Apiary Fellows 2024

Sarah Louise-Gandolfo

Sarah Louise-Gandolfo

National Pedagody and Training Manager, Genius Childcare, VIC

Sarah Louise Gandolfo has had a long career as an early childhood teacher, pedagogical leader, and lifelong learner.

Rebecca Byrne

Rebecca Byrne

Teacher, Moura Community Kinder, QLD

Rebecca Byrne has been working with children since she was 17 years old. She has held many positions over this time as she studied and worked. Rebecca completed a Certificate III and Diploma before going on to a Bachelor of Education (Preservice Early Childhood).

Shanna Hughes

Shanna Hughes

General Manager, Lady Gowrie Tasmania, TAS

Shanna Hughes is the General Manager of Education and Care for Lady Gowrie Tasmania, the largest provider of education and care services in Tasmania.

Joan Dickson

Joan Dickson

Aboriginal Community Engagement Officer, NSW Government , NSW

Joan Dickson has seen the impact that early education can have on the life of a child in particular Aboriginal children, having been involved in the running of a preschool in remote NSW as the Chairperson for 10 years. 

Sally Arthur

Sally Arthur

Teacher, NSW

As a dedicated teacher, Sally Arthur has had the privilege of working closely with children who face various learning and developmental challenges, as well as those who have experienced trauma.

Rachel Wallbridge

Rachel Wallbridge

Policy and Government Relations Manager, The Front Project

As Policy and Government Relations Manager at the Front Project, Rachel Wallbridge is managing and executing the organisation’s engagement with all levels of government and will work with The Front Project team to develop high impact, evidenced based policy.

Sue Chapman

Sue Chapman

Manager and Director, Search Light Inc, QLD

Sue Chapman is the manager of Search Light Inc’s early learning and family support services in Sunnybank, QLD.

Sharleen Keleher

Sharleen Keleher

ECEC Mental Health Statewide Coordinator, Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health, QLD

Sharleen Keleher's journey from educator to advocate intertwines her experiences across various sectors, including early childhood education and health.

Sara Frazer

Sara Frazer

Indigenous Outreach and Engagement Officer, University of Sunshine Coast, QLD

Sara is a proud Nguigi woman from the Quandamooka Nation and Kunju from the Thipan peoples and wears multiple hats as a Daughter, Mother, Sister, Aunty, and valued community member.  

Riki Duncan

Riki Duncan

Teacher, Department of Education and Young People, TAS

Riki Duncan has over 25 years experience as an early childhood teacher and leader, and currently works with kindergarten and Prep children at South Hobart Primary School.

Dr Rachel Pollitt

Dr Rachel Pollitt

Consultant and Research Fellow, University of Melbourne and Lady Gowrie, VIC

Dr Rachel Pollitt completed her PhD in 2018 (Faculty of Education, University of Melbourne) actively engaging early childhood professionals across Melbourne to explore, research and facilitate play-based approaches to assessing, teaching, and learning mathematics in early years education.

Nikita Perry

Nikita Perry

Regional Manager, Catalyst Education, VIC

Nikita Perry began her career in the early childhood sector as a Certificate III trainee before going on to complete a Diploma of Children's Services where she worked with children and families directly.  

Metta Booth

Metta Booth

Executive Manager and Head of Early Childhood Education Services at Koorana, NSW

Metta Booth is a part of the Executive Leadership Team as a Head of Early Childhood Education Services at Koorana Child and Family Services.

Lucy Murrell

Lucy Murrell

Education Consultant and Co-Founder, Abundant Education, QLD

Lucy Murrell is an education consultant and co-founder of Abundant Education.

Lee Cameron

Lee Cameron

Director of Trauma Informed Programs, Alannah and Madeline Foundation, VIC

As a social worker with more than 30 years of experience working with children, young people and their families, Lee Cameron is committed to cutting edge service provision and changing the way we address some of our more complex social problems.

Keara Baker-Storey

Keara Baker-Storey

Indi-Kindi Team Leader, Moriarty Foundation, NT

Warumungu / Wambaya woman Keara Baker-Storey is the Indi Kindi Team Leader at the Tennant Creek Hub.

Julia Cornelius

Julia Cornelius

Senior Advisor Early Years, Our Place, VIC

With 35 years of experience in the education and care sector across three states of Australia, Julia Cornelius has held roles in both government and non-government school sectors as well as the early years sector.

