Dear friend of Community Colleges Australia,
It is with both sadness and gratitude that I announce that after more than seven years of service, Dr Don Perlgut has resigned from his position as CEO of Community Colleges Australia (CCA), effective 14 July 2023.
Since he commenced as CEO in late 2015, Don has played a critical role in the development, growth and success of the organisation. We thank him for his energy, enthusiasm, professionalism, creativity and fabulous ability to articulate our sector’s needs, combined with a deep knowledge of and unwavering commitment to Australia’s not-for-profit adult and community education (ACE) sector.
During his time with CCA, Don has been instrumental in engaging with all levels of government with sensitivity, flair and purpose; providing guidance, support, advice and direct assistance to our members as they faced business, organisational and other challenges; bringing our stakeholder and member communications to an unprecedented high level; developing and maintaining a number of new organisational partnerships – and keeping the previous ones going; and ensuring CCA’s finances and internal governance are strong and rigorous.
In addition to supervising five successful in-person conferences and two major online summits, Don implemented many new initiatives:
- the highly successful Community Education Student of the Year Awards – about to enter its eighth year;
- the powerful Community Education Trainer of the Year Awards – soon to be in its second year;
- major action research studies on Western Sydney, NSW regional and rural economic development and Indigenous community engagement;
- valuable coaching, mentoring and other executive development programs for members, along with development and distribution of leadership resources in audio podcasts and other formats;
- increased networking of educational and other member staff; and
- engaging a large number of business experts, strategists, researchers and educational leaders from around Australia and six other countries to share their ideas with members.
When the pandemic commenced three years ago, CCA maintained and in fact increased its member services, easily pivoting to run all activities online and embrace digital communications. Don committed himself to ensuring all CCA members would survive the business challenges that COVID-19 threw their way and, in that, he has been uniquely successful. Our membership – and the ACE sector more broadly – is now poised to continue its upward trend of service and delivering quality education and training to Australian learners and their communities.
Throughout his time with CCA, Don has been tireless in communicating CCA’s messages, speaking at more than 40 conferences and major events and providing significant “thought leadership” through more than 70 government submissions and published articles. He has ensured CCA’s “voice” has been heard not only in the “corridors of power”, but by all major players in Australian post-secondary education landscape.
Don will be greatly missed by CCA staff, the Board, our members and partners alike. We look forward to following the success of his career and are hopeful and excited as he continues to pursue his passions to improve social and economic justice outcomes for Australia’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups and communities.
Over the next few months, the CCA Board will conduct a search to find a new CEO; it is our priority to find the best individual to lead our organisation into the future. I look forward to your support as we strive to fulfill our mission to strengthen Australian not-for-profit community education as a vital local service, and our vision to be recognised nationally as the leading influencer of quality community education provision through powerful representation, advocacy and support for members at state and national levels.
Chair, Community Colleges Australia & CEO, TLK Community College