Personal profile


Dr Amanda Heffernan is a Senior Lecturer in Education at the Manchester Institute of Education.  

Her research focuses on the contemporary challenges of school leaders’ work, and what that means for how we can better attract, support, and keep leaders within the profession. She has a particular interest in leadership in complex school settings, including those in rural and remote areas, and the skills and knowledges that are needed to successfully lead those schools.

Having previously worked at Monash University in Australia, Amanda is a former public-school principal who now works with future and current leaders, policymakers, and international researchers to highlight the important and complex work of educational leadership today. 

In 2019, Amanda was awarded the Australian Council for Educational Leaders' Hedley Beare Award for Educational Writing for her book The Principal and School Improvement: Theorising Discourse, Policy, and Practice. Amanda’s PhD thesis, awarded by the University of Queensland in 2017, explored the evolution of the principalship during a period of rapid school reforms. It won the ‘Research in Educational Leadership and Management Award’ for exceptional academic achievement in advanced studies in educational leadership, as selected by the Australian Council for Educational Leaders. 

Amanda is a Visiting Professor at Trinity College Dublin in 2023. In 2018, Amanda was a visiting scholar at the Centre for Teachers and Teaching Research at the Institute of Education, University College London. 

Amanda is Co-Editor of the Journal of Educational Administration and History and is Co-Convenor of the Critical Education Leadership and Policy Research and Scholarship Group at the Manchester Institute of Education

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Queensland

Award Date: 25 May 2017


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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