Jill Reich

Jill Reich

CEO, Learning Links,

Jill Reich brings over 25 years of experience across government, corporate, and not-for-profit sectors to her role as CEO of Learning Links, assumed in November 2023.

Jessica Horne-Kennedy

Jessica Horne-Kennedy

Early Years Specialist, Moriarty Foundation, NSW

Jessica Horne-Kennedy has extensive experience in the Early Childhood sector where she has worked as an Early Childhood Teacher, Centre Director and most recently Professional Learning Manager at Gowrie NSW shaping future generations of early learning professionals in Australia.

Jennifer Weber

Jennifer Weber

CEO, Caroline Chisholm Society

Jennifer Weber has over 30 years of extensive experience across various leadership roles within government, community, and university settings.

Jamie Tang

Jamie Tang

Principal, Nous Group

Jamie Tang’s experience in ECEC spans multiple perspectives, including as a consultant to government, as a strategist for Goodstart Early Learning, and as Trustee of a community-based mobile service.

Jakki Graham

Jakki Graham

Group Operations Manager, Young Academics, NSW 
 
Jakki has more than 20 years experience in the early learning sector, in a variety of leadership roles.

Jackie Bust

Jackie Bust

Director, C&K Middlemount Community Childcare Centre, QLD

Jackie Bulst’s ultimate goal as an early childhood professional is to advocate for the importance of early childhood education and to enhance the professional identity and passion of educators within the field.

Georgie Lorenzi

Georgie Lorenzi

Director of Compliance & Quality, Northside Community Service, ACT

Georgie has had the privilege of leading and supporting various programs throughout her career, targeting those in the community who's voices are often unheard.

Annette Fuller

Annette Fuller

Senior Project Officer, B4 Early Years Coalition, TAS

Annette has an extensive history working in community development, early childhood education and care, and service system reform. This is alongside her outside of work life as a visual artist.

Angela Morcos

Angela Morcos

PHD Candidate, Manager Family, Youth and Children’s Services, Glen Eira City Council, VIC

Angela Morcos has over 25 years’ experience working in the early childhood sector in NSW and Victoria.

Andrea Londono

Andrea Londono

Early Childhood Pedagogy Advisor, Creche and Community Kindergarten Association, QLD

Andrea Londono is an experienced and passionate Early Childhood Teacher who has worked in the sector in many different roles, both in Australia and overseas.

Abby Revill

Abby Revill

Executive Officer, Christian Early Learning

For over 23 years, Abby has dedicated herself to the Early and Middle Learning Sector, fulfilling various roles, including trainer and assessor, child protection officer, early learning educator, state and general manager, and Executive Officer.

Apiary Fellows 2023

Ranu James

Ranu James

Director, Weaving Cultural Stories  

Ranu is a Papuan Australian with lived experience and a deep belief around inclusion and the right of all people to connect with their culture.

Nicki Walsh

Nicki Walsh

Statewide Consumer Carer Coordinator, Perinatal and Infant Mental Health, Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health  

 Nicki holds a Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood and a Bachelor of Business (Human Resources) and in her early career worked in Early Learning Centres and schools as an Educator, Teacher’s Aide and Outside School Hours Care Coordinator.

Mat Rowell

Mat Rowell

CEO, Lady Gowrie Tasmania  

Mat has a background in the social services sector and policy, where he became aware of the Early Childhood sector and the role it plays in Children’s early development.

Nakeisha Walker

Nakeisha Walker

Aboriginal learning and support officer, Ballina Coast High School, NSW  

Nakeisha is a First Nations woman living on the Bundjalung Nation on the Far North Coast of New South Wales.

Karthika Viknarasah

Karthika Viknarasah

Director and Educational Leader, Choice Childcare, NSW  

Karthika is an experienced Early Childhood specialist with a history of working in the education management industry.

Rachelle Tucker

Rachelle Tucker

CEO, Australian Childcare Alliance, WA  

Rachelle has been part of the Early Childhood sector for the past 14 years and has held various roles over the course of her career.

Merle Cashman

Merle Cashman

Senior Project Officer, Early Childhood Education and Care, QLD  

Aunty Merle is an Aboriginal Nguigi women from Quandamooka Nation and Kunju from the Thipan people.

