The evolution of teachers’ identities in Australia highlights the struggles between state and civic over the control of schooling and also the contingent nature of the teacher identity itself. A genealogical analysis of this history makes visible these contingencies, but more importantly suggests that little reckoning has been afforded to teachers’ agency within these social struggles. This gap in understandings of teacher identity, as even potentially agentic, highlights the need for a more nuanced understanding of teachers and their transformative potential. In particular, it calls for a focus on teachers within elite private schools because these costly schools are highly influential as the aspirational model for schooling provision. If teachers’ agency in these neoliberalised spaces were possible, if they could be empowered in their stewardship of the educational enterprise, then their activation would be crucial in any wider reform effort.