Dr Ros Baxter appointed new Chief Executive of Goodstart Early Learning
The Sector > Provider > General News > Dr Ros Baxter appointed new Chief Executive of Goodstart Early Learning

Dr Ros Baxter appointed new Chief Executive of Goodstart Early Learning

by Jason Roberts

December 14, 2022

Goodstart Early Learning has confirmed that Dr Ros Baxter has been selected as the replacement for departing chief executive officer Julia Davison, with a notional start date of March 2023. 


Board Chair Paul Robertson said an extensive search had been conducted for a new CEO after founding CEO Julia Davison announced her intention to leave the organisation after more than 11 years at the helm earlier this year.


“Dr Ros Baxter will leave her role as Deputy Secretary, Schools in the Federal Department of Education to join us,” Mr Robertson said.


“Ros is a senior executive with 25 years experience as a public sector leader, policy analyst, academic, tribunal member and consultant,” he added, noting that “in addition, her vocal advocacy for reconciliation and support for Indigenous education made her the perfect fit for the role.”


“I know the teachers and educators who work to improve the learning and life outcomes of the children who attend our centres will be very excited to welcome Dr Baxter.”


From social worker to social enterprise leader in 28 year career


In the early stages of her career Dr Baxter undertook a range of social work roles, including as a frontline child protection social worker, and worked with children and families with disability before embarking on an extensive consulting career that saw her work with a diverse range of predominantly Government focused agencies. 


More recently Dr Baxter has held senior positions in the Federal Government including as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Education where she had responsibility for early childhood and prior to that as Deputy Secretary of Integrity and Information at the Department of Human Services. 


As well as being a published author Dr Baxter holds a Doctor of Philosophy (Law) and degrees in law, social work and arts (government). 


Dr Baxter said she was thrilled to be joining a team with such purpose and reach.


“I believe in partnering closely with the families, educators and services who know and understand children best. With four children of my own, I believe that every person is different and differently capable, and that everyone has the right to a great start in life,” she said.


“I’m conscious of the incredible legacy Julia has left, and I’m looking forward to getting to know the children, families and Goodstarters who have shaped this important organisation.”


Julia Davison lauded as she prepares to step down after eleven years as CEO


As well as welcoming Dr Baxter to Goodstart Mr Robertson, on behalf of the Board and the entire Goodstart family, thanked Ms Davison for her leadership and vision over the past eleven years. 


“As our founding CEO Julia has overseen Goodstart’s journey to financial stability, quality improvement and empowering centre teams to take the lead. At the same time her commitment and passion has ensured the organisation also focused on social inclusion, reconciliation and safety,” Mr Robertson said in a statement released confirming Ms Davison’s departure in July 2022


Ms Davison joined Goodstart in February 2011, at a point in time when Goodstart had around 660 centres and 15,000 team members, but was a new kind of social venture that had never been launched at scale before. 


“I can’t think of a better person to take on the role at this time, Ros brings a deep understanding of the value of early learning and is deeply committed to Goodstart’s vision in ensuring all children have the best possible start in life,” Ms Davison said.


“As a for-purpose organisation Goodstart has always advocated on behalf of all Australia’s children, especially the most vulnerable, and I know Ros will continue this important work with great skill and vigour.”

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