SSA Board

President - Gary McSweeney

Gary is currently a Special Projects Manager in the NSW Catholic Schools Office Armidale, has been a School Principal in four schools over 28 years, senior vice-president of the New South Wales Primary Schools Sports Association from 2010 -2021 and Board member of School Sport Australia in 2019 & 2020. His leadership style advocates for the importance of collaboration and team work and the establishment of a shared common purpose which is contributed to and is agreed upon by all members involved.

As a School Principal he was responsible for, in collaboration with the school leadership team, identifying and addressing gaps between aspirational and the actual foundations of a Professional Learning Community, encouraging collaborative professionalism as a mode of work throughout the school.

Gary has been involved in school sport throughout his forty year career. He has been a Manager of NSWPSSA Athletics Squads, Carnival Manager of a number of PSSA State Championships, attended six Pacific School Games and was also the General Manager of the NSWPSSA Team to the Pacific Schools Games in 2008.

Dr Keith Graham OAM

Keith was appointed as Queensland School Sports Board Member of the SSA Board in 2019 and also serves as the SSA Sports Advisor for Touch Football, a position he has held since 2013. He is currently Chair of the Queensland School Sport Management Group which has oversight of an extensive program that covers all school students in Queensland, in addition to being Chair of Metropolitan East School Sport and Deputy Chair of Queensland Primary School Touch Football. Keith has been involved in school sport for over 30 years and in 2019 was awarded an Order of Australian Medal for his commitment and leadership to school sport, particularly Touch Football.

Keith is the Principal of Rochedale State School, a primary school of over 1000 students on the southern outskirts of Brisbane, and one of only two Queensland state schools which deliver the International Baccalaureate program. Keith believes sport is a vital part of the school curriculum as it can develop not only sporting ability, but also attitudes and values which become so important in adult life. Keith has a Diploma of Sports Psychology, a Masters of Education, a Masters of Applied Linguistics, and has completed his Doctorate of Education with a focus on leadership.
Toni Gray - Tasmania

Toni Gray was appointed to the SSA Board in 2021. She is a retired Health and Physical Education teacher with extensive experience in health, curriculum and mental health and wellbeing.

Toni was the Tasmanian Department of Education’s Health and Wellbeing Curriculum Officer (2005 – 2009). In this position she had a statewide responsibility for the Health and Physical Education Curriculum, health, wellbeing, sport and physical activity.

In 2011, Toni accepted the role as state coordinator for MindMatters, a federally funded project to support mental health and wellbeing in secondary schools.

Toni was also appointed to ACARA’s Advisory Panel for the development of the Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education. She was also appointed as a writer for the original version of the Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education.

Since retiring, Toni has maintained her commitment to health and wellbeing by undertaking roles for the Department of Education in the areas of swimming and water safety and respectful relationships. She has also undertaken roles for ACARA in reviewing and developing support materials for the Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education.

Rayoni Nelson

Rayoni joined School Sport Victoria in January 2019 as the CEO. Rayoni has over 20 years’ experience working across government, sport, health and transport sectors. Her career has included management roles in a broad range of areas including sport, physical activity, active transport, road safety, customer service and communications.

Prior to joining School Sport Victoria, Rayoni held the position of Manager, Physical Activity, Sport and Healthy Eating at VicHealth, where she was responsible for initiatives focused on encouraging regular physical activity and healthy choices, including through sport. Her sport experience particularly includes women, children and young people’s participation at a community level.

Rayoni has a Bachelor of Management and a Masters in Sport Management. She has also represented Australia in badminton at the Olympic and Commonwealth Games.
Paula Nielsen

Paula Nielsen was appointed to the School Sport Australia Board in 2013 - 2015 and again in 2018 as the South Australian representative. Paula is the SA School Sport Team Leader overseeing the operations of the SA Department of Education and Child Development's School Sport Team. She has been working for SA School Sport since 1997.
Paula was a representative on the ACARA National Consulation Forum on the H&PE Australian Curriculum - influential in ensuring that the movement and physical activity strand remained essential to this subject area. Further to this she has been a Sport SA Director advocating for the importance and value of sport in education.
She currently holds the position of School Sport Australia National Netball Advisor and has been involved since 1993. Prior to this Paula coached the SA 15 and Under Netball team from 1987 - 1992. Paula became a life member of School Sport Australia in 2014 and has been a life member of School Sport Australia Netball since 1999.
Christopher Nunn OAM

Chris Nunn is motivated by getting the best out of people. As an athlete he represented Australia at the Commonwealth Games before becoming one of the world’s most successful Paralympic Coaches. He led the Australian Athletics Team to be the best in the world at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games and was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for his services to people with a disability.

Trained as a physical educator Chris quickly moved into the world of coaching and was the first fulltime coach in the world employed to coach athletes with disabilities, working at the Australian Institute of Sport between 1991 and 2004. Chris now travels throughout the Pacific Islands and the Caribbean mentoring emerging coaches on a variety of sports who are preparing for international competition and is Internationally recognised for his leadership qualities and strategic thinking.

Chris’ dedication to whatever he does is highly regarded and he has received the Order of Australia Medal (2002), the Dawn Fraser Coach Award (2000), Paralympic Coach of the Year award (1998) and the Rotary International Paul Harris Fellowship in recognition of the work he has done during his time as a coach. He was inducted into the ACT Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.

Chris considers the critical factor in leadership is for the individual to understand themselves before attempting to lead others and has seen firsthand the difference this approach makes to the participants. Organisations which invest in their people will achieve a higher level of performance. His philosophy to leadership is “Build a better person, get a better result”
Jane Slater

Jane Slater arrived in Australia in July 2003 and in Darwin in 2004. Jane’s School Sport NT journey began three weeks later with an inter-state hockey coaching appointment, and has continued ever since in a variety of roles.

Jane trained as a Physical Education teacher and has taught in England, The USA, Belgium and Botswana before arriving in Australia. She joined the Department of Education in the Northern Territory in 2006 as the Senior School Sport Coordinator. She is currently overseeing Helen Taylor’s long service leave as Manager SSA and SSNT programs.

Jane is an SSA ten year Service Award recipient having coached 12 years girls’ football (soccer) 12 years and 16 years girls’ hockey and managed 12 years girls and boys cricket teams.

As an Australian Masters hockey player Jane continues to strive for excellence in sport personally and for all involved in the School Sport process.
Peter Smith

Peter Smith was appointed to the SSA Board in 2013 as the Western Australian representative.

He is employed by the Education Department of WA and is the Manager of School Sport Unit overseeing the operations of School Sport WA and has been in this role since 2006.

Peter Smith was appointed to the SSA Board in 2013 as the Western Australian representative.

He is employed by the Education Department of WA and is the Manager of School Sport Unit overseeing the operations of School Sport WA and has been in this role since 2006.

Peter trained as a Physical Education, Mathematics and Information Technology teacher and taught for 25 years in WA Secondary schools. He currently holds the position of School Sport Australia Cricket National Secretary and has been involved with School Sport Australia since the early 1990’s, attending his first SSA National Championship in 1993.

Outside school sport Peter’s sporting interests include Cricket, AFL and Softball.

Special responsibilities: National Programs Advisory Group Chair
Simon Warren

Deputy Principal Brisbane Water Secondary College – Woy Woy
SSA Board Member 2016-2017
School Sport Australia Swimming National Secretary 2001-2010
NSWCHS President 2018 – current
NSWCHS Vice President 2015 – 2017
NSWCHS Swimming Convener 1998-2012, 2015-2016.
NSW CHS Assistant Swimming Convener 2013-2014
NSW All Schools Swimming Convener 1994-2017