Dr Andrew Bills

Academic Status

College of Education, Psychology and Social Work

place Bedford Park (5.51)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Andrew Bills is a teacher and researcher in educational leadership foregrounding policy, politics and practice. In 2022, he won the ACEL SA Distinguished Contribution to Research in Education Leadership Award. He is a translational researcher. His work is in service to schools and school systems to address inequality and lift equity. His primary audience for teaching, research, and public presentations are system leaders, school principals and teachers.

Prior to university employment, he developed three alternative schools for disadvantaged young people and worked in the SA Education Department as a diagnostic school reviewer, educational leadership consultant, school counsellor, special education teacher and action researcher. He works [and has worked] in partnership with international, national and state educational organisations and educational stakeholders including:

  • The Australian Education Union (AEU);
  • The University of South Australia (UniSA);
  • Research Fellow on two Australian Research Council (ARC) projects in partnership with DfE and UniSA;
  • Big Picture Education Australia (BPEA);
  • The Department for Education (DfE);
  • The Australian National Schools Network (ANSN);
  • Catholic Education South Australia (CESA);
  • College Street Nornal School (New Zealand);
  • The Australian Association for Flexible and Inclusive Education (AAFIE);
  • The Independent Schools Sector;
  • The Commissioner for Children and Young People;
  • Ministers for Education and Education System leaders.

In these partnerships Andrew has led and continues to lead professional development for new and experienced school leaders and has managed, designed and developed three schools using action research and appreciative inquiry as the driving school establishment and formation methodologies.

Andrew currently leads three externally funded research projects in partnership with university academics, school principals, education system bureaucrats and teacher-leaders that seek to collectively build and develop socially just schooling forms in South Australia.

He works within the research traditions of phenomenology and critical sociology, bringing appreciative inquiry, post-structural policy analysis and critical action research methodologies to his work.


Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) (1989) Charles Darwin University

Graduate Diploma Teaching (1992) Flinders University

Graduate Diploma in Educational Counselling (1996) University of South Australia

Masters in Educational Counselling (1999) University of South Australia

Workplace Assessor Training and Cerification (2003)

Graduate Certificate in Education- Inclusive Practice (2005) University of Tasmania

Doctor of Education (2011) University of Adelaide

Honours, awards and grants
  • ACEL SA (2022) Distingushed Contribution to Research in Educational Leadership Award:
  • Dean of Education Award (2011) for Educational Doctorate (Adelaide University) re (Re) engagement of early school leavers in credentialled senior school learning:
  • SA Great Award (2004) School improvement and engagement for at-risk students.
Key responsibilities

Educational Leadership Academic- Policy, Politics and Practice

Coordinator Topics

  • Leaders and Leadership (EDUC8602)
  • Pedagogical Leadership (EDUC8618)
  • Knowledge Management (EDUC9605)
  • Educational Policy, Politics and Practice (EDUC9136)

Lecture Topics

  • Pedagogical Leadership (EDUC8618)
  • Strategic Leadership (EDUC8601)
  • Knowledge Management (EDUC9605)
  • Educational Policy, Politics and Practice (EDUC9136)


  • The Growing NGUTU College Ethnographic Study (2022 to 2025)
  • The SACE Innovation Project with SAS Schools (2022 to 2025)
  • The REAL Hope action research project with CESA (2019 to 2024)
  • Logics of School Design at the ASMS (2016 to 2018)
  • Understanding School Capacity Building Approaches in NZ (2014 to 2016)
  • Action research for enterprise curriculum design at Youth Inc. (2019 to 2023)
  • Initiated a new STEAM agenda (2016 to 2017) at Springbank College in partnership with Flinders University.

Stakeholder Membership and Community Activity

  • Leading a SIG for AAFIE re curriculum design for improved student opportunity
  • DfE "World Class" in 2022 critiqued and published as exclusionary policy
  • University Advisor- CESA Vision for the North
  • Critical Leadership friend with NGUTU College, Youth Inc., Mount Barker High School and the ASMS
  • Member of the ANSN- Big Picture Education Australia
  • Member of the Australian College of Educational Leadership (ACEL)
  • Member of theAustralian College of Education (ACE)
  • Member of the Australian Association for Flexible and Inclusive Education (AAFIE)
  • Consultancy work with SA emerging schools

Doctoral Completions

  • Esther Yu EdD (2021): School Choice
  • Murray Fletcher PhD (2020): A Phenomenology of Educational Leadership
  • Sabilil Muttaqin PhD (2019): A Multiple Case Study Approach Investigating Sustinable Indonesian Adaptation in Unstable Public Policy Times
  • Khambane Panachay PhD (2018): Sociolgical Exploration of Government Education Policy in Laos
  • Peter Scragg EdD (2016): A 'lived experience' Phenomenological Research Approach with Education Leaders focussing on their Working Lives.
Teaching interests

The topics I teach draw from the lived experiences and professional challenges confronted by my students. These are then placed in dialectical tension with the leading literature in the field of study. Through a dialogic and dialectic interchange between theory and professional experience, my students can learn new ways of seeing the world and leading through educational challenges.

Doctoral Supervision in Educational Leadership- Policy, Politics and Practice I work to foster in all students the critical and creative dispositions to become more radical an pragmatic educational leaders in a neoliberal world that is shutting down these particular dispositions and producung instrumental leader compliance.This requires professional work against the grain and calls upon leaders to feel free to be themselves in a world that is calling them to be anything but themselves. Here, I work to promote in all of my students the courage to teach and the courage to lead- a renewed sense of authenticity in being and becoming an educational leader.

  • Research epistomologies in Critical Educational Sociology and Phenomenology
  • Policy Sociology
  • Knowledge Management and Pedagogical Leadership
  • Relational Educational Leadership
  • Appreciative Inquiry and Policy Evaluation
Topic coordinator
EDUC8602 Leaders and Leadership
EDUC8618 Pedagogical Leadership
EDUC9605 Knowledge Management
EDUC9136 Educational Policy, Politics and Practice
Topic lecturer
EDUC9618 Pedagogical Leadership
EDUC9723 Coursework Project in Education (Part 2)
EDUC9602 Leaders and Leadership
EDUC9722 Coursework Project
EDUC9605 Knowledge Management
EDUC9136 Educational Policy, Politics and Practice
Supervisory interests
Action research
Education policy
Educational leadership and management
Educational sociology and phenomenology
Higher degree by research supervision
Principal supervisor: Phenomenology (1), Public Policy (1)
Associate supervisor: Leadership and Organisational Change (5), Critical sociology (1)
Associate supervisor: Phenomenology (1), Sociology of Leadership (1)
Higher degree by research student achievements
Khambane Panachay

PhD - APR 2019

Murray Fletcher

PhD - AUG 2020

Sabilil Mutaqin

PhD - MAR 2020

Esther Yu

Educational Doctorate - MAR 2021

Peter Scragg

Educational Doctorate - MAR 2016

Expert for media contact
Education - Middle School
Education - Policy
Education - Year 12
Available for contact via
Or contact the media team
+61 8 82012092
0427 398 713
Media expertise
  • Education - Middle School
  • Education - Policy
  • Education - Year 12