Announcement from the Chair

29 May 2023

​Dr Amanda Bell AM
Chair, Council of Governors

'Per Aspera ad Astra’ and so it is that strength and courage are necessary, for the highest and best are not attained without struggle… There is so much that needs reforming in the world today, so many wrongs to be righted, so many poor and sick to be tended, so many weak to be protected. Are not these high adventures which call for women of strength and courage and purpose?

Miss Rennie, Principal 1931-1962

On behalf of the Queenwood Council of Governors, I am delighted to announce that we have appointed Mrs Marise McConaghy as the ninth Principal of Queenwood. She is a woman of strength, courage and purpose who will lead Queenwood, its girls and young women, from 15 January, 2024 onwards.

Mrs McConaghy is highly experienced and especially well regarded in the areas of girls’ education, leadership development of young women and staff, well-being programs and community engagement. Mrs McConaghy’s exemplary executive accomplishments will build upon the exceptional educational leadership of Ms Stone over the past nine years.

Mrs McConaghy is currently Principal of Strathcona Girls Grammar School in Melbourne. Under her leadership over the past nine years, Strathcona has achieved outstanding academic success, won numerous prestigious awards for innovation, wellbeing and STEM, seen strong enrolment growth, launched a thriving philanthropic program and moved forward in master planning. Mrs McConaghy has played a key role in building a vibrant school community of learning and a culture of belonging, with Strathcona known for graduating young women who are intellectually curious, optimistic, life-ready, and empowered to mould their futures in a rapidly changing world.

With a teaching background in English and Drama, Mrs McConaghy has a fine appreciation for the arts and their educational value in building reflective, sincere and empathetic young women. She is well known for encouraging girls to be brave, thoughtful and caring – qualities well aligned to Queenwood’s values of truth, courage and service.

Currently Chair of the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia, she was recently appointed by her peers to represent Australia on the board of the International Coalition of Girls’ Schools based in the United States. The ICGS represents over 550 girls’ schools across 22 countries and 350,000 students.

Commenting on her appointment, Mrs McConaghy said, “I am very much looking forward to leading Queenwood and am honoured to be joining this wonderful school with its rich history, exemplary programs, and wealth of talent. It will be a privilege to work with all members of the School’s community to build upon Queenwood’s strong culture of excellence and achievement. I am truly delighted to be taking up a role that will allow me to continue, in another school context, the work of empowering young women to reach their potential.”

The Council has conducted a lengthy and careful nation-wide and international recruitment process to determine our next Principal. The leadership qualities displayed by Mrs McConaghy are well matched to the executive skills and experience required by the School at this point in its history. Queenwood has some major projects and events on the horizon, including the new arts and technology development in Balmoral; the School’s centenary celebrations in 2025; launching the new philanthropic program and capital appeal; developing the capacity, contribution and leadership potential of staff; and reviewing the positioning and profile of the School in the context of a leading girls’ school in Australia and internationally. We have no doubt that Mrs McConaghy will lead these with distinction.

The appointment of an educational professional of Mrs McConaghy’s calibre and profile would not have been possible without the preceding innovative endeavours, intelligent leadership and daily commitment commitment of Ms Stone to the students of Queenwood ‒ service for which we thank her on behalf of our whole community.

While we are both excited for Ms Stone’s next challenge at Winchester and disappointed she will leave at the end of June, we know she will depart Queenwood with it well positioned for Mrs Moore to step up as Acting Principal in Terms 3 and 4, and then ready the School for Mrs McConaghy in January next year. This seamless transition will ensure Queenwood continues to be a dynamic, innovative, and highly regarded girls’ school in Australia.