Presenter profiles

Meet some of the leading academics and education consultants who work closely with PETAA to deliver high-quality professional learning.

Helen Adam

Helen Adam is a lecturer and researcher at Edith Cowan University, having lectured and written on the subject of children’s literature for the past ten years. Her writing and research address the role and importance of quality literature in the social and emotional well-being of the child. Helen authored the chapter Children’s Literature in both the first and second editions of Language, Literacy and early childhood education (Fellowes & Oakley, 2e 2014) and served as a judge for the CBCA Book of the Year Awards in 2015 and 2016. Helen’s lecturing and writing highlight the potential and importance of quality literature in developing critical and creative thinking, ethical understandings, personal and social capabilities and intercultural understandings — all of which are highlighted in the Australian Curriculum and The Early Years Learning Framework and are important to all children. She is currently undertaking her Doctor of Philosophy studies on the topic: Investigating the use of children’s literature to support principles of diversity in long day care centres.


Presenter Helen Adam

Leonie Arthur

Dr Leonie Arthur has worked at the University of Western Sydney (UWS) in early childhood education for over 20 years. Leonie has extensive experience teaching in early childhood settings including long day care, preschool and school in New South Wales and the Northern Territory, including experience working with Aboriginal children and families in Sydney and in a remote community in the Northern Territory. She is currently a senior lecturer in early childhood education and the Director of the Early Childhood Program at UWS. Her research focuses on literacy-enriched play that values the diversity of children’s literacy experiences within their families and communities and extends these strengths to new learning. Her research demonstrates the benefits of explicit teaching of literacy concepts and behaviours and the fostering of positive literacy dispositions within an integrated approach. Leonie is a co-author of Programming and Planning in Early Childhood Settings, now in its 6th edition, and co-editor and author of six chapters in Diverse Literacies in Early Childhood: A Social Justice Approach.

Jennifer Asha

Jennifer Asha is a literacy educator with a depth of experience across primary and tertiary settings tutoring and lecturing at the Australian Catholic University and the University of Sydney in a variety of literacy teaching units. Jennifer’s teaching emphasizes the use of rich children’s literature as the basis of quality literacy teaching and learning. She has a passion for helping children read for meaning in technologically and visually rich environments and has been involved in several publications and research projects in these areas. Jennifer wrote the Foundation unit for the English for the Australian Curriculum website, currently writes for the School Magazine Teaching Guides and has written units of work for PETAA's annual teacher’s guide to the CBCA shortlist.


Jon Callow

Jon Callow is an experienced teacher, having worked in primary schools, universities and in professional development for teachers. He teaches tertiary classes in the areas of primary English and multiliteracies, as well as areas of pedagogy and social justice. As a professional literacy consultant, he has worked alongside teachers in their classrooms, both in Australia and the United States. He currently teaches at the University of Sydney.

Details of Jon Callow’s best-selling publication: The Shape of Text to Come: How image and text work. See also additional teacher support for this title in PETAA Book Extras.


Rod Campbell

Rod Campbell is a significant leader in literacy education in Australia, and key player in Queensland education history, with extensive experience in publishing, workshop presentation, and in-school mentoring of classroom teachers and curriculum leaders. He is co-writer and editor of seventeen successful publications on literacy teaching, and on teaching English grammar and knowledge as resources for writing and reading. He is the lead writer of the Australian editions of Literacy for the 21st Century (2012 and 2015) and co-author of Teaching English Grammar: A Handbook for Australian Teachers. All of his work is grounded in ongoing classroom development and practice.


Kim Cootes

Kim Cootes has extensive experience as a primary classroom teacher, EAL/D teacher, Refugee Student Support Officer and as an Assistant Principal EAL/D – Refugee. She has worked in western and south western Sydney schools her whole career. Kim is a passionate advocate for supporting the significant educational and wellbeing needs of newly arrived refugee students and their families. Kim has recently retired however most recently she was leading teachers to develop an understanding of the acquisition of second language and EAL/D pedagogy, supporting teachers to identify the language and cultural demands of the curriculum and to design learning that promotes opportunities for developing English language through the curriculum. She is particularly interested in using quality, rich texts to design learning that develops oral language skills in English to enhance reading and writing.


Kim Cootes

Tessa Daffern

Dr Tessa Daffern has contributed to education in many capacities for over 20 years: as a classroom teacher, teaching and learning specialist, literacy coordinator, academic and education consultant. Tessa is currently a Senior Lecturer at the University of Wollongong. Tessa’s PhD examined the teaching and learning of spelling and writing in Australian school contexts and involved almost 1,400 students across 17 schools. Tessa's awards include the Australian Literacy Educators’ Association Doctoral Thesis Award (2017) Recognition of Excellence Award by the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn Catholic Education Office for her contributions and achievements, and she one of the first Australian educators to become certified as a Highly Accomplished Teacher (2012). Tessa has also been a professional classical flautist in a number of major chamber, ballet and symphony orchestras. Tessa’s published books include The Components of spelling: Instruction and assessment for the linguistic inquirer and Teaching Writing: Effective approaches for the middle years.


