Misty M. Kirby, Ph.D., Senior Fellow HEA Global Learning & Teaching Leader

I am passionate about improving students’ life chances through effective leadership and high quality, optimistic learning environments around the globe.

Link to Academic Optimism in Schools articles on BAM! Education Blogs

My Research in Academic Optimism and Community and Parent Engagement is cited in the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders by the Chief Council of State School Officers (USA).

Academic Degrees

 The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA

Ph.D.  Education Policy, Planning and Leadership, with Emphasis in Curriculum Leadership

Dissertation/thesis title:  Academic Optimism and Community Engagement in Urban Elementary Schools A quantitative examination of the social context of 35 urban elementary schools in a low socioeconomic urban area in the Commonwealth of Virginia

Three years of course work across Education Policy (PK-Higher Education), Education Planning & Leadership(PK-Higher Education). Emphasis in Curriculum Leadership and a Cognate in Public Policy.

Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY

Master of Arts in English Education

William Carey College, Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Bachelor of Arts in English

Need Help Having the Hard Conversations and Actively Working To Improve?

*To work with your department, school or school system, contact me below:

With the great Jonathan Kozol as his Williamsburg, VA liaison for the Project HOPE Conference for homeless youths ~ March 2006


SFHEA: Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy (UK) ~ from June 2020

An Overview of Me: The Teacher & the Learner

I am passionate about improving students’ life chances through effective education leadership and high quality, optimistic learning environments.  This passion has held constant for over 20 years as I have worked as a Secondary English teacher, English Department Chair, Instructional Coach and Teacher Trainer in schools in New York and Virginia, USA. I began my university teaching in 2010 as a Senior Lecturer/Assistant Professor of Education at the University of Canberra, Australia.  In 2017, my passion for good teaching compelled me to submerge myself into the academic development space as a Lecturer, Learning & Teaching at Charles Sturt University in the Faculty of Arts and Education.  In that role, I supported my academic colleagues’ professional development through a deepening of their capabilities for more inclusive, quality teaching and learning, thereby improving the lives of students.

Across my teaching career I have supported learning and professional development face to face, online and in blended modes. At times the strands of my work seem quite disparate, but they coalesce in my view of myself as a scholar. As part of my own praxis, there are a few questions I typically use to prompt my process of deep reflection. The primary question underscores my philosophical orientations as a teaching and learning servant leader. In servant leadership, a person wants to serve first; as a result of wanting to serve, they aspire to lead.  The central question Robert Greenleaf, the father of servant leadership, posits as the ‘best test’ to determine how effective the servant leader is this:

The best test is: do those served grow as persons; do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And what is the effect on the least privileged in society; will they benefit, or at least, not be further deprived (1970/1991, p. 7)?

Through the process of preparing my Senior Fellowship for the Higher Education Authority (UK) application during 2019, I discovered intersections where I previously did not see them. I also took the opportunity to more deeply reflect on how my leadership style had yet again transformed from my former one as a Senior Lecturer/Assistant Professor in Education. I had to adapt to yet another new dynamic environment where a lack of positional power, academic resistance to change and lack of support from leadership, an absence of leadership really, as well as poor communication do not support the building of relationships. I am encouraged that I have the capabilities to adapt and lead more inclusive teaching and learning, as well as academic and professional development. I value leading with intention, no matter my title. I look forward to continuing to build relationships in my current and future workplaces to improve the quality of teaching and learning.  As one colleague stated

I have great confidence in Dr Kirby and her ability to work productively and collaboratively with academics in the production of high quality teaching materials for a wide-range of tertiary [Post Secondary] students. I have found her to be exemplary in her approach, and the collaborative climate she engenders has a range of positive outcomes.


Still connecting good teaching, theory and practice = praxis!

HOT off the presses!


Kirby, M. M., Slade, C.S., Brown Wilson, C., Downer, T., Fisher, M.B., Siddiqui, Z., Isbel, S., McAllister, L., & Miller, A. (2022). A call to action for eProfessionalism: developing the use of ePortfolio with emerging health and education practitioners. Journal of Computing in Higher Education. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12528-022-09326-1

Link to BAM! Education Blogs

Link to 2020 ePortfolios Australia’s annual forumTheme: Digital Identity — Ethics & Experience (see Higher Ed Leadership page for more Digital Ethics info)

Digital Ethics in the news…


Hong Kong Institute of Education’s Asia Pacific Centre for Leadership and Change Visiting Fellow

in the February 2015 newsletter

The Digital Learning Project: Highlights of the Showcase of Innovative Use of Technologies in Education Video

 Video from the DLP: ANU College of Asia & the Pacific

Showcase of Innovative Use of Technologies in Education @ ANU
Program from the ANU College of Asia & the Pacific

Goulburn Strings: Think Global, Play Local

on Dr. Anita Collins’ Music Website

Professional Associations

Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy (UK), awarded June 2020

Member, American Educational Research Association (AERA)

Associate Editor, Multicultural Education Review (hosted by the Korean Association for Multicultural Education)

Member, NAFSA: Association of International Educators

Principal Investigator, ePortfolios Australia Community of Practice

Facilitator, The Association for Authentic, Experiential & Evidence-Based Learning (AAEEBL)

Project Smart Evidence…bubblings of which began at Mahara Hui 2014!