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Term 2 already! Term 1 for many schools and school systems in Australia has been one of re-orientation and face to face re-connection after 2020, all the while on the balls of the feet ready to spring into rapid action if the context requires it. As well as still working virtually on occasion, I have been enjoying getting on planes again and seeing schools throughout Australia, and reflecting on how fortunate we are. New Zealand is on the radar next! 

 Wanting to capture and embed the learning from remote schooling has opened up great inquiry in many schools, as educators, leaders and students unearth the shift in beliefs and behaviours that the disruption gave us. What beliefs about what education can look like shifted for you?

 If we want behaviour shift, look first to the beliefs that hold the behaviour in place. That is where the real work is..


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I am so excited to announce the release of my latest book: Ferocious Warmth School Leaders Who Inspire and Transform. I have been honoured to have Dr Barbara Watterston (Australia) and Dr Lesley Murrihy(New Zealand) provide the Foreword.

 This book contains not only my thinking and approach to leadership through the concept of Ferocious Warmth and reference to academic-based research but also interviews and examples from educational leaders from Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

  A little bit about Ferocious Warmth from the Introduction: 

 "Ferocious Warmth is firmly and unashamedly a book to celebrate the humanness seen in educational leaders everywhere. The time is ripe for education to transform in all manner of ways. The Ferocious Warmth approach creates cultures of learning, connection, thriving and innovation.

  In the most complex of times, how do leaders stay balanced to deliver results and transformation yet maintain and grow relationships? How do they involve their people to transform education in a way that inspires and motivates? How can they have expertise in both enacting strategy and building culture. How can these be in concert, rather than in polarity as they often are?

Ferocious Warmth leadership blends the duality of leading for results and leading with compassion. These should not be mutually exclusive but often our more negative experiences of leaders are of one or the other. Ferocious Warmth combines outcomes with heart, rigour with connection, high challenge with high support. It’s brave and vulnerable, evidence and innovation, cognitive and emotional. The junction of ferocity and warmth is the sweet spot needed to transform the way we work and find even better ways to provide education that is relevant, accessible and fit for purpose amid the swiftest context changes the world has ever seen. A great leader can access all of these and make it look like a dance, blending moves from both ferociousness and warmth. They build strong commitment and trust with those they lead, working in authentic collaboration, not unchallengeable authority. A Ferocious Warmth leader connects to the students with an enviable professional intimacy. They push the students in their care to aspire to greater heights, while holding the space for compassion and open conversation.

  Unfortunately, the leadership many people experience is far from this. Have you worked with a leader who everyone hides from when they walk down the corridor? One that makes people quake in their boots when they call them into their office for a meeting? On the other extreme, a leader who is so embedded in the emotional lives of their people that they forget to also focus on what needs to be achieved? They stay too long at the barbecue or at Friday night drinks? One extreme is focussed only on results, the other only on relationships. They both sit at the edges of leadership, yet too often they are the default.


‘Ferocious warmth leadership is relevant and needed now more than ever. This book not only inspires but successfully pokes and prods our thinking within a supportive framework, just like a Ferocious Warm leader would do. It is easy to read and cleverly structured with features such as: ‘reflection pauses’ which could be used for conversation starters in team meetings or professional reading book clubs. Continual references to other notable leadership thinking and practical authentic examples of warm, ferocious leadership complement Tracey’s narrative and ensure that it is a valuable reference book too. Most importantly a warm, ferocious leader has students at the centre of everything they do, and the links that Tracey shares to promote increased student voice and agency are clear and powerful. I “dob in” Tracey for writing an uplifting and truly inspiring book. Priority reading for 2021!’

Coralee Pratt, President, ACEL Victoria (Australian Council for Educational Leaders) 

‘This book is deeply insightful and provides a window into the mind, heart and soul of effective leaders. Whilst evidence based and research informed, it is highly actionable and incredibly readable. Ferocious Warmth cements Tracey Ezardas a powerful voice in the space of leadership effectiveness.’

 Debra Punton, Deputy Director, Catholic Identity, Leadership, Learning & Teaching, Diocese of Sale Catholic Education Ltd 

‘If you are looking for a practical book that just ‘makes sense’ - that gives you reflective questions, ideas to try and strategies to implement to establish and grow a high-performing collaborative team in an educational setting, this latest book by Tracey Ezard just hits the mark. Ferocious Warmth is an easy (very worthwhile) read and can be picked up and re visited a number of times, each occasion finding a new gem, an alternate perspective or just reminders of a very common sense approach to leadership. So many examples of real leadership in practise, through challenges and opportunities. What stands out once again is Tracey’s ability to connect with such a range of vibrant people and her ability to share/celebrate their journeys to aid others!’ 

 Sandy Cartwright, Principal, Alawa Primary School Darwin NT