Emeritus Professor Karen Starr

Emeritus Professor Karen Starr


Karen has held senior leadership roles as a university Professorial Chair, school principal (K-12), chief state-wide curriculum writer, author and researcher (focusing on education leadership, education business, policy, equity and learning ).

She also spent 19 years in the mutual banking sector as a company director.

Karen specialises in university, vocational and school education searches, including university academics and faculty executives, school principals and education directors, CEOs in state and federal education portfolios and their direct reports, as well as executive appointments in other sectors that have a public / people focus.

Karen brings highly relevant practical and strategic experience to her search work, complemented by academic research and extensive national and international networks. Her focus at SHK has been predominantly in higher education, vocational education and training, schooling (government, independent and Catholic), and the early learning and education sectors.

She has also supported many educational professional associations in identifying their leadership cohorts. Karen has served as International Adviser to the Association of School Business Officials International (USA) and is on the Editorial Board of three international scholarly journals.

She has received numerous commendations throughout her career, including winner of a National Telstra Business Woman of the Year Award for the not-for-profit sector, Educator of the Year Award (Australian Council for Education Leaders Victoria) and Vice Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

The Deakin University Council conferred the title of Emeritus Professor on Karen in May 2020 in acknowledgement of her distinguished academic service to the University, including through research and leading a new field of study for Australian education .

Karen holds a Doctor of Philosophy and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Australian College of Educators and the Australian Council for Educational Leaders.

Recent appointments

  • Faculty General Manager – university sector

  • Executive Director, People, Culture and Corporate Services – vocational education sector

  • Executive Director, People and Culture – not-for-profit sector

  • Director, People and Culture – government statutory body

  • Director – government statutory authority

  • Director / CEO – state government agency

  • Director of Learning – university sector

  • Associate Director, Policy and Research – national investment sector.