The Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA) is a not-for-profit national professional teaching association.

The association was incorporated in 1982. PETAA is governed by a Board of Directors, who determine the organisation’s strategic direction and to whom the General Manager and operations team report.

Board of Directors

The Board comprises:

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Three appointed Directors
  • Six elected Directors

The term of office for elected directors is normally three years. From time to time Board appointments are made to fill a vacancy. Directors are elected from the membership at the AGM in accordance with the Constitution (below)

Current PETAA Board Directors are:

Company Secretary: Kevin Peters

Helen Adam, Senior Lecturer, Course Coordinator and researcher, Edith Cowan University

Associate Professor Helen Adam’s research addresses the role and importance of quality inclusive literature in the social and emotional and educational wellbeing of the child, with a particular focus on the importance of authentic representations and inclusion of cultural diversity in children’s literature. Helen’s work has a particular focus on promoting socially just and equitable education through the promotion of the publication and use of authentically diverse and inclusive literature as one way to break down barriers of prejudice and misunderstanding in society. Her work is published in internationally renowned research journals.  Helen has served as a judge for the Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Awards and is frequently called on for expert comment in the media and as a presenter to diverse audiences of educators and academics.

Helen Harper, B Arts (University of Queensland), PhD (University of Queensland)

Dr Helen Harper is Associate Professor in English, Literacies and Language Education at the University of New England. She has previously worked as a researcher, lecturer and mentor in literacy education, as a linguist in remote Indigenous communities, and as an EAL/D teacher. Helen spent more than two decades in the Northern Territory. Initially she went to study Aboriginal languages, but over time she was drawn more to primary education, and to questions about how schooling can best support children to become effective users of language and literacy. Helen’s current research interests include collaborating with teachers to apply principles of scaffolding language both in the literacy block and across the curriculum.

In 2016-2017 she was a co-recipient, with Bronwyn Parkin, of the Primary English Teaching Association of Australia (PETAA) Research Grant. She is the co-author of 3 PETAA publications: An EAL/D Handbook, Teaching with Intent: Scaffolding Academic Language with Marginalised Students, and Teaching with Intent 2: Literature-based literacy teaching and learning.

Denise Squire, M. Education (Teacher Education), Graduate certificate (Systemic Functional Linguistics)

Denise has been involved in the teaching of English and language and literacy as a classroom teacher and as a literacy consultant across several schools. She is currently a school instructional leader, supporting teachers to develop a coherent program in language and literacy in English, and across other learning areas, developing whole school literacy policy and implementation. She has extensive experience in low socio-economic schools with high EAL/D and ATSI cohorts.

Denise also works with her regional education team in supporting quality professional development in English and literacy across the curriculum, and serves on the PETAA Ambassador committee in South Australia. 

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Therese Gawthorne

Therese Gawthorne, M IL (UoM), M Ed (WSU)

Therese has over 30 years’ experience as an educator in NSW primary schools, teaching all grades K-6 across rural and metropolitan settings, predominantly in schools of socio-economic disadvantage. She has held a range of leadership roles in schools for the last 20 years, with responsibility for leading teacher professional learning, particularly in aspects of literacy.

Therese is currently working as a Curriculum Advisor with the NSW Department of Education, where she enjoys the opportunity to build the capacity of teachers across a range of schools, continuously striving for excellence in improving student outcomes.

Mardi Gorman, Dip Teach (ACU), BEd (Ballarat Uni), MEd (Uni of Melb)

Mardi Gorman is an experienced educator who has worked within a range of educational contexts both in Australia and overseas in New York and London. Mardi manages her own education consultancy in Melbourne, focusing on building educator’s pedagogical knowledge and instructional practice on effective literacy practice. She is part of the team who has developed the University of Melbourne’s Network of Schools project, where she plans and presents professional learning seminars, leads focus groups and supports schools in connecting research to the practicalities of school action planning and professional learning.

Mardi strongly believes that quality teachers and leaders remain pivotal to driving a positive impact on student learning. This drives her passion for, and focus on, professional learning for educators.

Paul Gardner, PhD (University of Bedfordshire, UK)

Dr Paul Gardner has 46 years of teaching experience: 23 years in primary, secondary and early years, and 23 in tertiary. He hold a PhD (Writer identity and Compositional Processes); M.A. (Education); Dip RSA (Teaching English in Multicultural Schools); and Cert Ed. He has published extensively in the teaching of English, including four books, book chapters and numerous articles in both peer-reviewed and professional journals. His research area is the teaching of writing. 

He is a Senior Lecturer - Primary English at Curtin University, United Kingdom Literacy Association Ambassador for Australia, and Vice-President, Western Australian Institute for Educational Research. .


Marie Quinn, Dip Teach (Signadou College of Education) B. Education (Edith Cowan University) M. Education (University of Melbourne) PhD (University of Melbourne)

Marie is a qualified primary school teacher with 13 years’ experience across primary and high school in NSW, Victoria, WA, ACT and overseas, with further qualifications and experience as a university lecturer in Victoria and NSW. During this time Marie has worked in school-based consultancy with public, Catholic and independent sectors, particularly in middle years literacy. She has also had a long term commitment to language and education in developing contexts, having worked for many years as an advisor to build and reform educational curriculum and practice in Timor-Leste and the Pacific. Marie’s current work includes hosting EAL/D seminars for NSW DET and preparing teachers for language classrooms. 

