PraXis Makes Perfect Q&A – Innovative Leadership with Caitlin Deakes

In the lead-up to the PraXis Makes Perfect conference, we would like to start getting to know some of our wonderful presenters. For the next three weeks, we will interview one presenter per week – one for each conference theme. This week we focus on Theme 1 – Innovative Leadership, and do a Q&A with Caitlin Deakes, Manager/Educational Leader of Griffith University, Boronia and Tallowwood Early Childhood and Education Centres.


What sets your service apart from other services?

The spacious buildings and grounds, and tranquil bushland setting facilitate our Indoor/Outdoor program which was implemented in 1987. Currently I am the second Director/Manager at Tallowwood Early Childhood Education Centre which has maintained minimal staff turnover since its commencement. The centre’s foundation is based on establishing and maintaining positive attachments with children, families and educators, and this is a principle that underpins all our practices.


Tell me about why you think it’s important to keep leadership fresh and innovative?

Our industry is evolving all the time, therefore we as Leaders need to be proactive and ensure that our Leadership styles match our team dynamics. As a Leader it is not always about leading (being at the front) it is about having the Emotional Intelligence to know when to step back (Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development). This is what leadership is all about.


Can you give an example where you have benefited from innovative leadership at work?

Every single day we are faced with many challenges, big and small.  We have to wear many leadership style hats to meet the complexities of the day.

The centre/staff team has benefited from implementing a rotation policy where staff members move from one room to the next at the beginning of each year. I get to witness on a daily basis my educators grow and enhance their professional skills as they take on new roles. It is like that ‘light bulb moment’ when my educators connect theory and practice together, or when I watch all of our children from different cultural backgrounds develop and grow in confidence in our program. I continue to advocate for best practice and our unique Indoor/Outdoor program. Never be afraid to speak up for what you believe in.  We are the voice for our children and our educators.  


In a nutshell, what will you be presenting at the PraXis Makes Perfect Conference?

I will be presenting an informative session on Emotional Intelligence and Resilience for educators. By the end of the session educators will gain a deeper insight into the mechanics of Emotional Intelligence.


Caitlin will be presenting at the Praxis Makes Perfect: Perspectives on Pedagogy conference. If you haven’t already registered, click here to visit the conference web page. 

Next week: Theme 2 – Perspectives on Pedagogy.