Dr Helen Drennen to succeed Dr George Rupp as Chair of the Board of Governors

Following her appointment by the Board of Governors of the International Baccalaureate (IB), Dr Helen Drennen has been elected as Chair of the Board of Governors, for a 3-year term, effective November 8 2020.

Dr Helen Drennen

Dr Drennen is a widely recognized leader in education in Australia and internationally. Starting out as a teacher, her career highlights include serving for 15 years as Principal at Wesley College Melbourne, one of Australia’s leading co-educational schools; establishing and leading Studio Schools of Australia as its Chief Executive Officer since 2019; and recognition in the Australia Day Honours list as a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia in 2016.

At Wesley College, Dr Drennen oversaw a community of 3,400 students studying at multiple sites across Victoria and Western Australia. She was the first female to be appointed Principal in the school’s 152-year history. During her tenure, Wesley College implemented the PYP and MYP in addition to the Diploma Programme.

Dr Drennen was the IB’s first Academic Director, based in the Cardiff Global Centre, from 1997 to 2002. She then served as the IB’s Regional Director of Asia Pacific, based in Singapore, from 2002-2003. She also served on the IB Board of Governors for six years, from 2009-2015.

"Throughout my career I’ve experienced first-hand the educational leadership and positive impact of the IB,” says Dr Drennen. “Now under intense scrutiny following the COVID-19 pandemic, the IB and all systems of education are asking again the hard questions in a different world. I am tremendously honoured and feel most privileged to serve the IB as Chair, especially at this time."

Outgoing Chair Dr Rupp had this to say about his successor: "I am delighted to welcome Helen Drennen as she returns to the IB, and I am confident that she will be effective in working with the whole IB community toward its becoming an even more impressive, respected, and influential leader in global education."

Dr Drennen holds both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from Monash University and a PhD in Behavioural Biology from Australian National University. She has a Diploma of Education from Melbourne University and completed an Advanced Management Program from Harvard Business School. In 2010, Dr Drennen was made a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators (FACE) and became a Fellow of the Australian College of Educational Leaders (FACEL) in 2011.


Interview with Dr Helen Drennen AM, Chair of the IB Board of Governors

In a wide-ranging conversation, we spoke with Dr Helen Drennen AM about what motivates her, her experience in education, and her vision of the IB and education’s role in the future.