I was born in Kyabram and a year or so later my parents shifted to Echuca where they ran a mixed business, but before I started kindergarten we moved to Maryborough where I spent my very free country childhood. My parents weren’t too strict and supported us in anything we were interested in but never steered us in any particular direction. They allowed us to get out and explore things on our own.
I had a rabbiting dog, and later some ferrets, and spent a lot of time - just me and my dog - looking for rabbits - which I used to sell. My mates and I would go out into the bush and build huts and have separate camps and have wars throwing sticks and clumps of dirt at each other – I was pretty competitive. They were great years.
As a family, winter weekends involved following the Maryborough Magpies football club around the countryside. As a young kid I was their mascot and that’s when my passion for the Collingwood Magpies started.
When I was in grade four I contracted Perthe’s disease in my hip. I spent some time in the Royal Children’s Hospital and was in a cast from my waist to my ankle for six weeks. The only way I could get around was by lying on a little trolley and pushing myself along with my hands. When the plaster came off I had to wear a full leg caliper for nine months. Then the disease cropped up in the other hip and I had to go through the whole process again.
Although it was hard, especially for a kid who was so into sport, my teacher at the time made sure I didn’t miss out. When we had sport/PE he always found a way for me to be included – it was important to me and probably sowed the first seed for me to become a teacher.
As a teacher in later years I was drawn to the kids who were different, the misfits, the 'square pegs' ....those who see things differently.
Bourchier St PS (Grade 6) - 1980-82
Aerobics classes for students and parents
Performed as Kiss with staff for student disco
Kialla Central PS (Grade 4-6) - 1984-85
Guthrie St PS - (Grades 3/4 & 6) - 1988-95
Introduced Run Around Australia - fitness initiative
Introduced Marbles in May
Family Activity Nights
Introduced House Team competitions
My philosophy (a quote from Pam Moran):
"Motivation isn't about what adults do to attempt to make a young person learn, but about what learners find within themselves when they pursue learning through its most authentic, interesting possibilities. The best work we do as educators offers opportunities for learners to choose learning pathways, and to make possible any pathway chosen by a young person. We do our best work, not through an expectation of compliance, but rather when we set up situations through which young people experience curiosity, choice, fun, joy, passion, and challenge. When this happens over and over again, learners work without cease, persevere despite the possibility of failure, rise to challenges, sustain focus, and intensify commitment."My philosophy (a quote from Pam Moran)
Big Picture - Personalised & Real World Learning
In 2009 I started work at GOTAFE working with disengaged youth. During this time I discovered the Big Picture model of learning and did the training with Big Picture Education Australia to become a personalised learning coach. Together with other educators I travelled to the USA to visit Big Picture schools.
I introduced a Big Picture pilot program at GOTAFE in 2010 which gave students the opportunity to do VCAL using a personalised model around their passion/interests and getting real world experience through an internship program with mentors.
GOTAFE did not continue the pilot program, so in 2011 I had students who wanted to continue with Big Picture and we partnered with UnitingCare Cutting Edge to launch Big Picture UnReal learning.
In 2013 I launched my own private business called iLearn (in the real world) whereby I was a learning coach for students who were disengaged from school with my own learning centre. www.strikingly.com/ilearn
Many of my students were bullied, had low self esteem, low SES, had learning difficulties or were on the ASD spectrum.
Animations using GoAnimate
No drawing required
Make videos quickly and easily
Click, Drag, Action
Ideal for a variety of subject areas
Student Photo Slideshows
Music making and editing
Lost Gen Program
The Lost Gen program is a unique History/Technology initiative that fosters student engagement by combining real world and project based learning.
It has already been trialled at some local primary schools and ready to be introduced in 2014. Contact me for further details.
Garden Program Postcards
Undera PS - Masterchef Kids Project:
Movie Making/Editing and Audio Editing
Undera PS employed me to help produce their Masterchef Kids project. My iLearn students helped with design, filming and video editing.
Undera PS - Generations Project
Undera PS employed me to help produce their Generations project. My iLearn students helped with design, filming and video editing.
"Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do. - Apple Inc."
Over the years I have been drawn to the kids who are on the extremes, the gifted and the strugglers, and to find ways to grow their engagement and to love learning. I believe that in order to do this successfully their learning should be more personalised around their interests, needs and goals and to find ways to give them opportunities for authentic work that links with the real world outside the school.
SPC Ardmona KidsTown
In 1995 while teaching at Guthrie St Primary School I had the idea for a large children's playground that would be both a local playground and tourist attraction. With the help of my Grade 6 students at the time we designed dream playgrounds and brainstormed ideas.
I took leave without pay from the Education Department in term 4 to set up a community steering committee and became the project manager for the playground which involved:- community liaison, promotion, fundraising, public speaking and working with architects, builders and volunteers.
When the playground opened I sourced further sponsorship, managed staff and introduced activities for kids and their families. The Council took over in 2004 when I resigned.
Scratch me Back &
I learnt with KidsTown that the our community is so important and that it was the locally owned businesses and community groups that support charities, schools and community initiatives.
With Scratch me Back I launched a Buy Local campaign around fuel discounts and a range of other coupon schemes.
With Allemand Fundraising schools and charities could raise money by supporting local businesses. These included shopping sprees, coupon deals and other unique win/win fundraisers.
Tourism Greater Shepparton
When I was involved with KidsTown I was invited to help set up a new tourism association. I became the inaugural president of Tourism Greater Shepparton.
I was invloved in the setting up of GV Brain and created the name (Goulburn Valley Businness Rural and Industry Network).
The Shepparton Motor Museum committee invited me to join their group and assist with fundraising and sponsorship. I have also assisted with their photography.
Back in 2013, a little hobby with a Facebook page showing old historical photos has turned into a major project and interest. I started with Lost Shepparton and has since grown to 20+ "Lost" Facebook pages of towns I have lived in or very interested in. They include: Lost Shepparton. Lost Mooroopna, Lost Tatura, Lost Rushworth, Lost Kyabram, Lost Echuca Moama, Lost Dookie, Lost Euroa, Lost Bendigo & District, Lost Maryborough, Lost Talbot, Lost Carisbrook and Lost Maldon.
Therewas so much interest in the old photos and the history/stories that we produced calendars and postcards for Shepparton, Mooroopna, Echuca Moama and Maryborough.
I have also joined the Shepparton, Mooroopna and Maryborough historical societies to learn more about saving and archiving old photos, digitising them and helping them to fundraise using technology and social media.
There has been so much interest in Shepparton's old photos that I have produced a pictorial history book called My Shepparton, a yearly calendar with Shepparton Rotary Club, postcards and DVDs. See our Lost Shepparton website for more details. In July 2015 I opened a Lost Shepparton Gallery/Shop thanks to Renew Shepparton who made empty shops available to people with innovative ideas. I am now based at the Shepparton Heritage Centre.
Books Produced 2013-19
Our City. Our Money.
Shepparton is the first city in Australia to launch its own local currency. I had the idea about 15 years ago when I was managing SPC KidsTown (Playground). I produced KidsTown Dollars which were given to customers when they made a gold coin donation to enter the playground. These K$ could then be spent at the kiosk. I wondered whether we could have local shops/businesses accept them as well and searched the internet to see if it similar 'town money' existed elsewhere.
I found that it had been done in many towns/cities around the world.
So, with the help of a number of locals, especially Ray Ducat (iconic Ducats Milk) we launched Shepparton's own currency, Ducats in March 2016. To further promote our history/heritage, each note features iconic Shepparton buildings/places. More info here.
Greater Shepparton Citizen of the Year 2001
Tatersalls Enterprise & Achievement Award 1997
GOTAFE Peer Recognition Award May 2009
Skills & Experience
Technology - computers & internet
Innovation & Creativity
Fundraising & Sponsorship
My first book, Good Golly! Where's Molly? was released December 2019, was about the Shepparton Moooving Art cows. Where's Molly and Peggy the pirate cow get bored standing around all day and decide to go on an adventure to Shepparton's fun places.