About Us

The Australian College of Educators (ACE) is the national professional association for the education profession. The ACE is a united movement for the profession across all levels, sectors, systems and subjects.


Dr Phil Lambert, FACE, PSM –  President Australian College of Educators

On behalf of the Board of the Australian College of Educators, I would like to welcome you to the  ACE website.

Established in 1959, the College is the longest serving professional association for Australian Educators. We have a proud history and connection with the leading educators, thinkers and innovators of Australian Education.

Education is a complex profession. It is also an essential driving component of Australian society and economy. To this end, educators play an intrinsic role in the success of Australia. This is the primary reason the Australian College of Educators was established nearly 60 years ago. The founders recognised the need for a truly united, collaborative, focused and effective peak professional association for all educators across all sectors and all systems.

We operate in the Australian education sphere at an incredibly interesting and challenging time. Over the course of the last decade, we have been involved in significant improvements in the way we, as professionals, understand and deliver education. It is important to realise, however, that as the leaders of our profession, we must ensure that our experience, expertise and understanding are leading the policy debate and being applied in the practical setting.

This is what the Australian College of Educators was established to be, and this is what we continue to work tirelessly to achieve.

Warmest Regards,

Phil Lambert

The role of the College

ACE is a leader and advocate for the teaching profession across Australia. The college delivers a range of services and support that is designed by the profession for the profession, with the fundamental objective to provide the best outcomes for Australian students, across all levels of education.

The College offers open and collaborative opportunities for our broad membership to actively engage in the broader education policy debate and to have a say in their profession. ACE continues to be a representative, authoritative, professional association for the teaching profession.

Structure of the College

It has branches located in each state and territory run by members for members.

The National Office is located in Melbourne, with dedicated full-time staff overseeing the management and operation of the Association.

ACE is registered under the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission and operates as a company limited by guarantee. 

As defined by the ACE Constitution:

  • The ACE Board is responsible for the governance of the ACE and has the power to co-opt outside expertise, especially in the areas of finance and business. Members include: the National President (Chair), the National President-elect and/or the Immediate Past President.
  • The ACE National Council is comprised of State Presidents and is a forum for debate and communication that is responsible for ensuring the interests of members at state level are considered in the College’s planning and decision making. Members include: All State Presidents, the National President, National President-elect.
  • ACE Regional Committees are established by the ACE Board and are responsible for promoting the organisation’s goals by providing strategic activities and initiatives for local members. These groups normally comprise five members under the leadership of a Regional President.

For further information on the College’s Governance structure please refer to the ACE Constitution and By-Laws

ACE Constitution

ACE By-Laws 2018

2018/2019 Australian College of Educators Board of Directors


ACE President and Board Chair Dr Phil Lambert FACE, PSM
ACE Immediate Past President Professor Diane Mayer

Board Members

Associate Professor, Dr Anne Coffey MACE ACE President Western Australia
Dr Jill Abell, ALIA, MACE ACE President Tasmania
Associate Professor David Paterson PhD, FACE ACE President Australian Capital Territory
Dr Geoff Newcombe AM Co-Opted Member, CEO AISNSW
Associate Professor John Quay MACE ACE President Victoria
Mr Luke Ralph MACE Co-Opted Member and ACE President Brisbane Metro Region

Board Observers

Ms Lila Mularczyk OAM FACE ACE President New South Wales
Mr Jason Loke MACE ACE President South Australia

History of the College

The Australian College of Educators was formally established (as the Australian College of Education) in May 1959 at a Founders’ Convention held at Geelong Grammar School. The then-Headmaster of Geelong Grammar School, Dr James Ralph Darling, invited 118 educators from around Australia to the Founders’ Convention in May 1959. It was a representative gathering from the State, Independent and Catholic sectors, representing all levels of education from early childhood through to tertiary.

The first National Conference, held at the University of Sydney was opened by the Governor-General of Australia. Within two years, branches had been established in all states, and later in the ACT, PNG (for a short time prior to independence) and the NT. The first Buntine Oration (given every second year) was delivered in Melbourne in 1962 by Professor Peter Karmel. Involvement of educators in branch and regional activities has been a key aspect of the life of the College for the past fifty years.

The first major project of the College, a five-year survey of teachers in Australia, involved all states in a comprehensive review of teachers and teaching. The first report, completed in 1967, was followed by others roughly on a decade by decade basis. Over the years ACE has been involved in major research projects at both national and state levels, and made many submissions to government at national and state levels.


From the very beginning, College Presidents were drawn from the ranks of Director Generals of Education, senior educators in schools and universities, and from national organisations such as the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). Sir James Darling was followed as National President by Sir Harold Wyndham (NSW) and then by Professor Charles Moorhouse (Victoria). Dr Eve Eden (Victoria) was the first female President.

In 1984, ACE celebrated its Silver Jubilee, with events at Geelong Grammar School, followed by a National Conference at the Australian National University.

In May 2009, with one of the Founder members – former Director-General of Education in Victoria, Dr Lawrie Shears – as an honoured guest, the College celebrated its 50th year with a National Conference and celebrations where it all began – in Geelong. 

The strength of the College has always been its involvement of educators from all sectors and all levels of education, thus prompting a founder member, Dr A W Jones, to focus his writings on the collegial aspect of the College as ‘bridging the gaps’ by bringing together state, independent and catholic teachers from early childhood to tertiary level.