AAE is Australia's network of national professional arts and arts education peak bodies. Collectively, NAAE organisations represent over 10,000 arts educators in primary, secondary and tertiary contexts across the nation.
Saunders has extensive experience in arts education and is a passionate advocate for the Arts and the centrality of the five arts in the lives and education of all young Australians. John initially worked as a teacher and Head of Department: The Arts in schools. He is currently the Director of Education & Community Partnerships at Sydney Theatre Company and President of Drama Australia. Saunders has taught in primary, secondary, tertiary and community contexts over his career. He has recently completed his PhD from The University of Sydney exploring the impact of arts-rich pedagogy in primary classrooms.
Saunders commented: “It is both an honour and a privilege to have the opportunity to work alongside my national arts education colleagues as Chair of the NAAE and continue to advocate for arts education. Dance, Drama, Media Arts, Music and Visual Arts should play a central role in the education of all Australian school students, regardless of socio economic advantage.”
Julie Dyson, the outgoing NAAE Chair, has been a member of the NAAE Council since its first meeting in 1989. Dyson represented Ausdance National from 1989 to 2001 and served the NAAE as Chair from 2002 to 2020. Dyson commented, “It has been a wonderful journey to lead the NAAE over the past 18 years and advocate for arts education at a national level. I’m also thrilled that John will be taking over from me. He has been a member of the NAAE Council for several years and I have no doubt that he will be a wonderful Chair. The NAAE has had some great achievements and I’m proud of the front-line representation we’ve been able to offer our collective membership for more than 30 years.”
Dyson will stay on as immediate past-Chair.
The NAAE will thank Dyson and celebrate its 30th anniversary in February 2020 at an event in Canberra.