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Simon Gipson to be New CEO of The Song Room; Caroline Aebersold to Step Down After 12 Successful Years

After 12 successful years as CEO of The Song Room, Caroline Aebersold will be stepping down early in 2018, as Simon Gipson joins The Song Room as CEO in February.

The Song Room is a national not-for-profit organisation that brightens the futures of Australia’s most disadvantaged children with tailored, high-quality music and arts programs, delivered in partnership with schools across the country. Its programs are independently proven to lift the academic performance, school attendance, social-emotional wellbeing and community involvement of Australian school children.

Of Aebersold’s departure, Andrew Baxter, Chair of The Song Room, said, “On behalf of the Board and team, we wish Caroline all the best and thank her wholeheartedly for her enormous contribution to the organisation and communities we work with over the years”.

Under Caroline’s leadership, the organisation has achieved extraordinary outcomes, growing 10-fold from a small Victorian program to a national organisation working in more than 100 disadvantaged communities face-to-face each year and now providing cutting-edge digital education programs in more than 8,000 Australian schools.

The Song Room’s influential and widely-publicised research has demonstrated the organisation’s significant impact on school attendance, academic achievement and well-being for disadvantaged young people, which has now been published in an international book as an exemplary model of bridging the education gap for disadvantaged young people.

Over this period, The Song Room has been recognised for its innovation and outcomes through numerous awards, including being the only Australian organisation to win a World Innovation in Education (WISE) Award, and Caroline’s leadership recognised as a finalist in the Telstra Business Woman of the Year awards, amongst other achievements.

More recently, Caroline has also led the establishment of a new Social Enterprise for The Song Room, leveraging its highly successful digital education platform into new markets in Australia and internationally. As part of the succession plan with our new CEO, she looks forward to leading the growth of this new enterprise for a period in 2018, to build on its momentum and support a smooth transition.

“I remain deeply committed to the work of The Song Room and my time as CEO has been a highly rewarding part of my life for over a decade. I look forward to ensuring that our Social Enterprise will leave a lasting legacy of a sustainable revenue source for the important work we do in some of Australia’s most disadvantaged communities.”, said Aebersold.

Baxter added that “We are grateful for the exceptional commitment Caroline has
shown to The Song Room and look forward to this next exciting chapter as we warmly welcome Simon Gipson to the team.”

Mr Gipson brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the organisation as a highly regarded leader in the education sector. He is stepping down as Head of St Michael’s Grammar School in Melbourne, a learning institution well known for the strength of its culture and its commitment to the transformative importance of learning through the Arts.  Since his appointment as Head in 2000, Simon has developed an exceptional team of educators and students and established a vibrant learning community

“I am thrilled to be moving to The Song Room and working with the board and team to further transform possibilities and opportunities in education in Australia though the power of creative learning in the Arts, ” said Gipson.

His leadership has been recognised widely, having been awarded the Hedley Beare Educator of the Year by the Australian Council for Educational Leaders in 2009. In 2013, he was elected a National Fellow of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders in recognition of his ‘distinguished career as an educator’ and for his ‘influence and recognition as an educational leader.’ In 2014, he was admitted as a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators ‘in recognition of his outstanding contribution to education.’

“We are thrilled that Simon will be leading The Song Room into its next stage and feel confident he will enable us to achieve great success in the future. With a passion and commitment to education and the arts, Simon is looking forward to building on The Song Room’s success and will add enormous value to the organisation, the communities we work with and to the sector more widely,” said Baxter.

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