My name is Mikayla King and I work in education. I am a 23 year old Kalkadoon, Indjalandi- Dhidhanu and Dutch woman.
When I was 18 I began working within the Department of Education as an Aboriginal Islander Education Officer. I saw first-hand the disappointing situation of Aboriginal education, the gaps compared to non-Aboriginal peers and the lack of understanding in this space. As a result I was inspired to complete a four year Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood studies) where I gained a wealth of knowledge on child development, teaching pedagogy and the position of our national curriculum. Through my study I won two big awards; ECU Vice Chancellor award and ICC Leadership award. During this time, I began engaging with schools to support them on their journey to become culturally responsive educators and support their students, families and communities.
In 2016, I started Aboriginal Education Solutions. I have presented at conferences, schools, universities and TAFE. I have held positions on Aboriginal organisation working groups, school councils and committees. I take my role in Aboriginal education seriously and will continue to seek opportunities to empower those around our community.
As a group of people who have been disempowered for a long time I feel it is important to use my skill set and knowledge to empower our community. I do this in ways such as: Co-Creator of 100 Days of Deadly Mob, previous Miss NAIDOC Manager, Mentor for Girls Academy, and alumni/committee member of the Western Australian Aboriginal Leadership Institute.
It is hard to choose one moment that defines leadership for me. I feel this way because leadership to me is not moments where I stand on a pedestal and self-promote or direct the behaviour of people. Leadership to me is the consistent endeavour to empower, mentor and provide opportunities for the growth of self and those around you.
When I think of my own definition and times that have defined my leadership it would be in my previous role of Miss NAIDOC Manager where I worked with a team to provide an incredible opportunity for Aboriginal women, or in those subtle moments with my students when I support them as they grow to be leaders that are resilient and powerful.
My advice would be to make self-care and healthy boundaries a priority. I say these both because it is important that we nurture our own social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
By setting boundaries we are able to be safe, nurtured and healthy to support our communities. When offering advice to young people in particular, I always remind them of the power of education. We are in unique positions to use our cultural knowledge and western knowledge to empower ourselves and our communities. Always, demonstrate commitment to opportunities and use them to grow in skill set and in academia.