About WISA

WISA is a national not for profit organisation established in May 2015. Working WISA not harder and building strategic sustainable resources for schools to improve wellbeing underpins all of our work.


School communities building resilience in all students, especially the most marginalised and those at risk of marginalisation, so they can reach their potential in education and in life.


To work collaboratively with and support school communities in building a strategic whole of school approach to health and wellbeing that creates a socially just environment where all students can thrive, particularly those at risk of or who are being marginalized.

WISA Goals

1. WISA is an ethical, sustainable and member-based not for profit organisation

  • Maintaining charitable status
  • Diverse funding sources/streams
  • Efficient and effective operations and governance
  • Effective in growing and guiding WISA
  • Understands and mitigates risks

2. WISA is a valuable support for school leaders of wellbeing for enabling socially just outcomes

  • Identify strategies that increase protective factors and reduce risk factors in marginalised communities
  • Empower school leaders of wellbeing to advocate and achieve systemic school improvement
  • Lead research-informed and evidence based professional development and best practice in school wellbeing
  • Actively engage school leaders of wellbeing through networks and training
  • Lead the establishment of a vibrant national school wellbeing association
  • Identify and promote the development of national benchmark standards for school wellbeing

What we offer

There are four key strategic area’s that WISA has created to help school communities work in a planned strategic sustainable approach to addressing school wellbeing. These are as follows:

1. Provide support and build the capacity of school leaders of wellbeing

  • Provision of three levels of training incl. tools, resources and skills practice.
  • Essential / Basic Training for School Leaders of Wellbeing
  • Consolidating the School Wellbeing role which builds upon Essential Basic Training
  • Sustaining best practice in the Wellbeing role which builds upon the previous Consolidating training
  • Free annual membership for school leaders of wellbeing. Subscription provides access to newsletters, resources/tools & discounts
  • Mentor support for Leaders of School Wellbeing which offers individualised sessions tailored to address their specific needs, supporting and guiding them to work in a planned strategic whole school approach to address the Wellbeing needs, strengths and challenges within their school community.

2. Enabling school leadership and governance to effectively resource wellbeing in their school

  • A free School Governance and Leadership powerpoint presentation outlining the evidence of why wellbeing is school core business and the critically important steps required to implement a whole of school community approach to addressing Wellbeing.
  • 2-day Leadership Wellbeing Training for School Principals, Deputy Principals and Leadership roles. Day One addresses leader wellbeing and Day 2 the effective leading and resourcing of whole school community wellbeing. This training can be broken into single days or 5 x 2 hour after school modules.
  • Specifically tailored training to address the wellbeing of school leaders, governance bodies and staff at your school or network of schools.
  • Mentor support is available to work with school leadership in building and resourcing a whole of school approach to addressing Wellbeing linked to the schools strategic planning cycle.

3. Strategies for working with your most vulnerable students

  • A one day training or smaller tailored modules which can be provided for your whole school staff or district. This includes best practice tools and strategies to use.
  • Intervention, support and advice can be provided to your school upon request.

4. Population based approaches to school community wellbeing

  • WISA Conferences bring together leading academics, researchers and practitioners from across Australia to showcase school community wellbeing best practice, provide opportunities for knowledge and resource sharing and skill development
  • Staff Wellbeing training in school or district. One day or specifically tailored modules.
  • Most Effective Interventions to prevent, reduce and resolve bullying in schools is a vitally important one-day training for school leaders and staff. In school or at a district level.
  • The Balanced Student – A Whole of Person Approach to Student Wellbeing. The Balanced Student program is provided in school directly to students or as a teacher training. It is unique in taking a whole of person approach to student wellbeing, empowerment and resilience. Key elements focused on include Goal Setting, Time Management, Study Skills, Exercise, Nutrition, Sleep, Anxiety and Stress Management, Mental Strength and Mindfulness.
  • Mindfulness for Teachers and School Leaders is a practical, workshop style program focusing on how Mindfulness can improve teacher wellbeing and student wellbeing.
  • State and National Wellbeing in Schools Awards. The awards encourage and empower Australian school aged students, staff and members of the broader school community to consider and create something that improves the health, wellbeing and basic human rights of individuals within school communities. The Awards provide a mechanism to create and showcase innovation, celebrate positive strategies and empower children, young people and adults to be innovative and make a positive difference to others at a local community level through school communities. In each state there is a junior and senior student award, a school staff member award, and a school community member award. Each of the state recipients will automatically be in the draw to be selected as a national winner.

