Dr Don Zoellner

Ph.D, M.Ed.Ad., Grad.Dip., B.Sc.Ed.

University Fellow

Dr Don Zoellner has worked in the school, vocational and higher education sectors in the Northern Territory since 1973, retiring from a pro-vice-chancellor position at Charles Darwin University in 2010.

Dr Zoellner has held appointments in both Alice Springs and Darwin including acting principal at Darwin High School, principal Alice Springs High School and Executive Director of the former Centralian College in Alice Springs. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Enterprise and Career Education Foundation and Chairperson of the Australian Principals’ Associations Professional Development Council.

His formal qualifications include a Bachelor of Science in Education, Master’s Degree in Educational Administration and a Graduate Diploma in Senior Executive Public Sector Management. Dr Zoellner's PhD thesis was in the area of policy development and implementation of vocational education and training.

Download for FREE Dr Zoellner's latest book 'Vocational Education and Training: The Northern Territory's history of public philanthropy' or buy a hard copy $50

Research Interests

  • Comparing community engagement structures
  • VET policy making and implementation
  • Northern Territory VET history
  • Public policy making and implementation
  • Vocational education and training
  • The relationship between governments and markets
  • Governance
  • Young people and mental health


  • Chair of the Industry Skills Advisory Council Northern Territory
  • Former Chair of the Board of Group Training Northern Territory (2012-2016)
  • Community member of the Northern Territory Mental Health Review Tribunal
  • Fellow of the Australian College of Education
  • Member of the Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association
  • Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors Course 
  • Former member of the Board of the National Advisory Council in Suicide Prevention
  • Former Chairperson of the National Reference Group for the secondary schools mental health resource Mind Matters


  • 2016 - Conference paper of the year, the Australian VET Research Association.
  • 2021 - Runner-up conference paper of the year, Australasian VET Research Association 2021 - the 2020 article of the year in the Journal of Vocational Education and Training 

Link to Research Publications

Dr Don Zoellner


T: +61 8 8959 5259
E: don.zoellner@cdu.edu.au

Alice Springs, NT