- Change Agent
Dr Kathleen (Kath) Watson is a well known and highly regarded leader in the field of education. She had a 40-year career in the Victorian State High School system where she pioneered the introduction of counselling services and the parent-teacher movement in State secondary schools.
In 1970, Kath was appointed Principal of the Collingwood Co-Educational High School, one of the first Victorian women to hold such a position. In 1976, Kath became Principal of Mitcham High School, and in 1987 was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her services to education.
Since her retirement, Kath has been an active philanthropist in educational settings and has held many board, council and committee memberships, including as founding chairperson of the David Burgess Foundation, which awards annual scholarships to disadvantaged students from state secondary schools to support their studies at tertiary level.
Kath is a longstanding advocate of the education of women and served on the Swinburne University of Technology Council for 12 years, from 1992-2004. In 2010, the Kath Watson Foundation was established to encourage the increased participation of female students from disadvantaged backgrounds to undertake and/or continue tertiary education at Swinburne University, and to enable female students to achieve their full academic potential. In 2011, Swinburne awarded Kath an Honorary Doctorate for her service to education.
Kath also has an active commitment to improving the lives of people with severe disability and served several terms on the board of the Association for the Severely Handicapped (now part of 'SCOPE'), including two years as President.