Vale Bernie Shepherd, 30 May 1944 – 23 June 2017



 It is with great sadness that we say farewell to one of CPD’s dearest fellows, Mr Bernie Shepherd AM FACE.

Bernie Shepherd was a public educator, school leader, scientist, researcher and writer like few others. Rising from humble beginnings he became widely known in his recent years for his forensic analysis of the data behind My School and telling the story of what it revealed about our schools, and in a real sense, about our nation.

Bernie had a distinguished career as a teacher and principal. He predominately taught and developed curricula in science. He was also the founding principal of the first public senior high school in New South Wales, St Marys Senior High School.  Bernie’s retirement from teaching was in name only, as he became a highly-respected expert in school funding models and education policy, as well as a mentor to other teachers and principals. He was a prolific author, on his own and with colleagues like Chris Bonnor. Bernie joined CPD as a Fellow in 2016, and during this time became one of the most active, influential and industrious fellows in CPD’s ten-year history. He co-authored two major reports for CPD, Uneven Playing Field: The state of Australia’s schools released in 2016, and Losing the Game: State of our schools in 2017 released on 21 June this year.

Bernie did school funding analyses that virtually no one else did, and his contributions are widely recognised as unique and highly influential to the national debate on education. He leaves a tremendous legacy in our education system.

It was an absolute pleasure, and a singular privilege, to work with Bernie in advancing such a worthy cause as improving the education system for all our school students.

His tireless devotion to this cause and his unparalleled industriousness and work ethic are virtues we have came to know well and greatly admire. He inspired our team to strive higher, work harder, and to never waver in our focus on securing a better future for this country.

We wish his family every sympathy, and remain forever great admirers of Bernie and his achievements.


Chris Bonnor’s wonderful tribute to Bernie in the Sydney Morning Herald is available here.

CPD also placed a dedication in the Sydney Morning Herald on 21 July which is available here.