CCA Announces New CEO to Replace Dr Don Perlgut

Community Colleges Australia (CCA) has selected Russ Hawkins (pictured) as its new CEO, who will commence in mid-July.

Statement from David Mackay, the Chair of CCA Board of Directors:

“I am pleased to confirm the appointment of a new CEO for Community Colleges Australia, who will replace our outgoing CEO, Dr Don Perlgut, this July.

“Following an extensive national search, during which the CCA Board of Directors engaged a professional recruitment consultant, the Board has found an excellent new CEO to help us, and our sector move into our next stage of growth and influence.

Russ Hawkins will commence as CCA CEO on Monday 10 July 2023, and will have an overlap period of a week with our current CEO, Don Perlgut, whose last day is Friday 14 July. Don will spend significant time that week with Russ to ensure continuity of CCA activities and Russ’s early success in the role. As you can see from Russ’s biography, he comes to CCA with a wealth of relevant experience and a commitment to secondary and post-secondary education, community engagement and First Nations communities that the Board is confident will make his work with us a great success.

“The CCA Board is working closely with the CCA teamDr Don PerlgutEvelyn Goodwin (Policy & Projects Manager) and Clare Harris (Office Manager) – who have devoted significant efforts to ensure a seamless executive transition.”

David Mackay, CCA Chair & CEO, TLK Community College

About Russ Hawkins

Russ Hawkins (pictured above) brings to CCA three decades of public and private sector educational leadership and deep policy networks as a teacher, CEO, school principal, project manager, executive principal and policy advisor to government and non-government sectors. Russ grew up in Western Sydney and started his educational leadership journey as a school principal in Bathurst district, leading to primary and high school principal roles across New South Wales and Queensland.

Russ comes to CCA most recently as CEO at AIIC Murri School Brisbane, the largest community controlled First Nations school in the country under the inspirational leadership of Chair Mick Gooda; and as Executive Principal of eight YMCA Schools in Queensland where Russ expanded VET pathways with the Australian Retail Association for student access to training and employment opportunities across 100,000 shop fronts.

Russ is an awarded Fellow of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders and NSW Parents and Citizen Principal of the Year for his community leadership model connecting young parents to adult and community education. In addition to his Bachelor of Education, he earned a Masters of Educational Leadership focussed on education law.

Russ cites his most important and cherished role as a husband to Amanda (a Reading Recovery teacher); together with their two children Laura (a solicitor) and Jack (a real estate agent) they will soon celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. Russ is deeply committed to social justice, social equity, inclusion and CCA member advocacy in adult education with a focus on emotionally intelligent leadership for federal, state and local government policy influence.

Russ will speak at CCA’s October Conference, in a session that outlines the latest (2022) data on how Australian ACE providers over-perform in reaching the most vulnerable and disadvantaged learners, updating previous CCA reports.

Statement from Outgoing CEO, Dr Don Perlgut

“I am thrilled that the CCA Board has found a distinguished leader to succeed me as CEO when I depart in mid-July. I welcome Russ Hawkins, and look forward to assisting his early orientation in the role.” – Dr Don Perlgut

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