Shelley Drew, Head of Curriculum, Ironside State School

Shelley has decades of experience teaching in Prep to Year 10 in Australia, New Zealand and internationally. Her keen interest in the writing process led to her participation in the Southeast Asian Writing project while working in Hong Kong for twelve years. Her roles and responsibilities in education have included classroom teacher, learning support, Literacy Co-ordinator, Deputy Principal and PEA-AC Principal Education Advisor – Australian Curriculum. As Head of Curriculum, Shelley has taken on an active leadership role within a culture of professional inquiry, focusing on curriculum development and effective teaching practices, with a particular avidity for literacy development in early childhood. She has a Master of Education, majoring in Language and Literacy from QUT, Brisbane.

Linda Gawne, PhD (UoM), MEd (UoM), Grad Dip TESOL (RMIT), Dip Teaching (Primary)

Linda Gawne is a primary language and literacy lecturer in the Faculty of Education at the University of Melbourne (UoM). Her research interests include early literacy pedagogies, with a special interest in reading, and the influences on teachers as they make decisions about teaching literacy. Linda was one of the original contributors to the Victorian Literacy Teaching Toolkit and is currently part of a team developing phonics resources to enhance and update the website. Linda has worked extensively in Victorian government primary schools as a classroom teacher, Reading Recovery Teacher, EAL specialist, Literacy Coach and Community of Practice Assistant Principal across network schools. Currently, Linda delivers professional learning for primary teachers via a Custom Education partnership with the UoM and the Department for Education, South Australia.

Lachlann Carter, B Ed (UoM)

Lachlann is a children’s author and creative learning specialist living in Cairns. A former primary school teacher, he is co-founder and was for 10 years CEO of 100 Story Building, a not-for-profit organisation in Melbourne that since establishment in 2013 has worked with over 40,000 children and young people to develop creative literacy skills and understandings.  He has developed and delivered evidence-based professional learning focused on creative writing to thousands of teachers, ranging from one-off workshops through to multi-year, multi-school partnerships. In 2019, Lachlann delivered the Donald Graves Address at the ALEA National Conference. 

Lachlann is a member of the General Committee of the Foundation for Learning & Literacy, and the Community Leadership Council of the Investment Dialogue for Australia’s Children. He was a founding board member of the Social Enterprise Network Victoria (SENVIC). He has a forthcoming series for 7-10 year olds, BIG TROUBLE with Angry Chairs (launching 31st July 2024), and a picture-book series for younger children (launching April 2025), both published by Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing.

Rachael Hill, B. Education (Primary), Grad Dip (Teacher Librarian)

Currently, in the role of Senior Advisor – Learning and Pedagogy (Literacy), Rachael works with a large number of primary schools across the wider Brisbane and outer Brisbane area for Brisbane Catholic Education. Her role supports the building of effective literacy practices and school improvement, with both leadership teams and classroom teachers. Rachael has over 35 years experience teaching in primary schools and as a school curriculum leader with a focus on Literacy. With a passion for literature, Rachael was a Teacher Librarian for over 20 years in a number of P-6 primary schools. She works to promote the joy of rich literature and its place to engage, connect with and grow a readers’ experience of the world.

Kevin Peters, University of Technology Sydney
Company Secretary

Kevin Peters has extensive experience in secretariat and corporate governance in a career spanning more than 20 years across the higher education, not-for-profit and corporate sectors. Kevin joined University of Technology Sydney in 2011 and is currently Governance and Records Officer in the Faculty of Health and, working with the faculty leadership group, provides high level secretariat support ensuring the effective operation of faculty’s boards and committees. Previously Kevin worked at MBF, and as a member of the Project Team, supported the Due Diligence Committee in the lead up to approval of the Demutualisation Information Memorandum by the MBF board. Following approval by MBF members of the proposed Scheme to demutualise and merge with Bupa, he was appointed Secretary of the member entitlement Review Committee.

Constitution and Governance

The Primary English Teaching Association Australia Limited (ACN 002 557 075) is a not-for-profit company with income and assets applied solely to the objects of the company. It is a company limited by guarantee with no share capital.

Founded in 1972, the Association was incorporated in 1982 as the Primary English Teaching Association. Members voted to change its company name to the Primary English Teaching Association Australia Limited in May 2012.The constitution was most recently amended in May 2023.

The company’s operations are governed by its Constitution. The Constitution outlines the aims of the Primary English Teaching Association Australia Limited and the rules governing how the company functions and specifies:

  • objects of the company
  • membership and members' rights
  • the calling and business of Meetings
  • the election, role and responsibilities of the Board of Directors
  • administration and general business

PETAA Constitution 2023 (.pdf 454kb)

Annual reports: