The REAIE Committee

The REAIE Committee is an entirely volunteer group that serves the membership through project groups and collective decision making.

Project groups meet regularly and are responsible for proposing the scope of work relevant to their project, the budget, the time frame and the resources.

Each month the whole committee meets to hear about the progress of each of the projects and to respond to any pressing issues. Each committee member sits on one or two project groups.

Much time, many skills and numerous points of view are needed to make the work happen. Many REAIE members and the Network Groups through the Network Conveners offer suggestions and feedback about the future directions of the organisation.

Committee members are elected for a two year term. If you are interested in being involved with the REAIE Committee, please click here.

The REAIE Committee - 2018-2019

Ruth Wallbridge

Chairperson


Ruth Wallbridge is a kindergarten teacher in a community kindergarten in Melbourne. She joined the REAIE committee in 2005, and is currently REAIE Chairperson and Co-Convenor of the 2019 Conference. Ruth has been involved in a number of project groups, has represented REAIE at two International Network Meetings, and feels privileged to have journeyed alongside educators as a Reggio Emilia Study Tour Leader. Ruth is honoured to serve REAIE, comprising many passionate and dedicated people who share the vision for a better world for every child.

Cara Mearns

Vice-chairperson


Cara Mearns is a kindergarten teacher and the Head of Early Learning at Fintona Girls’ School in Melbourne. She have been actively involved with REAIE for many years, including participation with the Melbourne Network Group. As part of her role on the Committee, Cara is a member of the Documentation Centre, Conference and Challenge Projects. Cara is enthusiastic to continue her role as Vice Chairperson and is proud to be a part of the important work of REAIE.

Jenny Urbano

Treasurer


Jenny Urbano first became curious about the educational project for young children in Reggio Emilia in 2005. She has taught in community kindergartens for many years, and has always valued the relationships a kindergarten has with its community and the integral role that families play in childrens’ learning. Jenny now works in the role of Preschool Field Officer and collaborates with many educators and families in local kindergartens, to contribute to their early childhood educational experiences with the strength of REAIE’s mission and values supporting her practice.

Leanne Mits

Secretary


Leanne Mits has been a kindergarten teacher for over 30 years, teaching in rural Victoria and Melbourne, in a variety of settings: Long Day Care, community kindergartens, TAFE and Playgroups. Leanne has co-led REAIE Study Tours to New Zealand and Reggio Emilia, and has been on the REAIE Committee since 2004. Currently the REAIE Secretary, Leanne is also Convenor of the Exhibition Project and has coordinated a regional teacher’s network group for over 15 years. Leanne’s teaching is grounded in learning through relationships, using documentation as a tool for listening, research and professional learning.

Heather Conroy

Committee Member


Heather Conroy currently holds the role of Pedagogista at Westbourne Grammar School, Victoria, working to enhance understanding and practice in relation to the values and principles of the Reggio Emilia approach with colleagues in both the early learning centre and the junior years campus. Heather is particularly interested in children’s rights and pedagogical documentation as a strategy for professional learning. On the REAIE Committee, Heather is excited to have recently taken on the role of Co-Convenor of the 2019 Biennial Conference in Perth.

Libby Cumming

Committee Member


Libby Cumming is an Early Childhood Educator with more than 30 years’ experience. She has held leadership positions in Government Pre Schools and Independent Schools, and currently works as an Early Childhood Consultant. She has travelled to Reggio Emilia on three occasions and was a co-representative for REAIE at the International Network meeting in 2014. Libby facilitates REAIE Documentation Centre visits and considers her REAIE committee role a great privilege. The child is at the centre of everything that Libby does and there is “nothing without joy”!

Sarah Denholm

Committee Member


Sarah Denholm has been greatly influenced and inspired by the principles and practices of the Reggio Emilia Approach for the last decade. She has worked with children aged 2-8 years in schools in Perth and Hong Kong. Before moving to Melbourne, Sarah was Co-convenor of the Perth Reggio Network and worked on REAIE special project groups in Perth to promote and contribute to Reggio inspired dialogue. Currently, Sarah is the Director of Early Learning at Ruyton Girls’ School in Melbourne and is excited at the prospect of contributing to the work and research of REAIE as well as being an advocate for children and childhood.

