Meet your 2020 Committee

PRESIDENT 
Helen Moore
, AM, PhD, is a “retired” (!) teacher educator, who set up the first full professional TESOL teacher education program at La Trobe University (Melbourne) in the late 1970s. She was also Acting Director of the La Trobe Language Centre (1991-93), which included AMEP and ELICOS students. She has taught in Papua-New Guinea, England, Holland and China as well as Australia. Her 2004 doctoral thesis from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) in Toronto analysed policies impacting on English language teaching in Australian schools from 1948 to 1996. Returning to Australia in 2004, she worked for the AMEP Research Centre on two projects (continuous enrolment and provision for refugee youth with minimal/no previous schooling). She has played a major advocacy role through the Australian Council of TESOL Associations (ACTA) and is currently ACTA Vice-President and Spokesperson on adult EALD provision. Her other passion is music.

VICE PRESIDENT
Bronwyn Singh
(Dip. Teaching, B Ed., Grad. Dip. TESOL) is currently teaching in one of the Primary Introductory English Centres in ACT Public Education. Canberra born and bred, Bronwyn found herself commencing her teaching career in the Middle East. It was in the United Arab Emirates, teaching in primary schools operating in the English medium, that she was initiated into the TESOL world, and relished learning more about the field at TESOL Arabia conferences. Upon returning to Australia Bronwyn became involved in teaching within ACT’s New Arrivals Programs, the Introductory English Centres. She has contributed to the ATESOL ACT Committee since 2013 and is Immediate Past President. Bronwyn is a Stage 2 nominee for a National Excellence in Teaching Award, sponsored by the Australian Scholarships Group.

SECRETARY
Mei French
enjoyed over ten years teaching and leading secondary EALD programs in South Australia, teaching refugee, migrant, local and international students. She also served as chief assessor and curriculum leader for senior secondary EALD subjects in SA, as well as teaching Outdoor Education and Languages. Her PhD through UniSA investigated the multilingual practices of high school students and their teachers, and the implications for EALD pedagogy and policy. Since coming to the Canberra region, Mei has taught for the Education Directorate and consulted for Catholic education. Her other consultancies include EALD and multilingual curriculum and resource development and teacher professional learning programs with UniSA, University of Melbourne and South Australian and Victorian education departments. Mei previously served on the SA TESOL committee, including terms as President and Vice President. She has presented professional learning for ATESOL ACT, SA TESOL, VicTESOL, and at ACTA conferences.

TREASURER
Jennifer Mayers
is a retired teacher with a long involvement since about 2004 with ATESOL ACT and the national body, the Australian Council of TESOL Teachers (ACTA). She describes her involvement with the development of the ACARA EAL/D Progressions as one of her greatest achievements. Her other achievements include writing items for the Settlement Services AUSCO programme with Dr Misty Adoniou and  managing the Introductory English Centre at Hughes Primary School. Jennifer worked for the ACT Education Directorate as the ESL Policy and Program Officer, bridging the old with the new before retiring. She has fond memories of mentoring Ros Phillips to develop the Refugee Bridging Program. Her words of advice to EAL/D teachers is to clearly articulate their beliefs about why they need to do what they do and to continue to be advocates for those less able to represent their needs.

Following careers in librarianship and IT, Lesley Cioccarelli discovered the satisfaction of helping refugees and migrants to learn English through volunteering with MARSS and the AMEP Home Tutor Scheme. After completing the Graduate Diploma TESOL at UC, she started working at Canberra Institute of Technology teaching in the AMEP in the classroom and by distance learning. After finishing an MA TESOL she went on to do a Masters in Online Education. Lesley built the original ATESOL ACT website and has managed the ATESOL ACT and ACTA websites for many years. She has presented at conferences in Australia, Malaysia, Cambodia and New Zealand on various topics, including social media for teacher professional development. She is now working as Education Advisor to migrant and refugee students across CIT. Besides ATESOL ACT and ACTA, she is very active in the Association of Academic Language and Learning (AALL), and the Refugee Education Special Interest Group.