Megan O'Connell

Megan O'Connell

Policy and Research specialist and Acting CEO, Early Learning Australia, VIC

Megan has over 20 years of experience in the Early Childhood sector as an education systems leader, evaluator, researcher, policy consultant, public servant and academic.

Sarah Rogers

Sarah Rogers

Evidence and Research Lead, Orange Compass and Implementation and Evaluation advisor, Monash University

Sarah holds a clinical and project background, beginning her journey into the Early Childhood space as a Paediatric Occupational Therapist.

Nicole Baker

Nicole Baker

 Pedagogy and Practice Manager, G8 Education, NSW  

During her time as a lecturer, tutor and research assistant, Nicole worked with pre-service teachers to develop their pedagogical understandings in child development, play, creative arts, and educational theory.

Alistair Gibbs

Alistair Gibbs

Early Learning Manager, Gowrie Victoria  

Alistair dates his passion and interest in early learning when he became enamoured by its theory and practice whilst completing a Master of Teaching in Early Childhood, and then spending several years as an ECT teacher.

Dan Leach-McGill

Dan Leach-McGill

Research and Evaluation Manager, The Front Project

Dan has worked in early childhood and community services for more than twenty years. Dan has extensive experience in service innovation, policy and practice development, and advocacy with an emphasis on improving outcomes for children and families.

Jo Mavrigiannakis 

Jo Mavrigiannakis 

Centre Performance Coach, Goodstart Early Learning 

Jo is a committed and respectful professional with strong leadership experience, both within the sector as well as in other business arenas, having supported both not for profit and commercial entities.

Jamie Hodgson

Jamie Hodgson

Chrysalis Key Assets Transformation Hub, Key Assets Australia, NSW  

Jamie is a senior executive, with qualifications in social impact and social work and has worked within State and Federal government departments and non-for-profit organisations in his 25-year career in the human services sector.

Stuart Braganza-Travis

Stuart Braganza-Travis

Director, People and Strategy, Early Childhood Management Services (ECMS), VIC

Stuart has worked in the international development and education non-profit sectors for the last 12 years and has dedicated his career to working towards social justice.

Angela Ngavaine

Angela Ngavaine

Head of Education and Quality, Only About Children

Angela started her journey in Early Childhood 27 years ago as an assistant educator and has since worked in varied roles across the sector, ranging from assessment and training, to long day care and home-based care roles which have given Angela the opportunity to design and deliver training across both settings. 

Rebecca Hand

Rebecca Hand

Executive Director, Early Childhood Management Services (ECMS), VIC

Rebecca has been a leader in early childhood education and care for 30 years. She began her leadership journey in South Australia as a teacher in both prior to and school settings.

Bella Rose Gordon

Bella Rose Gordon

Director of Awabakal Preschool, NSW

Bella has been in the Early Childhood sector for 12 years, starting as a preschool educator at Awabakal Preschool, a leading Aboriginal organisation in Newcastle, New South Wales.

Apiary Fellows 2022

Lyndsey Healy

Lyndsey Healy

Lyndsey Healy has a career spanning some 20 years across multiple roles and program areas at Gowrie South Australia.

Alexandra Heard

Alexandra Heard

Alexandra Heard is the Engagement Coordinator at the Association of Graduates of Early Childhood Studies while also working as an Early Educations teacher in Fawkner.

Jason Roberts

Jason Roberts

Jason Roberts comes with extensive experience in early education as a senior leader. After completing his term as the CEO of G8 Education in 2018, Jason Roberts Founded the Sector, -a digital publishing company specialising in the ECEC sector.

Jane Austen

Jane Austen

Jane Austen has spent years in strategic policy and intergovernmental relations roles at the Department of Education before joining C&K as the Manager of Advocacy and Communications.

Melissa Messina

Melissa Messina

Melissa has worked in the early childhood sector for over 30 years. Her experience includes service delivery in long day care, pre-school, family day care, outside school hours care and occasional care.

Courtney Hala

Courtney Hala

Courtney Hala is the Statewide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perinatal and Mental Health Coordinator for the Children's Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service.

Maurita Cavanough

Maurita Cavanough

Maurita Cavanough is a Bundjalung woman from Ballina NSW, who has worked in the Early Childhood sector for the last 20 years.