Beverly Derewianka

Beverly began her teaching career as an English/History teacher, has a Masters degree in Italian literature, a degree in multicultural education, a Master of Education degree and wrote her Doctoral thesis on the development of academic writing across the years of schooling. Her first book for PETAA began a research career of working with teachers in schools, coming to an understanding of the learning challenges facing students and how a knowledge about language from a functional perspective might support them, from which came the bestselling A Grammar Companion for Primary Teachers, since updated in The New Grammar Companion for Teachers. She has contributed to state, national and international curriculum and syllabus development, and has introduced teachers to the Language strand of the Australian Curriculum: English through workshops organised by PETAA across all states and territories of Australia.


A New Grammar Companion book cover adjacent to author photo

See also the video and essay with Beverly Derewianka and Sally Humphrey ‘Teaching knowledge about language’.

Janet Fellowes

Janet Fellowes works at Edith Cowan University as a Senior Lecturer. She has had over ten years experience in this role as well as many years in the primary classroom, including a period as an ESL teacher. Janet is the co-author of the PETAA publication A Closer Look at Spelling in the Primary Classroom.


A Clser Look at Spelling book cover with co-author Janet Fellowes

Libby Gleeson

Libby Gleeson is the author of many picture books, short stories and novels for young people of all ages. Her work is widely published overseas and she has been shortlisted or has won almost every literary prize in the country, including the Australian Prime Minister’s award in 2013. Libby is a trained secondary teacher and regularly visits primary and secondary schools to run writing workshops for students and professional development for teachers. She has lectured in numerous tertiary institutions in both children’s literature and creative writing. In 2007, Libby was awarded an AM, an Order of Australia, for her work in Australian Literature and Literacy Education. Libby is the author of the PETAA Publication Writing Like a Writer: Teaching Narrative Writing.


Writing Like a Writer book cover and author photo of Libby Gleeson

Annette Gray

Annette Gray is one of PETAA’s expert presenters who travels to schools running workshops and courses on writing and developing Vocabulary. She has been a classroom teacher in primary and secondary schools in a range of schools, K–10. She has delivered state and territory curricula across Australia and in international schools and has been a literacy consultant and advisor in regional and urban schools. Her educational interests include practical application and management of the teaching of reading and writing, middle years pedagogy, and assessment. She is a passionate believer in the central role of the teacher in children's learning.


Annette Gray

Libby Hathorn

Libby Hathorn is an award-winning author and poet of more than fifty books. Translated and adapted for stage and screen, her work has won honours in Australia, United States, Great Britain and Holland. In 2014 she was winner of The Alice Award, a national award for ‘a woman who has made a distinguished and long term contribution to Australian literature.’ With a deep interest in literature, poetry continues to inform her life and her writing. In 2012 she was a National Ambassador for Reading and travelled to many country towns to talk about Australian literature. Her first young adult novel Thunderwith was made a movie (starring Judy Davis) by Hallmark Hall of Fame and the book has enjoyed over 25 years in continuous print. Libby is a keen educator, has lectured part-time at Sydney University; is a guest at conferences and writers' festivals — the Ubud Writers' Festival, 2012; Adelaide Writers’ Festival for 2015; and is devoted to being an ambassador for poetry anywhere and everywhere.


Margery Hertzberg

Margery Hertzberg works across Australia as an independent EAL/D, English and Drama consultant. She has taught early childhood, primary, lower secondary students and more recently tertiary graduate and post graduate students at the University of Western Sydney and the University of Sydney. Margery presents at National and International conferences and has published widely. She is especially committed to working with students from socio-economically disadvantaged communities. Most of her research is conducted in these schools (K to 8). Margery is a past president of PETAA and currently a board member of ATESOL. She is the author of the PETAA publication Teaching English language learners in mainstream classes


Sally Humphrey

Sally Humphrey is a Senior Lecturer, Literacy Education in the Faculty of Education and Arts at the Australian Catholic University. Her post-doctoral research at the University of Sydney focussed on the development of online resources within an embedded academic literacy support program at Hong Kong City University. Her PhD explored the persuasive strategies of adolescent social activists beyond schooling. She has worked and researched extensively in secondary and primary school literacy practices, focussing on the linguistic resources needed for access to high stakes knowledge in the disciplines. She has co-written a number of textbooks for pre and in-service teachers to support them in developing the knowledge of language for literacy and learning, including the PETAA publication (with Louise Droga, Susan Feez), Grammar and Meaning.


