Woman Nadebaum, Margaret (1942 - )

Chief executive officer and Teacher

Written by Deborah Towns, Swinburne University

Margaret Louise Nadebaum was born in 1942. She gained an Arts degree at the University of Western Australia and attended the Claremont Teachers College for teacher training. Her first teaching position was at Tuart Hill High School where she stayed for six years. Next, she taught at Bunbury High School, where she was the acting Teacher-in- Charge of English. This campus of 1700 students was the largest school in that era. She was the only senior woman apart from the home economics teacher. Her next position was as a woman deputy principal, which was a newly created position in high schools. Initially there were not enough women senior enough to take up the role as married women teachers had previously had to resign and this meant they lost seniority.

Nadebaum was a deputy principal in various schools for ten years. She noted discrimination as men of her age were becoming principals but not women and became an activist in the Deputy Principals Association, a women teacher's organisation. Frustrated at the lack of opportunities for women as principals she applied for other promotion positions and became a regional superintendent which was similar to an inspector of schools. This made her a senior public servant in the Education Department, when there few senior women in the public service. She also studied a post graduate degree at the University of New England. Her next promotion was as the Regional Director in Fremantle. From there she went into another senior role as Director of Operations in the head office of the Department, one of the few women in the Senior Executive Service. In 1987, her next promotion was in the pioneering position as the first woman Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Education, Western Australia, one of the first in women in Australia to gain this role.

In 1993 Nadebaum left the public service to become principal of Methodist Ladies College, Perth, where she remained until 1998. In retirement she was appointed to the membership of the Western Australian Government's Consumer Advisory Committee (2002) and in 2011 was one of the first 100 women to be inducted into the Western Australian Women's Hall of Fame. The Western Australian branch of the Institute of Public Administration Australia commemorated her leadership in the public service with the Margaret Nadebaum Annual Award for the best annual report in the Government Enterprise Sector.

Despite her achievements Nadebaum is modest about her success, describing her career as a whole sequence of 'taking the risk' and probably being in the right place at the right time (Trotman,2002:247).

Published Resources

Book Sections

  • Trotman, Janina and Nadebaum, Margaret, 'Margaret Nadebaum talks to Janina Trotman', in Lynne Hunt and Janina Trotman (eds), Claremont Cameos, Women Teachers and the Building of Social Capital in Australia, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia, 2002, pp. 244 - 247. 1. Details

Online Resources

See also