Louka Parry has taught at one of South Australia’s most remote communities and was promoted to Principal at the age of 27. Louka was named South Australian Inspirational Public Secondary Teacher of the Year, completed two masters degrees, studied at Harvard and has visited every continent. He also learned to speak four new languages, including Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjnatjara, and plans to learn many more. He believes learning a language changes us, and the world around us, for the better.
Louka Parry is one of the most exciting emerging voices in Australian education, with a remarkable career behind him at the age of only 32, and some daunting ambitions ahead.He was born in Adelaide to a Greek mother and a Welsh father, the first Australian in a family of immigrants. When he was 16, his Greek grandfather died, and Louka, who spoke no Greek, felt he didn’t truly know his Papou, who spoke little English, and therefore he was missing an understanding of his ancestry.
Louka was inspired to study history, languages and identity, and moved to Europe when he finished high school. Returning to Australia to take up his first teaching job in one of the most remote communities in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjnatjara Lands.
He now speaks five languages, including Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjnatjara, and isn’t stopping there, aiming to become a hyperpolyglot, speaking dozens of languages.
In 2012, he was named South Australian Inspirational Public Secondary Teacher of the Year after being promoted to Principal at just 27 years of age, and before he was 30 had traveled to every continent, completed two master degrees in applied linguistics, studied at Harvard, and been promoted again to system leader in the Education Department.Louka is now Director of Programs at Education Changemakers, where he works to encourage innovation in education, empowering educators and leaders to be entrepreneurial changemakers, solving the toughest of challenges in their schools and beyond.
He believes that language is fundamental to identity, and without understanding ourselves we can’t hope to understand others. Learning another language, therefore, helps us develop our empathy and change our worldview.
Learn more about Louka on LinkedIn.