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Professor Chris Sarra


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Professor Chris Sarra is an inspirational Australian who has gained international recognition for his leadership in indigenous education. An Australian of the Year finalist and former Queenslander of the Year, his strategic focus and leadership has changed the lives of young Australians through his ‘Stronger Smarter Institute’.

The youngest of ten children, Chris grew up in Bundaberg and learnt first-hand the challenges faced by many indigenous Australians. As a school principal in Cherbourg he turned a lifetime of study and dedication into a new way forward for children who needed someone to believe in what they could achieve.

The Strong & Smart philosophy program he developed emphasised a positive sense of Aboriginal identity and led to dramatic improvements in educational outcomes that saw the school win national acclaim. Quickly recognised as an important blue-print for indigenous education, the program has led to Chris being regarded as one of the most successful educators in Australia today.

He brings to the Commission not only a passion for indigenous Australia but also an insightful and quiet brand of leadership that can inspire those around him to strive for a better future. Chris has previously worked with the Harvey Norman All Stars Learn Earn Legend! Indigenous team and the All Stars Indigenous Youth Summit.

As Rugby League continues its commitment to indigenous school to work programs, indigenous health and to ‘Closing the Gap’ that divides indigenous and non-indigenous communities, Professor Chris Sarra brings an important perspective to the game’s decision making process.


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