Grammar and Meaning book cover and co-author Sally Humphrey

See also the video and essay with Beverly Derewianka and Sally Humphrey ‘Teaching knowledge about language’.

Penny Hutton

Penny Hutton has been a classroom and ESL teacher in primary schools. She has extensive experience as a senior education officer in the fields of literacy, middle years pedagogy and assessment. She has previously managed the English Language and Literacy Assessment (ELLA) and the literacy components of the Basic Skills Test (BST) for NSW DET, and was Senior Manager, Assessment and Research for Educational Assessment Australia. She currently teaches in the Bachelor of Education program at the University of Sydney and is the Professional Development Consultant to PETAA where she presents courses on a range of topics including literature, language, writing, grammar and literacy.

Penny has contributed to a number of PETAA resources and publications including PETAA Paper 178: Writing Persuasive texts and PETAA Paper 198: (with Catherine Smythe) The Literacy of History (member access only).


Penny Hutton

Amanda Lloyd

Dr Amanda Lloyd is a Primary School teacher with 18 years experience as a classroom teacher, in leadership roles and coordinating education networks. Amanda believes strongly in educating the whole child across the academic, social, and wellbeing domains. She has always spent her free time: in a boat, swimming in the ocean, overnight hiking, and generally enjoying the outdoors. These experiences led her into a field that developed into educational opportunities for others. Amanda completed a PhD focused on the advantages of outdoor learning for Primary School students: she also holds a Masters of Environment, Graduate Certificate of Outdoor Education, Forest Schools Instructor Certification and a Bachelor of Education (Primary). She is a spokesperson for Planet Ark, an international presenter and writes for a wide variety of publications. Amanda is a director of ‘Outdoor Connections Australia’ where she develops educational programs, delivers outdoor experiences for children and facilitates accredited professional learning for teachers and was the Executive Officer of Outdoors NSW in 2019.


Amanda Llloyd

Kaye Lowe

Kaye Lowe is Adjunct Associate Professor, Literacy at the University of Canberra and has extensive experience in improving literacy outcomes for readers from pre-school age to adulthood, covering a wide range of contexts including work places, jails, post secondary education and adult literacy sites in the United States and Australia.

She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in literacy for approximately 20 years with roles in the USA, and as Associate Dean at the University of Western Sydney. She has published numerous articles and four books supporting literacy learning, including most recently, the forthcoming PETAA title For the Love of Reading: Supporting Struggling Readers and Writing the Future .


Author and presnter Kaye Lowe featured with her publicatons For the Love of Reading, and Writing the Future

Lorraine McDonald

Lorraine McDonald is an Honorary Fellow in the School of Education at Australian Catholic University, Sydney. Her research has examined the role of language in the teaching of literature and changing ways of thinking about language, literature and literacy. Lorraine has taught programs in Literacy Education, Literature for Children and Young Adults, Linguistics and ESL in Australia, USA and UK.

Read more about Lorraine’s best-selling publication, now in an updated second edition A Literature Companion for Teachers.

See also the video interview with Lorraine McDonald and her companion essay for that video in the Project 40 series.


Book cover, A Literature Companion for Teachers and authgor Lorraine McDonald

Jenny Miller

Jenny Miller is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at Monash University who is passionately committed to practical classroom outcomes for educational research. An experienced teacher, researcher and academic, her research and many publications are in the areas of language identity, second language literacy, at risk EAL learners and teachers’ work. She has published widely on refugee-background EAL students. Her recent Australian Research Council research project looked at content-based language learning in the mainstream for refugee background students. She is co-editor and author of the PETAA publication, Classrooms of possibility: Supporting at-risk EAL learners.


Jennifer Miller and PETAA publication

Michael Murray

Michael Murray has worked for the NSW Department of Education for 35 years, including 11 years as an English Head Teacher and 8 years at the state office level leading English and Literacy in NSW public schools. He contributed to the development of NSW English syllabuses, including the English K-10 Syllabus incorporating Australian Curriculum content, and led the development of professional learning and resources to support the implementation of the new English syllabus. Michael now works freelance as an independent consultant.


Michael Murray

Sue Murray

Sue Murray is a writer and educator. Having worked in a theatre-in-education company, then as a teacher of Drama and English, Sue began writing plays for primary and secondary school students. She has presented keynote speeches, workshops and papers at Drama and English conferences, a CBCA national conference, the NSW Writers’ Centre and elsewhere. She has contributed to English textbooks, educational websites and other publications. Teachers who use The School Magazine in their classrooms will know Sue’s plays published over the last decade. As Assistant Editor, Sue was also responsible for the magazine’s teaching and learning resources and in 2016 programmed the workshops presented at centenary celebrations. In 2019 Sue is participating in a NSW Education Department online project linking texts to English Textual Concepts. She has been nominated several times for an international Language Learners’ Literature Award, and won the award in 2010.


