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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 - 2019-2020

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.

Heather Conroy

Vice-chairperson


Heather Conroy has worked for many years in Australia and Singapore to support the professional learning of colleagues in building understanding around the values and principles of the educational project of Reggio Emilia. Her current position involves working with colleagues in both the ELC and Prep to Year 2. In Singapore (2003-2014) she established a Network Group as a reference point for Reggio Children in Asia. She became a committee member of REAIE in 2015 and represented REAIE at two Reggio Children International Network Meetings. She is currently co-convenor of the Conference Group. She values opportunities which support on-going professional learning and dialogue and working with such a dedicated and committed group of professionals as is the REAIE committee.

Jenny Urbano

Treasurer


Jenny Urbano is a Preschool Field Officer who advocates for children with special rights in a supportive role alongside teachers in government funded kindergartens. In this role Jenny actively supports the rights of children, families and teachers and is strongly influenced by the values and principles of the Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education. Jenny has taught in kindergartens for over 30 years and continues to develop her knowledge of the Reggio Emilia Approach through attending professional learning events, workshops and study tours together with her involvement with the Melbourne Network Group and REAIE task groups. Jenny joined REAIE committee in 2018 and is currently holding the position of Treasurer on the executive committee and is honoured to serve REAIE and work with a team of dedicated and passionate committee members and staff.

Leanne Mits

Secretary


Leanne Mits is a kindergarten teacher with 35 years’ experience, teaching in rural Victoria and Melbourne, in a variety of settings: Long Day Care, community kindergartens, TAFE and Playgroups. Leanne has been a REAIE Committee member since 2000; she is the national REAIE Secretary and Convenor of the Exhibition Task Group. Leanne has been a participant and also study tour leader of REAIE Study Tours to New Zealand and Reggio Emilia. Leanne coordinated a regional teacher’s network group for over 15 years, building the capacity of professionals in the region. Leanne’s teaching is grounded in learning through relationships, using documentation as a tool for listening, research and professional learning.

Sarah Denholm

Committee Member


Sarah Denholm has been greatly influenced and inspired by the principles and practices of the Reggio Emilia Approach for over a decade. A qualified teacher, she has worked with children aged 2-8 years in schools in Perth, Hong Kong and Melbourne. In 2016 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 across Western Australia. After relocating to Melbourne in 2017, she joined the REAIE committee in 2018 and is a member of the Marketing and Communications Project Group, the Professional Learning Project Group and the Conference Organising Task Group. In January 2020, Sarah was a Study Tour Leader for the REAIE January Intensive Study Tour to Reggio Emilia. She currently works as the Director of Early Learning at Ruyton Girls’ School in Melbourne and is excited at the prospect of continuing to contribute to the work and research of REAIE as a committee member and hopes to be 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.

Cara Mearns

Committee Member


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.

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.

Anna Munari

Committee Member


Anna Munari has been a Kindergarten Teacher for more decades that she cares to mention, and has worked in a variety of settings, including in the private school system, local council, church and community kindergartens. Anna has worked as a Casual Academic/Tutor and Placement Supervisor in various tertiary institutions, including Deakin, RMIT and Melbourne Polytechnic. She has attended two Study Tours in Reggio Emilia, in 2006 & 2020, and still has a passion for the furthering the rights of the child and the advancement of early childhood education and mentoring of pre-service teachers. Anna has also facilitated sessions in the Documentation Centre as well as been part of the REAIE Research and Development Project Group. Anna’s involvement in REAIE supports her desire to continue to learn, understand and deepen her knowledge of the Reggio Emilia philosophy and practices.

Debbie Nicholas

Committee Member


Debbie Nicholas has 40 years’ experience as a Kindergarten Teacher having initially worked a community kindergarten setting for some years before teaching three and four year olds at Fintona ELC for over twenty years. Her teaching has been influenced by the principles and practices of the educational project of Reggio Emilia for the past twenty years. A committee member since 2010 Debbie has served on varied projects and has co-led Study Tours to New Zealand. Currently Debbie is on the Editorial Board of the Challenge, Convenor of the Marketing and Communications Group and assists with the organisation of the Documentation Centre. Debbie looks forward to continuing to work with other REAIE Committee members in advocating for children, educators and families through the promotion of dialogue, professional learning and research.

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.

Sharon Rogers

Committee Member


Sharon is an early years professional with 30 + years in education and community, including teaching roles in the independent schools sector, stand alone kindergartens, London primary schools, and leadership positions in kindergarten cluster management and school council. Her passion for children’s creativity and the Arts, has resulted in several community clay and mosaic collaborations and Sharon cites the Reggio Emilia Approach as an important influence and inspiration on her approach to ‘materials literacy’. Sharon is a multi-site educational leader and national project contributor with Guardian Childcare and Education. She is a member of Guardian’s inaugural Curriculum Leadership Council for 2020 and the recipient of the 2019 Victorian Leadership Award. The most rewarding aspects of her work include being part of rich collaborations with others, mentoring educators and building partnerships that create quality outcomes for children and families. Her interest in the Reggio Emilia approach has spanned 25 years and she lists her first study tour to Italy in 2019, as a personal and professional highlight. Sharon is committed to guiding the creation of quality learning environments, materials and relationships, that support social constructivism, rights, respect, critical thinking, creativity and the joy of learning for all children. Sharon is delighted to be joining the REAIE committee in 2020, where she will use her role to support others and to advocate for children and community.

Ruth Weinstein

Committee Member


Ruth Weinstein has over 45 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 44 years. Ruth has attended 7 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. Ruth is a founding member of the NSW Eastern Suburbs Network group and is currently a Co-Convenor of this group. Ruth is keen to use her current roles to encourage and support educators in their growing interest in the Reggio Emilia philosophy.

Fiona Zinn

Committee Member


Fiona Zinn is an educator first and foremost. In addition to this, she is an education consultant, researcher, 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. Since 2017, Fiona has collaborated with the Department of Education in Tasmania to design and deliver a Statewide Professional Learning Initiative: ‘ReFocus Teaching and Learning in the Early Years’. At the beginning of 2020 she returned to work a school context undertaking the role of Deputy Head (Early Learning – Year 1) at the Friends’ School in Hobart. Fiona continues to consult and advocate for children and pedagogy with Local and International Schools. Fiona joined the REAIE Committee in 2004 and is currently the Professional Learning Project Group Convenor. Fiona believes passionately in professional learning as a key strategy in the growth of REAIE and its members, as we strive to provide meaningful opportunities for educators to connect and exchange ideas towards a new identity for childhood and education.
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