Child Safe Standards

WISA is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people and to keep children safe; protect their rights; prevent, identify, and report child harm or abuse; and we promote. See the Child Safe Standards below.

Child Safe Standard 1

Organisations establish a culturally safe environment in which the diverse and unique identities and experiences of Aboriginal children and young people are respected and valued.

Child Safe Standard 2

Child safety and wellbeing is embedded in organisational leadership, governance, and culture.

Child Safe Standard 3

Children and young people are empowered about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously.

Child Safe Standard 4

Families and communities are informed and involved in promoting child safety and wellbeing.

Child Safe Standard 5

Equity is upheld, and diverse needs respected in policy and practice.

Child Safe Standard 6

People working with children and young people are suitable and supported to reflect child safety and wellbeing values in practice.

Child Safe Standard 7

Processes for complaints and concerns are child focused.

Child Safe Standard 8

Child safety and wellbeing is embedded in organisational leadership, governance, and culture.

Child Safe Standard 9

Physical and online environments promote safety and wellbeing while minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed.

Child Safe Standard 10

Implementation of the Child Safe Standards is regularly reviewed and improved.

Child Safe Standard 11

Policies and procedures document how the organisation is safe for children and young people.


Please download our reports from the links below

Reports 2022-2023
Reports 2020-2021
Reports 2018-2019
Reports 2016-2017
Reports 2021-2022
Reports 2019-2020
Reports 2017-2018
Reports 2015-2016

The Team

The Board, staff and patrons of WISA bring a wealth of expertise and experience to the organisation having worked at a local, state, national and international level in education and wellbeing. We may be a new organisation but there are very experienced hands and heads with big hearts in our organisation.

WISA Board

Jac Van Velsen – WISA CEO and Board Member M.Ed, Grad Cert MH, DipYW

Jac together with Kerry Ashley, Ros Pretlove and Jeremy Hurley was a co-founder of WISA in 2015. She established the not for profit organization which has obtained full charity status. Early work involved the organisation of state conferences and shared writing, development and delivery of WISA resources. Jac brings to this role many years of project management, wellbeing and health promotion in education and community development. She has extensive experience working at a local, regional, state and national level addressing school wellbeing and health promotion. She was a national manager of the KidsMatter Primary school mental health and wellbeing initiative with Principals Australia Institute, supporting the implementation across Australia to schools at a local level. This also included the redevelopment of the KidsMatter resources content for schools into blended learning – a mix of face to face and online content. Jac worked with the Australian Psychological Society in the development of the hardcopy KidsMatter resources; and later was involved in the development of the strategic step by step guide for school wellbeing teams Action Team Handbook guiding a whole of school approach with best practice implementation science for school communities.

Her work has included providing a wide range of wellbeing resourcing at a local level directly to school leaders, staff, students and parents in primary and secondary schools across Western Victoria through the Catholic Education Office. This included linking schools to services in the broader community.

Rich experience was gained as the Victorian Coordinator for the Australian Principals Association Professional Development Council, in working strategically at a state level. This involved implementing MindMatters, a national mental health promotion initiative for secondary schools, working closely with secondary schools across all three education sectors, as well as the community sector, delivering professional learning to thousands of secondary school staff and hundreds of schools. Other rich opportunities to build skills and knowledge in working in the education and community sectors were through working in the School Focused Youth Service, local Government Youth Services and youth and adult homeless/housing services. Jac has a youth work, community development and education background working strongly within a social justice and community development approach.

Dr Angela Kelly – WISA Board Member & Chair

Angela is a passionate educator spanning 50 years with experience in remote, rural communities, regional & city schools.  She has experience in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.  Angela has visited schools in Canada, United States, England, Scotland, Ireland, Finland, Israel, Singapore, and Tanzania. This experience has given her a broad understanding of education systems throughout the world.

Since ‘retiring’ in 2022, Angela has ensured she has a voice in the design and creation of vibrant learning spaces for students through her consultancy work in her son’s architect firm.  Angela’s strongest interest is in school culture – in the creation of school communities where the building of meaningful relationships is core business and their ‘reason to be.’  She believes that within school communities, trust becomes the canvas on which to build strong connections with students, educators and families; hence learning is deep, powerful and life-giving where students thrive and learn life lessons of respect and genuine care for another.  She holds a deep belief in the phrase: ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’

Angela holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership/Teaching & Learning, Master of Well-Being, Master of Educational Leadership, Master of Applied Science & Diploma of Education.

