Working offshore panel

Chair: Ana Sikorsky

Panellists:  Annette Wilson, Terry Heath

Working in Australian schools in International settings

Annette Wilson1, Terry Heath2

1Executive Principal, Australian International School, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, 2Principal, Yeronga State High School

This is a custom presentation. It is envisaged that it would be a presentation supported by PowerPoint or google slides with additional video content showing excerpts from interviews teachers at the Australian International School.

Being a teacher in an international school is not an option that many teachers would even consider. Annette says that unless she had been asked she would never have thought of this for herself.

This session will provide information on teaching and living in the United Arab Emirates.


Annette Wilson is the Executive Principal of the Australian International School in Shariah, United Arab Emirates. Annette was invited to take up this role in August 2006 and has served for almost twelve years in this position.

The Australian International School is a K-12 school with a student population of 1424 and staff of 220 including 120 teachers.

Annette says that prior to her appointment she had had no thought really of teaching overseas and yet this move has been amazing both personally and professionally!


Terry is currently Principal of Yeronga SHS – an inner Brisbane City Secondary school of approximately 750 students.  With over 75% EAL/D students who are classified as Refugee, Migrant or International Program students, Yeronga is arguably the most multicultural mainstream school in Queensland. The 62 different languages spoken create extraordinary diversity that is fully embraced, and a “global citizen perspective” lives and breathes throughout the school.

Terry’s involvement in education spans over 40 years. He has worked in numerous public schools during his career in the roles of Teacher, Head of Department, Deputy Principal and Principal. He has also worked in education bureaucracy support roles as Principal Personnel Officer and Performance Measurement Officer; however his passion has always been with schools and making a critical difference in the lives of colleagues and students. Terry’s 11-year long role as Yeronga SHS Principal culminated in him being the winner of the DET Metropolitan Region for the 2018 Showcase Awards for Excellence in School leadership.

Terry’s passion for teaching and leading has taken him to numerous schools across Queensland and the world. Prior to being appointed to Yeronga, Terry was seconded by EQI to be part of the establishment group that set up the offshore consultancy program in Qatar. The experience of spending 16 months in Qatar as a School Management Advisor for the Supreme Education Council, provided Terry with a unique insight into the challenges students face when they relocate to another country. These adversities include Language barriers, Cultural and Religious differences, Family Dislocation and limited Social Networks.

Terry values his membership of numerous professional bodies such as QSPA, ACEL, Qld P -12 Assoc, SCIPs  and QTU.  He is recognised as a strong advocate for social justice and equity and serves as member of community organisations, leveraging opportunities for students learning and success. Terry’s advocacy of the school vision and values, and a resolve that multiculturalism be embraced by all members of the school community, has set the context for Yeronga SHS to “live and breathe Internationalism” resulting in Yeronga’s very successful International Program success.


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