Kirsty Liljegren

Committee Member


Kirsty Liljegren is the former Director of Cornish College Early Learning Centre, in Patterson River, Victoria. During this time Kirsty has had the pleasure of working with educators in the professional learning space both nationally and internationally. Kirsty consults and lectures in a variety of contexts and shares insights from both a practitioner and leadership perspective. On the REAIE Committee Kirsty was Co-convenor of the 2017 Conference Project and is a current member of the Exhibition Project and the Professional Learning Project Group.

Vanessa Miller

Committee Member


Vanessa Miller’s experience in the education sector spans over 25 years in Queensland and NSW. She has worked as a teacher in primary, secondary and tertiary settings, behaviour advisor, school counsellor, life coach and manager of a community based preschool. Vanessa feels privileged to have participated in two Study Tours to Reggio Emilia. She undertook an Education Doctorate (2014-2017) where she engaged primary school teachers and their students as co-designers to reimagine their indoor and outdoor learning environments.

Jan Millikan

Committee Member


Jan Millikan OAM, is the REAIE Liaison with the Reggio Children International Network, and Founder and former Director of REAIE. Her particular educational interest in children 2- 8 years of age has involved teaching in Australia, UK, Singapore and Canada. Jan’s work has involved organising conferences, workshops and consultancies in early childhood settings and primary schools, and she is frequently a keynote speaker nationally and internationally. Jan’s present committee roles involve working with the Conference, Planetary Era and Exhibition Projects.

Kate Mount

Committee Member


Kate Mount is an experienced Early Childhood educator working the majority of her career in Adelaide, South Australia. Kate has a Masters in Early Childhood Education and is currently the Director of St Peter’s Girls’ Early Learning Centre, Stonyfell, one of the prototype centres in the South Australian Collaboration. Kate has participated in two Reggio Emilia Study Tours and was convenor of the SA Network Group for six years, where she continues to be an active group member. Kate’s ongoing desire is to immerse herself in rich collaborative professional learning experiences.

Debbie Nicholas

Committee Member


Debbie Nicholas currently teaches part time, with a K4 group at Fintona Early Learning Centre (VIC) where their philosophy encompasses the values of the Reggio Emilia Educational Project and the Primary Years Program of the International Baccalaureate. This is Debbie’s third term on the REAIE committee and she has served on varied projects. Currently Debbie is involved with the editorial team of the Challenge journal and the Documentation Centre, Networks and Membership and Planetary Messages Projects. Debbie is also currently Convenor of the Melbourne Network Group.

Kerrie O'Neill

Committee Member


Kerrie O’Neill is an Early Childhood Consultant, with over 30 years experience as a kindergarten teacher, director of an early learning centre, trainer and assessor, and as a tertiary level lecturer at Melbourne Polytechnic (formerly NMIT). Kerrie has worked for the Victorian Department of Education and Training as an Authorised Officer and a Senior Policy Officer. Kerrie was a founding member of REAIE in 2000 and has been a committee member since. Kerrie’s work in the early childhood sector has been profoundly influenced by the educational project of Reggio Emilia, Italy, since her first study tour to the city in 1996.

Ruth Weinstein

Committee Member


Ruth Weinstein has over 40 years’ experience working in the early childhood sector. She has worked as a TAFE Lecturer and has been the owner and Director of two early childhood education settings in Sydney for the last 40 years. Ruth has attended 6 study tours to Reggio Emilia and is currently one of the Reggio Emilia Study Tour Leaders. Ruth has been a REAIE committee member since 2015. As a founding member and the current Convenor of the NSW Eastern Suburbs Network. Ruth is keen to use this role to encourage and support educators in their growing interest in the Reggio Emilia philosophy.

Fiona Zinn

Committee Member


Fiona Zinn is an education consultant, curriculum developer and lecturer who works with early childhood and primary teachers from many different contexts. Based in Hobart, Fiona’s work with International Schools and Early Childhood Services regularly takes her to cities throughout the Asia Pacific and beyond. She joined the REAIE Committee in 2004 and is currently the Professional Learning Project Group Convenor. Fiona believes passionately in a strong future for REAIE and its members, providing important opportunities for educators to connect and exchange ideas towards a new identity for childhood and education.