As a pre-service teacher working in a school administrative role, Amy Fletcher took the opportunity to cover for an EALD teacher for a term and hasn’t looked back! She’s now the International Student Coordinator and senior EALD teacher at Canberra Grammar School, so in addition to her main classroom teaching she oversees all aspects of education for EALD students. Amy is passionate about international engagement and developing cultural competence in all students. She has supervised school trips to Thailand and Japan, and has attended conferences and workshops in Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong and the UAE; all focused on EALD and International Engagement. Her passion extends to her home life, which she has expanded to include guardianship of an international student from Tokyo. Amy has recently joined the ATESOL ACT Committee and looks forward to working with her fellow Committee members.

Starting her career with undergraduate degrees in Management and Business Administration, Bianca Mister-Colmenaresworked in the advertising industry for ten years. Having volunteered at a rural university in Cambodia, Bianca discovered an aspiration to be a teacher, so she went back to study and obtained a Master of Communications from the University of Sydney and the CELTA from International House. With a passion for Linguistics, Bianca speaks three languages and is now preparing to submit a PhD thesis at the University of Wollongong. The thesis investigates the development productive oral vocabulary in adult speakers of English as a second language. She has presented her findings at various international conferences. Bianca has ten years’ experience teaching ESL/EFL in Australia, Argentina and Vietnam. She has also lectured in undergraduate and postgraduate TESOL units at the Wollongong University and is currently a Senior Academic Learning Advisor at UNSW Canberra (ADFA).

Colleen Caddey-Murphy (M.Ed, Grad. Dip. Ed.) is the Senior Officer Literacy Specialist for Catholic Education in Canberra and Goulburn. She works closely with the 56 CECG schools across the ACT and South East NSW to assist them in supporting their students’ literacy and English language development. Colleen has taught mostly in Primary schools K-6 and has also held leadership positions in NSW and ACT CECG schools. She recognises the value of belonging to and utilising ATESOL to support schools and learners. Colleen is passionate about schools maximising the diversity of the cultural and learning backgrounds of their students and how they can use the abilities of each student to advance and extend learning for all teachers, students and their families.

Heather White says: “I have a long-standing interest in working with people from other cultures, particularly refugees, migrants and Indigenous Australians. Originally a secondary school teacher, I studied TESOL as a result of working with groups of Vietnamese refugees in the early 1980s. I moved to work in adult education after having my own children, initially in the community-based sector in Melbourne. The AMEP has been an important thread in my life in Melbourne, East Arnhem Land and Canberra. In Canberra, I managed the AMEP until mid-2019 when I retired from paid work. It remains a special focus. I have also worked in the Australian Public Service, particularly with overseas-based staff in both English language and cross cultural training in Australia and overseas, when I was living in Cambodia and Zimbabwe and often working remotely. My Masters in Adult Education and Training included minor research into factors that influenced the success of the use of online learning modules in the workplace.”

After 15 years of high school English teaching and three children, Jakki Cashman came to ESL teaching via the Home Tutor Program. Her first Home Tutor student was a lovely Sierra Leona woman who taught Jakki about literacy learning assumptions, cultural differences awareness and the rewards of helping other people. The less schooled and lower literate learners have remained among Jakki’s favourite groups to teach as she moved through her MA TESOL and into the AMEP. Jakki took on the delights of senior management for a time. Now she’s exploring emergency remote teaching.

Janica Morella says: “I was born in Malta but moved to Australia when I was 2. Maybe it’s because of this huge move that I love to travel and have always been inspired by different cultures and languages. I qualified in teaching English in Spain through the University of Cambridge in Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language (CERT TESOL). I loved teaching English in Belgium and Japan to students ranging from 2 to 72 years old! In Canberra, I now teach English to primary school students who are either new arrivals to Australia or who have other languages/dialects at home and need help. I joined the ATESOL ACT Committee in 2019. It’s been a wonderful way to network with other EALD teachers and to update my skills through professional learning opportunities. I hope to begin studying my Masters in this area soon.

