Susan Hopgood is both President of Education International (EI) and the Federal Secretary of the Australian Education Union (AEU). The AEU has a membership of 181,000 teachers and education workers in pre-schools, schools and vocational education institutions across the public sector in Australia.
Susan first started her career teaching mathematics in secondary schools in Victoria, Australia in 1974. She joined the VSTA (now named the AEU) as a young teacher, and became an active member and union representative at school, regional and state levels. In 1985, she began working with the union full-time in the position of Women’s Officer, a job she held until 1993.
Since then, Susan has held a number of positions in the education union: Victorian Branch General Secretary from 1993–1995; AEU Federal Women’s Officer from 1995–1996; and Deputy Federal Secretary from 1996–2006, during which time her responsibilities included international relations. She was elected Federal Secretary of the AEU in 2006, the first woman to achieve that position.
Susan is active at both international and regional levels in her work at EI. She was elected as an EI Vice President at EI World Congress in Jomtien, Thailand in 2001 and then re-elected in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 2004 and Berlin, Germany, in 2007. She was appointed as President by the Executive Board in 2009 when the then President, Thulas Nxesi, resigned to take up a position in the South African Government. She was elected unopposed as President at the EI Congress in Cape Town in 2011. As President she is an ex-officio member of all of EI’s governance committees and sub-committees. At the regional level, Susan was elected Vice-Chairperson of EI’s Asia-Pacific Regional Committee in 2000, and was twice re-elected, in 2003 and 2006. She has been active in the Council of Pacific Education (COPE) holding the position of Vice-President for the period 1998-2006.
Not limiting her commitments to education unionism, Susan is also extremely active in the broader Australian trade union movement. She is a Vice-president the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and a member of a number of its committees.