QUEENSLAND parents with children in independent schools are strongly represented at policy and decision-making tables thanks to the tireless advocacy of our retiring Executive Officer Sue Kloeden.

Ms Kloeden, a career teacher and education leader before taking on the role of founding Executive Director of the Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network (QIS Parents Network) in 2015, will retire in early December 2019.

The QIS Parents Network represents the families of 123,00 students enrolled in more than 210 independent schools.

During her five-year tenure, Ms Kloeden has engaged directly with state and federal education ministers on matters of importance for parents and built strong relationships with parenting and education authorities around the state.

“I think that we are now at the table when it comes to policy decisions and that our view point is respected,’’ Ms Kloeden says.

“I loved the role and I’ve really appreciated the opportunity to contribute.’’

Sue Kloeden, our retiring Executive Officer

Ms Kloeden has also used her time at the helm of QISPN to champion the power of schools and families working in partnership for a child’s education – a field of research known as “parent engagement” which is now gaining increasing traction in many schools.

Advocacy based on life experience

It’s an impressive legacy which can be attributed to Ms Kloeden’s passion for education and her 40 years’ experience as a teacher  and sector leader.

She began teaching in 1973 and has taught every grade from Prep to Year 12 and in both the state and independent sectors across three states.

She then progressed into education advisory roles, culminating in her appointment as Executive Director of Lutheran Education in Queensland, a role she held for seven years before retiring from full-time work in 2014.

Ms Kloeden said she relished the opportunity to lead QIS Parents Network because it was a way of “giving back’’ to the independent sector which had given her so much professionally and personally.

She has four adult children who were all educated in the independent sector.

“My children are all doing incredible things with their lives and they are all a product of independent schooling. I think the friendships they made and the high expectations their teachers had of them have really made them into resilient kids.’’

She describes the independent sector as “wonderfully diverse’’.

“It really is a very broad spectrum of schools serving a huge variety of students,’’ she says.

“There are students that are disengaged through to extremely able students. It’s the diversity that I’m impressed by.’’

Exciting times ahead

Ms Kloeden said the QIS Parents Network was about to enter an exciting new phase with its recently-announced partnership with Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) in the area of parent engagement.

The two bodies are developing an overarching Parent and Community Engagement Strategy to provide more strategic support to member schools in this important area.

“Some schools are doing a really great job of parent engagement, but we still have a long way to go,’’ she says.

“Parent engagement is one of the last levers to be pulled [in education] and it can make a huge difference. It’s not hard, it doesn’t cost much money , it just costs time.

“The partnership that is happening next year between QIS Parents Network and ISQ in the area of parent engagement is very exciting: we’ll see the fruits of that work for years to come.’’

All sectors working together

She also paid tribute to Queensland’s other parent representative bodies – in particular Catholic School Parents Queensland, P&Cs Queensland and the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association Queensland – for their wonderful support and collaboration.

“They have been absolutely fantastic in embracing our network,” she said.

“For all sectors to work so collaboratively is unique.”

Read more about Sue Kloeden’s retirement and our incoming Executive Officer Justine Cirocco in the latest joint ISQ/QIS Parents Network media release here.