Dr Lyn O'Grady - WISA Board Member and Secretary

Lyn O’Grady is a Community Psychologist with a particular interest in the mental health and wellbeing of children, young people, and families. She has over three decades of work experience in the community, education, and health sectors. She is currently working in private practice, with a small client caseload, supervising psychology interns, training, and consulting. She has worked in various roles in schools, including as a school psychologist with the Victorian Education Department. She was also the Project Manager for the Australian Psychological Society with the national KidsMatter Project, a promotion, prevention and early intervention initiative for early childhood settings and schools. Throughout her career, Lyn has continued to have a strong interest in supporting parents and in 2020 published a book titled “Keeping our Kids Alive, Parenting a Suicidal Young Person”. 

Lyn holds a Doctorate in Applied Psychology (Community) from Victoria University and a Master of Suicidology from Griffith University. 

Lyn believes that schools provide one of the few remaining institutions in our communities that can support students and the adults that care for them. Authentic partnerships and effective working relationships between the student, family and school staff can create a nurturing village that children and young people need to flourish in a changing world. 

Mick Turner – WISA Board member

Mick has over 40 years’ experience working as a youth worker in both government and non-government sectors.  An experienced face to face worker with high-risk young people in outreach settings, alcohol and other drug settings, youth justice, schools, and a broad range of community contexts.  Mick has also worked at a statewide and regional level developing programs, delivering services, managing services and in government planning roles.  Mick brings a particular hands-on approach to working with young people, their peers and their families.  Mick is passionate about schools and the role they can play in keeping the most vulnerable children and young people safe.

Dr Jenna Gillett-Swan – WISA Board member

Dr Jenna Gillett-Swan is an experienced educator who has worked with students, teachers, and leaders across primary, secondary, and tertiary education contexts for more than 16 years. An Associate Professor and researcher, her work aims to understand and address inequity and threats to wellbeing in student educational experiences through participatory rights-based approaches to educational transformation and school improvement. Jenna holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology, two post-graduate degrees in Education, a Master of Education, a Master of Evaluation, and a PhD (Children’s perspectives and Wellbeing). She is also a Justice of the Peace (Qual) and holds full teacher registration.

Linh Dang – WISA Board member

Bio to come.

Hannah O’Hare – WISA Board Observer (sponsored by Westpac)

Hannah O’Hare is a business development and marketing specialist with particular experience in the professional services industry. Currently Hannah leads the market growth strategy and execution for the Health Industry team at legal and consulting firm, MinterEllison.

Hannah is passionate about health and wellbeing, including improving accessibility and empowering vulnerable communities. Hannah views education as an important tool and schools as a critical setting to achieving better health and wellbeing outcomes for future generations.  

Hannah holds a Bachelor of Arts (psychology / media and communications) from The University of Melbourne.  

Gurpreet Kaur – WISA Board Observer (sponsored by Westpac)

Gurpreet Kaur is an experienced Banking professional of 15 years with a career spanning across Finance, Institutional Banking, Risk and Group Treasury. Currently she works as Associate Director, Group Treasury at Westpac. She has a strong interest in the areas of Leadership Development, Organisational Sustainability & Governance, Building strong stakeholder relationships and helping not-for-profit boards navigate operational challenges.

Gurpreet is engaged with WISA Board as part of the Westpac Board Observer Program, in partnership with MinterEllison.

Gurpreet holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Punjab Enginerring College, India) in Metallurgy and is part of the local alumni chapter, PECOSA Australia.

Gurpreet believes that in schools, the focus should be on holistic development of children and providing them with a safe and familiar learning space that activates their desire to learn. As a parent, Gurpreet is familiar with the Australian education system and is very motivated towards general welfare of children alongwith learning advancement. Every child should get a fair chance at life. School communities are the most instrumental in building empathetic learned societies.

WISA Training and Support Contractors

Jac Van Velsen provides training in Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland. Mentoring and support provided nationally.

Maria Hart provides training in Western Australia.

Angela Kelly provides Leadership Wellbeing training nationally and leadership mentor support.

Lyn O’Grady provides training nationally.

Leigh Bartlett provides training for staff and parents.

Let's Work Together!

WISA can help tailor training or support to suit your local school or network of schools so please speak to us.

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