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“The single most important factor in our wellbeing, happiness and longevity … quality of the social connections that we build.” – Dr. Helen Kelly

A Quick Summary

How can leaders ensure the wellbeing of staff…and themselves? The “Where’s Your Head At” hosts welcome Dr. Helen Kelly, who has worked in various roles inside and outside of the education sector. In this show, we hear about Helen’s research into wellbeing in schools including practical examples and ideas as to what is needed to support students, teachers, and leaders.


Show notes

In this episode…

Introduction for Dr. Helen Kelly (2.40)

Why did Helen choose this topic for her research? (4.40)

What themes has Helen found from her research? (7.00)

Do we have a realistic idea of what a crisis looks like? (10.01)

The long-term impact of the pandemic and what can we do about that? (11.55)

Can resilience be taught? (15.45)

What advice does Helen have for leaders? (19.00)

Would Helen change anything in her past, what would that be? (25.40)

Advice for school leaders to avoid burnout (27.00)

How to contact Helen (30.15)



Dr. Helen Kelly 

Helen Kelly is a researcher, writer, and speaker in the field of school wellbeing. Between 2006 and 2020, when she retired from her work as a school principal, Helen led international schools in Bangkok, Berlin, and Hong Kong. Prior to this, she spent a decade as a member of the English legal profession, representing employees in the area of health and safety at work, with a focus on industrial accidents and diseases.

Helen is most known for her work on school leader stress and wellbeing. She was awarded an Ed.D from the University of Birmingham, UK in 2017 with a thesis entitled “International Schools as Emotional Arenas: Facing the Leadership Challenges in a German Context”. She also holds a Masters in Educational Leadership and a Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology.

Through her work as The Positive Principal, she aims to provide practical support to teachers, school leaders, and those responsible for running and supporting schools, to enhance wellbeing and maximise the potential of the whole school community.