Stephanie Hill is a researcher and teacher. Originally from the east coast of Australia, she has worked with schools in Australia, Sweden, the UK, and the UAE.
She has been a secondary teacher for 18 years, learning alongside teachers and students as an English and history teacher and then as the department lead for psychology, where she found a real passion for engaging young people in understanding the brain, and how human beings interact and behave. In her role as a senior leader in a cooperative academy in the UK, Stephanie was responsible for the development of teaching and learning across the organisation. She also has experience leading curriculum development and design within schools, including initiating a curriculum development project across the secondary and primary schools in the co-operative trust.
Stephanie has an MEd in Educational Leadership and School Improvement from the University of Cambridge and has continued this journey as a part-time doctoral researcher investigating the role of student agency in our understanding of how learning is mobilised within schools. She has been a supervisor for undergraduate students at the university, as well as publishing papers and most recently, a chapter in a book exploring leadership for professional learning. She was awarded the BELMAS Reflective Practice Award in 2018 and the Charter Graduate Award (Homerton College) in 2019.
I believe that BELMAS provides a welcoming and meaningful space for researchers and practitioners to share their insights and research, and to discuss and inspire each other. In fact, it was through the society that I was given an opportunity, as a nervous and inexperienced researcher, to share my research with a broader audience at the annual conference. The genuine curiosity that others showed in the research, and the warmth that was shown to the young people who accompanied me, emphasised that this was a unique and much-needed society. Especially for those new to academic research.
Through my experiences as a school leader, and researcher in the field of Educational Leadership and School Improvement, it has become increasingly clear that we need to continue to find ways to bridge the gap between research and practice in ways that are purposeful, respectful and sustainable. In drawing on perspectives from both fields, I hope to make valuable contributions to discussions and initiatives, particularly those concerning how research can more meaningfully contribute to practice, and vice versa.
Over the past year, I have been involved with the BELMAS Awards, Bursaries and Grants Committee. This included discussing and making recommendations on the structure of awards, grants and bursaries, as well as developing criteria rubrics for assessing and providing feedback for applications. In the previous two decades, I have also been involved in developing and facilitating various youth committees to support student voice and agency, as well as being a co-organiser for two TEDxYouth events in the UK. For me, these endeavours have emphasised the increasingly important role that BELMAS plays in connecting and supporting researchers, practitioners, and young people with a diversity of experience, expertise, backgrounds and interests.
This year, I have (temporarily) stepped back from a much-loved role as a school leader and teacher to focus on doctoral research into the role of student agency in our understanding of how learning is mobilised within schools. Fortunately, this means that I am still able to spend significant time in schools and travel between the UK, Australia and the UAE. It would be an honour to contribute to the society and bring perspectives drawn from my experiences of primary through to tertiary education.