Kerri Clark says “My passion for language learning and teaching started in high school. I then did a double major in German and English at the University of Queensland but permanent positions for primary school German teachers were few and far between. My first contract was as an ESL teacher at Botany Public School in Sydney where I worked with two refugee girls who had minimal English. My own experiences as a second language learner helped but I was always seeking to understand how best to cater for their language needs. I studied for a Grad. Cert. in Teaching Second Languages (USQ) and years later, as lead teacher in a school with an Introductory English Centre, my interest in meeting the English demands for students of other languages surged. I’m currently studying for my Masters in TESOL online through University of Wollongong, and learning Italian through Dante Alighieri (via Zoom) and an Italian language school Il Sasso (via Skype). Joining the ATESOL ACT Committee enables me to link with like-minded people, explore evidence-based best practice to support English language learners and continue my learning journey in this important field.” Kerri is currently a Senior Director, Universal School Support, in the ACT Education Directorate.

Lis O’Daly’s career started as a high school Music and French teacher. Her interest in TESOL took off after a year as English Assistant at a school in France. Eager to travel and teach, she completed the CELTA course and then spent several years teaching adult ESL in London, Sydney and Istanbul. She completed a Master of Applied Linguistics (TESOL) at Macquarie University in 1997, and then spent two years in China establishing and running ESL programs for prospective South Sydney TAFE students. She returned to the UK in 2000 and became TESOL Team Leader at Carshalton College, London, working predominantly with refugees and asylum seekers. She was also an IELTS examiner at Bath University. Since moving to Canberra in 2003, Lis has taught in the AMEP at CIT and Navitas, and also at UC in their Academic English and IELTS programs.

Mali Wijesundara is a Senior Secondary EALD teacher in the ACT Public Education Sector. She is passionate about understanding the factors underpinning student achievement/underachievement by gifted minority students, including ethnically and linguistically diverse populations, Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and rural communities, and students with learning difficulties. She is currently researching this area in her doctoral studies at the University of Canberra. Mali’s teaching experience spans seventeen years in the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors in Australia, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates. She is an AITSL certified Highly Accomplished Teacher and is actively involved in advocacy, developing collaborative teaching practices and establishing international partnerships to enrich students’ cross-cultural learning experiences. Mali is also a mother of two children. She loves cooking, gardening and reading.

Patricia Silvestre first developed an interest in helping migrants through volunteering as a tutor with Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services (MARSS), which provided her with local experience and good exposure to one-on-one teaching. In her first year at the University of Canberra, she was offered a one year scholarship to study in Japan. Returning to complete her Bachelor’s degree, she decided she had to go back to Japan again, and soon! The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program provided the perfect opportunity for her to be an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT). She had a wonderful time working closely with teachers at several Elementary and Junior High Schools in a small rural city. Patricia has a Certificate in Interior Decoration from Canberra Institute of Technology and is currently studying Certificate IV in TESOL part-time through distance education. She has been an AMEP Home Tutor for over a year and is now working as an Office Manager at a small Architecture and Interior Design studio.

Sarah Warren says: “I’m a primary school educator in the ACT Public Education Directorate. I’ve worked in a variety of different school settings throughout the ACT in between overseas postings. Currently I teach a composite 1/2 junior class at Florey Primary School. We have an amazing diversity of home languages. My involvement as a member of ATESOL ACT is a really important part of my professional learning and development.”

Currently teaching adult migrants and refugees at the Canberra Institute of Technology, Yvette Kirby has taught English to students ranging from pre-schoolers to senior citizens in various contexts in Japan, Melbourne and now Canberra. Yvette is also a passionate language learner herself (albeit retired at present 😊). She studied Japanese full-time as an adult and achieved the highest level of certification in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. Yvette also has extensive experience in supporting international students in higher education in a range of roles spanning career advice, admissions, translation and pastoral care. In total, Yvette has over 20 years of experience in working with English-language learners in support or teaching roles.