Launching his career as a teacher in the APY Lands, Education graduate Louka Parry (BEd(MS)/BA/DipLang ’09) is now an award winning educator, entrepreneur and presenter.
Wanting to communicate with his Greek Yiayia (nana), Louka began Greek language studies at Flinders University in 2003. Two years later he immersed himself in further studies at Flinders by enrolling in a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Arts.
“Flinders gave me a powerful education coupled with some expansive experiences,” says Louka.
Following transformative experiences in Chile and Greece during his degree, Louka assumed his career as an educator would take him directly overseas, but after hearing a lecturer speak about the APY Lands he took up an optional teaching practicum at Kenmore Park Anangu School, within the small community of Yunyarinyi in the far north of South Australia.
“I quickly realised that I could make a real impact in the APY lands. The third-year practicum in the Indigenous community was my ‘sliding door moment’ which completely changed my life.”
After graduating Louka took up a position as a middle school teacher in Mimili, a small APY community of 350 people.
At Mimili Louka learned the local language, Pitjantjatjara, and worked to move the school curriculum away from western traditions. Alongside Anangu colleagues, he was instrumental in putting a community-influenced curriculum in place, which better reflected the strengths and values of the local community.
In 2012 Louka won the South Australian Inspirational Secondary Teacher of the Year Award and a year later, at the age of 27 he became the Principal of Mimili Anangu School.
“The community loved me because I learnt to speak their language and played football, but they also appreciated my role as an ally and an enabler for education within the community.”
Since leaving Mimili in 2017 Louka has lived a semi-nomadic lifestyle travelling to over 80 countries around the world.
In 2019 Louka launched an education and leadership consultancy, The Learning Future. With a focus on enhancing leadership skills, wellbeing, innovation and the future of learning, Louka has worked with schools across the globe, corporates including PwC, Microsoft and Apple, and with the European Commission, OECD and UNESCO.
“I’m really interested in developing leadership skills, particularly around Australia. We need to focus on social and emotional aspects of development to create the right balance to our cognitive capabilities. These are the skills for the new economy and the only way to have students, employees and communities that thrive.”
With his consultancy, an international non-profit organisation Karanga, two podcasts and a seat on the Green Adelaide board, Louka is now looking forward to creating roots in Adelaide.