John Brenan studied English, History and Philosophy at Melbourne University then added a Bachelor of Education. John taught part time throughout his undergraduate years, but began teaching full time at Trinity Grammar, intending to help out for a term but enjoying it so much that he stayed eleven years. Experience in some tough UK schools, further qualifications from the University of London, posts in other Australian colleges, and part time lecturing at Melbourne and at Monash followed. In 1987 he became Principal of Eltham College. During his thirteen years there he initiated CBD-based special studies, now widely emulated. Overnewton Anglican College was his next school, after which he oversaw the establishment of the City Cite for Ballarat Grammar.
Following an invitation from DEECD, John moved into school reviews and project management. As portfolio leader for a major international consultancy he oversaw projects for 300+ schools in Victoria, with equivalent numbers in the other states during the exciting if hectic years of ‘Building the Education Revolution’, the Australian government’s successful response to the GFC.
A surprising last hurrah as a school Head was to help put Worawa Aboriginal College on a strong footing as a fully boarding school for Aboriginal girls.
John has chaired several national and state professional associations, chiefly in the areas of English, innovative curriculum, sports for co-educational schools and school leadership. He has served on a number of consultant committees for government and he has written and edited extensively. Now retired, John continues to consult—chiefly for Independent and Catholic schools.