Presenter profiles

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

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.

Gary Crew

Gary Crew is a Professor and Program Leader (Creative Writing) at the University of the Sunshine Coast. He is one of Australia’s most awarded authors, winning the Children's Book of the Year award four times —twice for his novels, twice for illustrated books — the National Children’s Book Award, the Victorian Premier’s Award, the New South Wales Premier’s Award and the Ned Kelly Award for Crime Writing. He has been twice short listed for the Edgar Allen Poe Mystery Fiction Award in the United States, awarded the Hungry Minds American Children’s Book of Distinction, and twice awarded the prestigious White Crane Award for Children’s fiction in Europe. Gary’s work is published in the UK, the USA, Canada, France, Italy, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and Indonesia. Gary writes fiction for youth and adults as well as the texts of illustrated books. He has a Master of Arts in Literature and a Doctorate in Creative Writing, specialising in 19th Century Boys Own Books

Author Gary Crew by bookshelves

Tessa Daffern

Tessa Daffern’s doctoral research investigated spelling and writing acquisition in the middle and upper primary years. She is a marker for undergraduate and graduate education courses and a sessional Subject Coordinator in the Master of Education at CSU. As a research assistant at CSU, Tessa’s other research interest has been in teacher professional development and contemporary literacies. Her research has been presented at national and international conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals. Tessa has worked as a presenter and consultant at pre-service and in-service teacher professional learning workshops and seminars with the ACT Government Teacher Quality Institute (TQI), where she is certified as a Highly Accomplished Teacher. Tessa has been a classroom teacher, learning support specialist and coordinator. In 2014 she received a Recognition of Excellence Award from the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn Catholic Education Office. In 2012, Tessa participated in the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) National Pilot Study.

Tessa Daffern

Alison Davis

Alison Davis is a leading literacy researcher, writer, speaker and staff trainer in the field of literacy, assessment and schooling improvement. Alison is particularly well known for her research on reading comprehension and has led initiatives focused on accelerating and sustaining improved levels of reading comprehension in students of all levels of ability. She runs a number of large-scale professional development projects for teachers and school leaders and has extensive experience working in Asia, Australia, the Middle East, New Zealand and the United States. In her professional learning sessions she is well known for offering practical examples to support teachers with their students.

Alison Davis

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

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.

Author Libby Hathorn

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).

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

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

Catherine Oehlman

Catherine Oehlman is an educator and writer with a wealth of experience. Since graduating as a teacher 15 years ago in Brisbane, Cath has taught all grades across primary school, worked as a Project Officer for a national early years literacy program, written for a range of publications online and off, presented at conferences, reviewed countless picture books, and built a strong social media following (@SquiggleBooks). Now based in Sydney, Cath writes the monthly Teachers Guide for The School Magazine and teaches gifted and talented literacy students part time. She is passionate about inspiring students to write creatively and confidently, and advocates for the use of high quality Australian literature in Australian classrooms. An emerging author in her own right, she has had her poetry published, and won several awards for her picture book manuscripts. Cath is also studying for her Masters in Children’s Literature.

Catherine Oelman

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).

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.

Alan Wright