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The Central Coast Conservatorium of Music has appointed experienced arts & business educator and long-time Central Coast resident, Dr Lisa Barnes, as its Chief Executive Officer. 

Announcing the appointment, Claire Braund, President of the Central Coast Conservatorium, said that the board had conducted a very thorough search and selection process with a number of high-quality locally based applicants making it to the short list.

“Dr Barnes stood out as an unusual combination of business and academia,” Ms Braund said. “She combines educational experience (including musical and arts education), an obvious passion for music, strong business skills, relevant board, governance and strategy expertise, high level people management skills and a deep understanding of the local region and culture.”

Dr Barnes comes to the Conservatorium from Avondale University at Cooronbong, where she was Head of the School of Arts and Business. She also holds non-executive positions on the boards of Coastlink Ltd and the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority, which she will retain.

Commenting on new appointment, Dr Barnes said she was excited to be joining the Central Coast Conservatorium team.

“I have lived on the Coast since a child and am very committed to the area and what the Conservatorium contributes to the community. I am very much looking forward to being a part of the Conservatorium’s future; using my qualifications, experience and passion for the arts to work alongside teachers and staff to see our students create memories and of course music,” she said.

“Having performed with some of the talented staff from the Conservatorium through local musical theatre I know that teachers make a significant contribution to the successful delivery of music tuition and performance on the Coast. Talented Artistic Director, Patrick Brennan, has a reputation for professionalism, dedication and success and I am looking forward to working with him and the team at the Conservatorium.”

Dr Barnes will assume the role of CEO on 3 January 2023, taking over from interim CEO Bettina Pidcock, who will step back onto the board after leading the Conservatorium since October 2021.

Ms Pidcock said it had been a privilege to lead the Conservatorium during a period of transition, recovery and renewal following the Covid years. 

“2023 brings an exciting new beginning with a refurbished building and now a new leader in the appointment of Dr Lisa Barnes. It’s an exciting time to be connected with the Central Coast Conservatorium of Music,” Ms Pidcock said.

About Dr Lisa Barnes

Dr Barnes has worked in tertiary institutions for more than 12 years – including at Newcastle University – with experience teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, face-to-face and online. She has taught in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Sweden and presented at conferences in Portugal, the United States and New Zealand.  

Growing up on the Central Coast, Dr Barnes spent much time performing in eisteddfods, with the Central Coast Concert Band and in musical theatre. Her children attended the Conservatorium’s early childhood and Children’s Music Programs and have gone on to continue their music education into their teens and early adult years. 

Formerly Head of School at the Avondale Arts and Business School Dr Barnes serves on the Advisory Board for the Australian Academy of Business Leadership and is Deputy Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee of the Australian Curriculum, and Assessment Reporting Authority. ACARA is an independent statutory authority responsible for the development of a national curriculum, a national assessment program, and a national data collection and reporting program that supports learning for Australian students.

She is also vice-chair of Coastlink, a not-for-profit youth disability provider and has a special interest in social responsibility, and financial and corporate governance of not-for-profit organisations, having been a director on numerous not-for-profit and Australian government boards.

Dr Barnes is a Fellow of the Certified Practicing Accountants Australia, a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds a Master of Business Administration and a Doctorate of Business Administration degree.