of Principals Singapore

7th Global Educational Leadership Conference – Leading For the Future

March 8 – 9th 2016


Academy of Principals Singapore

9th International Conference on Teaching and Learning with Technology

28th – 31st March 2016



Trans Tasman Leadership Conference

31 May – 2 June 2016


Academy of Principals Singapore

2nd D.I Asia Summit

8 – 9th September 2016


ICP Council Meeting

Global Collaboration of School Leaders

Date and Venue TBA

African Confederation of Principals Conference

Cape Town South Africa

Sept /Oct 2016

The final words from the Immediate Past President

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to the change the world” Nelson Mandela

As I write my final Past President´s message, I find myself focusing on children across the globe. In a world that seems to hold so much uncertainty for the future I think about what we do as school leaders to provide hope in the eyes of our students. Will they be equipped to deal with the complexity and challenges ahead of them? As school leader associations we focus on students, and what it is that we can do to support our Principals to lead their schools with head and heart, especially during the most difficult times. Our students depend on us, and our school communities look to us to provide a safe haven, and a rich learning environment for each and all students. This is an incredible responsibility. It is also the serious work that we do individually and together, to make a difference in the lives of our students!

Real change comes from an unwavering commitment within an organization. It is hard work, it takes time, and it must be inclusive. As I reflect on the last several years as President and Past –President of the ICP, I depart the Executive knowing that the ICP is indeed on a solid path for the future having taken on issues, engaging member associations, and forming an action-oriented strategic plan. Priorities include advocacy, networking and supporting principal associations in each region, communication, and partnerships to support the growth and sustainability of this unique association. The format of council meetings has been revised to engage council participants in the work of the ICP through discussion, presentations, and networking on a global scale.

I have always found it fascinating that despite our many differences and the complexity of our specific educational environments, we speak a common language, we care about the same things, and we provide support and even reassurance for each other. This is what makes a commitment to this international organization all the more significant. The ICP bridges the distance among us and provides invaluable opportunities to work and learn together within an international context. I have said many times before, the ICP is in strong and capable hands with Ari Pokka as our President and with his committed executive team working so hard for the good of our association

I wish to thank each of you for all that you have given me as an educational leader, as a colleague, and as a friend. I truly understand how very privileged I have been to serve the ICP over the past eight years. I thank you for your expertise, your contributions to the world education agenda, and for your genuine kindness. And, I thank you for always putting students first. To the Executive members with whom I have been so very honoured to work, thank you. I have witnessed many changes and depart the Executive at this time, feeling positive and excited about the future of the ICP.

My very best wishes and gratitude to you,


Any correspondence or enquiries regarding ICP membership, or business operations please contact the Executive Secretary: Sheree@vertiganpartners.com.au

For newsletter related questions, articles for publication, and advertising enquiries contact Fiona Forbes – fforbes@arach.net.au