Dr Helen Drennen
Helen Drennen AM BA BSc (Hons) PhD DipEd AMP FACE FACEL
Dr Helen Drennen brings extensive national and international experience in education, at both primary and secondary levels, to her role as Principal of one of Australia’s leading coeducational independent schools, Wesley College Melbourne. She has been the Principal since 2003 and is the first female to have been appointed to this role since the College opened in 1866.
A graduate of Monash University, the Australian National University and The University of Melbourne, Helen’s early scientific work on learning and visual pathway development has been published, as has her more recent work on the Yiramalay/Wesley Studio School and on developments in international education.
Helen was a member of the International Baccalaureate Board of Governors from 2009 – 2015. She is currently a Trustee of the Shrine of Remembrance in Victoria, and a member of the Monash University Council.
Prior to becoming Principal of Wesley College Melbourne in 2003, Helen was the Academic Director for the International Baccalaureate, based in Cardiff, Wales, UK from 1997 – 2002 and the Director of the Asia Pacific Region from 2002 – 2003. Before these two international appointments, Helen held the position of Head of Campus, Glen Waverley at Wesley College Melbourne 1994 – 1997. In October 2007, she completed the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard University Business School, Cambridge, USA, and in 2010 was appointed a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators and a Fellow of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders in 2011. In 2016, Dr Drennen was recognised in the Australia Day Honours list as a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for “significant service to secondary education through leadership roles, to professional bodies, and to the community".
Since her appointment as Principal of Wesley College Melbourne, she has established the Wesley College Institute for Innovation in Education, the first research-based institute of its type in a school and has also played a leading role, alongside her Aboriginal partners in the Kimberley, Western Australia, in establishing the Yiramalay/Wesley Studio School for students in Years 10 –12 on Leopold Downs Cattle Station via Fitzroy Crossing. The Studio School is a ground-breaking educational initiative and a model of school and community partnership in practice which promises to transform educational opportunity and cross-cultural learning for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australian students together.
In 2016, the College celebrates its sesquicentenary.