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I am currently working at The Ian Potter Foundation as a Research and Evaluation Manager. Previously, I worked as a research assistant to Maxine McKew at the University of Melbourne Graduate School of Education. We are investigating what makes good schools great.

From 2011-2013, I was a research fellow on the E4Kids Project at the University of Melbourne Graduate School of Education. I cleaned and analysed data for a longitudinal study called E4Kids which is tracking 2,500 preschool parents, children and teachers over five years. I used SPSS to clean the data and produce technical reports. I also created the instrument handbook and assisted in writing several academic publications regarding Australian preschools.

Prior to that, from 2008-2011, I instructed kayaking, sailing, climbing, high ropes, and bush navigation in the remote areas of the Marlborough Sounds in New Zealand. I led groups (of 14 people) for 21 days.

From 2005-2008, I completed my PhD at The University of Auckland. My research involved case studies and survey data (regression analysis) and investigated the teacher support systems in low-socioeconomic schools.

From 2001 until 2005, I was a lead teacher at the Aspire Public Schools in Oakland, California. I helped open a high-LBOTE (Spanish) primary school. While there, I designed and facilitated beginning teacher support program. I also received National Board Certification.

Prior to that, I completed my Master of education policy analysis and evaluation at Stanford University. My focus was state-level policy and evaluation of inner-city schools.

I began my career as a primary school teacher in Seattle, Washington, where I taught kindergarten-first grade teacher in urban multiage inclusion model.

My bachelor's degree was a double-major in elementary education and political science. I graduated with honours & highest distinction, Phi Beta Kappa and the top of my class from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

I grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina and was born in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Publications in Refereed Journals:

Main, S. (2009). Balanced development: A Mäori model for beginning teacher support Asia-Pacific Journal of Education. 29(1), 101-117.
Main, S. (2008). Pedagogical oversights: Age and experience in New Zealand induction. Journal of Education for Teaching. 34(2), 121-137.
Main, S. (2007). Toward a pedagogical framework: New Zealand induction. Journal of In-Service Education, 33(2), 237-240.

Other publications include many of the technical manuals for the E4Kids project within the University of Melbourne's Graduate School of Education. I have recently completed a second Masters degree in Journalism and have published articles in the Conversation, the Age, the Herald-Sun, the ABC online, New Matilda, Crikey and The Citizen.


  • –present
    Researcher, University of Melbourne