Sue Murray

Grace Oakley

Grace Oakley works at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Western Australia, where she is the coordinator of the Master of Teaching (Primary). She has been a teacher educator for over ten years and has, alongside Associate Professor Val Faulkner, also from UWA, engaged in research and provided professional learning for teachers in the area of spelling. Grace is co-author of the PETAA publication A Closer Look at Spelling in the Primary Classroom.


A Closer Look at Spelling book cover and co-author Grace Oakley

Gillian Pennington

Dr Gillian Pennington was a Language for Understanding Across the Curriculum Executive Officer for the ACT Department of Education. She then worked as Multicultural/ESL consultant for NSW DET in south-western Sydney, and began her doctoral studies at the University of Sydney. She has tutored in the Primary Unit of Study ‘Teaching in a Multilingual Classroom’. She now works as a freelance consultant and researcher and recently worked as a project manager within the NSW Department of Education. She is a current member and past president of the Association for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (ATESOL) NSW.


Gillian Pennington

Joanne Rossbridge

Joanne is an independent literacy consultant working in both primary and secondary schools and classrooms with teachers across NSW. Much of her experience has involved working with students from non-English speaking backgrounds, and in a range of universities in both under graduate and post graduate teacher training. Joanne is particularly interested in student and teacher talk and how talk about language can assist the development of language and literacy skills.

See details of her most recent PETAA publication (with Kathy Rushton) Put It in Writing: Text, Context, language. See also PETAA Paper 196: The critical conversation about text: Joint construction (also with Kathy Rushton).


Kathy Rushton

Kathy Rushton lectures in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney and has worked as a classroom and ESL teacher and literacy consultant with the NSW Department of Education and Communities. Kathy has worked extensively with students from non-English speaking backgrounds and is committed to the development of literacy for all students.Her publications for PETAA (with Joanne Rossbridge) include most recently Put It in Writing: Text, Context, language. See also PETAA Paper 196: The critical conversation about text: Joint construction (also with Joanne Rossbridge).


Kathy Rushton

Margaret Turnbull

Margaret Turnbull works as a Principal Policy Analyst in the NSW Department of Education, Centre for Educational Statistics and Evaluation. In this role she has initiated literacy and EAL/D research and has worked on the development of the ACARA National Literacy Learning Progressions. For the majority of her career she has worked in EAL/D education. As an Instructional Leader at a culturally and linguistically diverse school in South Western Sydney she led teacher learning in EAL/D pedagogy and assessment practices. As the coordinator of the EAL/D program in NSW Department of Education, she led assessment, curriculum and research projects and policy development for EAL learners. As a Multicultural EAL/D consultant she has supported EAL/D teachers in schools across the state.


Margaret Turnbull

Yvonne Urquhart

Yvonne Urquhart is currently academic sessional staff at Edith Cowan University, with a passion for teaching. She has successfully completed three tertiary qualifications from three different Western Australian universities: Dip Teach (WACAE, now known as Edith Cowan University), BEd (Dist) (Curtin University), MEd (University of Notre Dame). Yvonne has taught in schools for ten years and university for nearly 20 years, teaching across a wide spectrum with the major focus in the last five years on literacy units, post graduate and undergraduate in both early childhood and primary education. In 2015 Yvonne was the Her accolades include being the only recipient of the Education Faculty Network Teach Award for the Student Choice Award for Outstanding Staff member (2015) and the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Inspirational Individual-Integrity (2016). Yvonne is on the School Advisory Board for a highly successful Catholic girls’ school.


Yvonne Urquhart

Robyn Wild

Robyn Wild has worked as a classroom teacher, assistant principal, literacy consultant and senior curriculum officer. Robyn works as a literacy consultant in schools. She was a committee member of the Early Childhood Education Council, was a member of the Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA) board for many years and is the author of Where do I Start? published by PETAA.


Alan Wright

Alan Wright is an education consultant and author with extensive experience working in the United States and Australia. In 2001–2006, Alan worked across primary, middle and high schools, supporting teachers, school districts, regions and school leadership teams in New York, effecting improved learning outcomes for students in literacy. He has presented at conferences in Pittsburgh (NCTE,) I.L.A NYC State Conference, Saratoga and New York City (Teacher Summer Institutes) and Columbia University (Poetry Workshops). His previous background was as classroom teacher, staff developer, regional consultant and School administrator, Assistant Principal and Principal with the Victorian Department of Education. Alan is a Director of Alvic Educational Consultancy (created 2006) providing school-based consultancy support across schools and networks. His website, ‘Living Life Twice’ has actively supported teachers of writing since 2008.