Birgitte Maibom

Birgitte Maibom

Birgitte Maibom started her career as a teacher, solidifying her belief in education and its power to make positive change in the world.

Michele Carnegie

Michele Carnegie

Michele Carnegie’s experience of the early childhood sector is one of great strength, shaped by the education needs of children and care requirements of parents.

Katherine Hussar

Katherine Hussar

As the National Training Manager at Catalyst Education, Katherine Hussar has 17 years of experience in the Early Childhood sector.

Elfie Taylor

Elfie Taylor

Starting out as an early childhood educator for 18 years, Elfie Taylor has a wide range of experience in early childhood education.

Carrie Rose

Carrie Rose

As a qualified early childhood teacher, Carrie Rose has over 30 years of experience in various positions ranging from lead educator, assistant director, director, educational leader and as an approved provider.

Mia Christensen

Mia Christensen

Dr Mia Christensen is a registered teacher, early childhood researcher and professional, facilitating and leading innovations and partnerships in the early childhood education and care sector.

Tracey McKay

Tracey McKay

Tracey McKay is an innovative, collaborative leader with strategic and business planning experience across the ECEC sector, including operational, financial, human resource and stakeholder management.

Penny Cook

Penny Cook

Having begun as an enthusiastic graduate teacher in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands in 1981, Penny Cook has over 40 years of experience in the early childhood sector.

Apiary Fellows 2020

Andrea Christie-David

Andrea Christie-David

Andrea came into the early childhood sector by creating a service for her own children, Leor, which provides children with access to quality education and care in their own home.

Barbie Bates

Barbie Bates

Barbie has extensive experience in the early childhood sector, beginning as a paediatric occupational therapist at primary and secondary health and not for profit community sites for children up to 12 years.

Cara Nightingale

Cara Nightingale

Cara is a kindergarten teacher of 15 years, worked predominantly with refugee and CALD children 0-5 years of age and their families across a variety of communities, demographics and service provider types.

Julie Price

Julie Price

Julie started at CCC in mid 2016 to lead the establish and development of the Victorian Inclusion Agency.

Kelly Millar

Kelly Millar

Kelly’s focus is on the role of social policy for transforming and improving the quality of life of Australians.

Kim Davis

Kim Davis

Kim’s career to date has always been within the early childhood sector.

Lennie Barblett

Lennie Barblett

Lennie’s experiences range from being an early childhood educator for fifteen years mainly in vulnerable communities (remote, rural and metro) to university teaching, research, writing and advocacy.

Lisa Gibson

Lisa Gibson

Lisa has extensive experience working in a range of settings from birth to twelve years and adult vocational education.

Lisa Walker

Lisa Walker

Lisa works on the Grassroots level as it is her way of giving back to her mob as she supports jarjums (children) in their learning and advocates for their families by being their first point of call and breaking down cultural barriers within the wider community.

Mel Hill

Mel Hill

Mel dates her passion for ECEC from her first engagement working on the floor in the toddlers’ room of a long day care centre.

Nicole Pilsworth

Nicole Pilsworth

Nicole is currently the Executive Manager, Early Learning at Gowrie Victoria and member of the committee of the Victorian branch of Early Childhood Australia.

Apiary Fellows 2019

Kim Bertino

Kim Bertino

Coming from over 30 years of diverse experience within the early childhood education sector, Kim wanted the opportunity to engage with other leaders in an environment that “enabled a balance of provocation to ensure rigorous debate and questioning across The Apiary cohort”.

Sandra Cheeseman

Sandra Cheeseman

Bringing 35 years of experience in the early childhood sector, Sandra joined The Apiary to connect with others who aligned to her interest in futures thinking and systems change.

Prue Warrilow

Prue Warrilow

Having had a diverse set of experiences across a range of early years settings and positions, Prue joined The Apiary to further enhance her understanding of systems change, and to engage with ways to bring about change for children.

Danielle Cogley

Danielle Cogley

As an active teacher in the early childhood field, Danielle joined The Apiary for the opportunity to challenge her thinking about the Sector, while also sharing her extensive knowledge and experiences.

Cathrine Neilsen-Hewitt

Cathrine Neilsen-Hewitt

With a wealth of experience in professional learning, teacher education and research in the sector, Cathrine joined The Apiary for the opportunity it presented to connect with other leaders who share her commitment to “high quality educational experiences for young children”.