Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of the PESA Board, I am writing to share with you that after 12 years of outstanding service, from being a founding board member to serving as PESA Chair, Anne Johnstone has now concluded her tenure as Chair and Director of PESA.

We are thrilled Anne will continue to help lead Positive Education globally and would like to warmly congratulate Anne on her recent appointment as Global Chair of the International Positive Education Network (IPEN) – the global peak body of wellbeing science-in-education practitioners. IPEN brings together teachers, students, parents, higher education, charities, companies and governments to promote positive education internationally.

I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Anne and thank her for her extraordinary contribution to PESA and the field of Positive Education. Anne is an internationally recognised educational leader, renowned for her pioneering work in the field of Positive Education and the wellbeing of young people. During her time as Chair of PESA, Anne has been pivotal in the development and growth of our association, growing PESA to new heights as the peak association for Positive Psychology and wellbeing education in Australia.

Throughout her tenure as PESA Chair, Anne received several accolades, which recognise her transformational education leadership, including Positive Education, namely the Phyllis Evans Medal by the Teachers’ Guild of NSW, an Excellence Award for Principal of the Year (Non-Government) at the 2022 Australian Education Awards for her pioneering work in the education sector and Positive Education. Anne has also been recognised two-years running on The Educator Hot List (2022, 2023) and in 2023 received The Educator Most Influential Educator Award.

Anne’s passion for helping schools along the rewarding journey of Positive Education has been a gift to PESA. Her steadfast commitment to school-wide wellbeing is seen through leading the sharing of theory and practice through successful national and state PESA conferences, facilitating and contributing to collaboration and learning amongst practitioners in the field, and developing and sharing useful resources such as our Positive Education Guide with schools and teachers across Australia. During this time, PESA has become a regional exemplar for Positive Education associations internationally.

As we bid farewell to Anne, I am delighted to share that Warren Symonds has been appointed as Chair, continuing PESA’s mission to lead, develop, and foster the implementation and development of an evidenced based approach to wellbeing education. Warren will retain the position of Chair until his upcoming retirement at the end of this year.

Warren is a recognised national thought leader in wellbeing education and has been a dedicated professional in the Department for Education in South Australia since1987. Warren’s dedication to educational excellence has been recognised through various awards and honours, including the 2017 Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL) SA Educational Leadership Medal and the ACEL National Fellowship award.

Warren is highly committed to the education community and actively participates in various roles outside of his work in schools. He serves as a member of the University of Adelaide School of Education Advisory Board, a director on the Educators SA Board, and has been a Director on PESA’s Board since 2015, where he currently holds the position of Deputy Chair. His diverse involvement demonstrates his unwavering dedication to shaping the educational landscape and creating a positive learning environment for the future of Australians.

Please join me in welcoming Warren to his new role as Chair of PESA. We are confident that under his leadership, PESA will continue to thrive and fulfil its mission of promoting wellbeing education based on evidence and research.

On behalf of the PESA Board, I extend our sincere gratitude to Anne and our warmest congratulations to Warren. I look forward to our continued collaboration and growth as we work together to advance wellbeing science in education.

Warm regards,


Lisa Davias