Kerrie Maguire

Kerrie has been working in children’s services for over 20 years and is one of Australia’s leading early and middle education professional development specialists. Driven by a passionate belief in the significance that educators have in the lives of children, Kerrie is committed to driving quality service delivery within the ECEC sector. She has an in-depth understanding of the National Quality Framework, learning frameworks and supplementary regulations. She is renowned as an inspiring and effective communicator, with a unique ability to connect and engage with professionals at all levels of career development. 


Dr Debra Williams

Dr Debra Williams brings invaluable expertise to CELA gained over her 40+ year career in the sector where her roles included Director of community based and private sector services. She is a Doctor of Philosophy, and holds a Graduate Certificate in Research Methods and, a Bachelor of Arts with Diploma of Education Diploma of Management, among other credentials.

Dr Williams has worked as a validator and trainer with the National Accreditation Council and as an advisor to the Department of Education and Training & Employment. For CELA she plans, guides and manages training topics, shares research, best practice methods, and mentors and supports colleagues to build knowledge which enhances learning outcomes, productivity and continuous improvement.

Jenny Hind

As an experienced Director and Educational Leader in community-based preschools, Jenny has provided training for educators, management committees and early childhood educators in community services from Port Moresby to Sydney’s Sutherland Shire.  

In her role as a facilitator for CELA she primarily teaches management topics, helping leaders to achieve proficiency across a wide range of areas. Jenny is a career-long member of CELA, and understands first-hand the value of having a dedicated ‘go to’ team of early childhood experts to provide interesting and up to date information to support educators at all stages of their career.

Aline Majado

Aline is an education sector professional with 17 years of experience working across different sector levels; from early childhood to middle years, high school and vocational education. Aline has a background in art-education and has worked with welfare projects to support closing the gap of access to the arts in low socioeconomic areas in South America.

Aline has extensive experience in vocational training and has held roles such as trainer and assessor, work placement coordinator and RTO operations manager for independent and not-for-profit Registered Training Organisations.

Michelle Cuthbertson

Michelle has over 40 years of continuous service in early education and welfare, and is highly regarded as a course facilitator by both professionals and families. She is passionate about supporting and empowering educators and families to enrich and strengthen their relationships with children. Michelle’s areas of expertise include emotion coaching, secure attachment, behaviour guidance, educator/family partnerships and child protection.

Michelle has qualifications in early childhood education, adult education, management and Circle of Security™ facilitation. She has worked as a Centre Manager, Family and Children’s Services Manager, Senior Preschool Advisor (DET), Resource Developer (ACECQA), TAFE Teacher, Early Education Consultant and Parenting Facilitator. She is also the author of two publications: Commonsense Discipline and Do & Learn.

Vanessa Knox-McKay

With 30 years of experience in the early education sector, Vanessa brings a wealth of knowledge and skills to CELA.

Vanessa began her career in community-owned early education and care services as a teacher and director before taking a position at TAFE as head teacher of childhood education and a manager of teaching across the community services and health faculty. During this time she taught and supported the professional growth of many educators in the early education and community services sector.

Before joining CELA, Vanessa worked as early education and care operations manager for a large organisation, where she was involved in service approval processes and operational support across a group of services.

Jennifer Barker

Facilitator and Early Education Specialist

Jennifer has recently joined CELA following a 42-year career in Early Childhood Education. Her most recent role was as 2IC, joint Educational Leader and provider of a music program. 

Jennifer strongly believes in the power of shared experience and the responsibility to ‘payback’ to the education and care sector that she so loves. She has a strong interest in the arts – especially music and movement. Jennifer believes that building confident and secure relationships, learning through play, spontaneous teaching and flexible routines are the backbone of a quality early childhood program. 

Michelle Urquhart

Michelle is an early education and care professional with particular expertise in special and inclusive education, as well as child protection, assessment and rating, and supervision. She facilitates professional learning webinar sessions for early and middle childhood educators, to support assessment and rating and compliance.  She holds a Master of Special and Inclusive Education and Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood).

During more than 25 years in the ECEC sector, Michelle has worked in a variety of roles, including Centre Director, Family Day Care Educator and in management positions in private and community-based services.  Her work has also included establishing new centres, identifying new business opportunities and drafting the Child-Safe Organisation framework, policy and procedures for a large not-for-profit. 

Karthika Viknarasah

Karthika had a successful career as an accountant before following her passion to the early childhood sector. She has worked as an Educator, Early Childhood Teacher and Director in long day care and OOSH services. She holds a Master of Teaching degree and a Master of Educational Leadership degree and is a NESA Early Childhood Teacher Accreditation Supervisor. She has served on the board of a number of committees, peak bodies, community organisations and government advisory panels.
In her work with CELA, Karthika uses her specialist qualifications and experience to undertake compliance audits for services as well as facilitating training to support sector professionals pursuing continuous improvement. She is passionate about the performing arts as a conduit for holistic development with a particular emphasis on early literacy and speech development. 

Penny Birdsall

Penny is an early childhood professional with over 25 years experience in a variety of settings in both New South Wales and Queensland. She has been an early childhood teacher, director, manager, tutor and adult education assessor and trainer within the TAFE system. She has worked for community-based, council, private and large non-profit organisations. She is also a qualified yoga teacher.

Penny is passionate about exploring environments and the benefits of nature play for children and how this relates to their well-being.

She is very versatile, with a broad range of knowledge in many areas including the NQF and EYLF.

Ella de la Motte

Facilitator and Early Education Specialist

Ella has worked in the early childhood education sector for many years and holds an abundance of knowledge and experience gained in a diverse range of early education and care settings. Her qualifications include a Diploma in Early Childhood and a Bachelor of Teaching (Birth to 5 years).

Ella is currently the Director/Nominated Supervisor of a vibrant service located in the Hunter region of NSW. She views the opportunity to support and guide others as a privilege and is driven by a desire to influence the growth of high-quality education and care, leading to better outcomes for children. During her career, she has spent time as a trainer and assessor for Certificate III and Diploma level qualifications in early childhood education and care.

Rod Soper

Rod Soper is a highly regarded ECEC author, leader, wellbeing researcher and visionary co-founder of Thinkers.inq preschool and early years school.

 He is founder of ‘The Playing with Gratitude Project’; an international wellbeing action research project now with over 4,000 participants including children, families and educators. His vision is also expressed through consulting work within the education sector, partnering with workplaces to inspire and support building wellbeing in communities through organisational change. In his work as a training facilitator with CELA, Rod aims to help educators thrive in their professional practices. He holds a Diploma of Leadership and Management, Graduate Diploma Counselling, Master of Teaching (Hons and Special Education) and Bachelor of Arts. 

Suellen Bingham

Suellen is the Manager of Children’s Services Community Management (CSCM) and a Centre Director overseeing operations at three Preschool centres in the Hunter region. She is also the Nominated Supervisor for Thornton long day care and preschool.  CSCM takes on the management of education and care services partnering with communities to provide specialist management expertise for their education and care service. She holds a Diploma In Teaching (Early Childhood Education) with distinction from The University of Newcastle and faciliates some of CELA's training sessions. 

Meg Anastasi

Meg is a passionate advocate for early childhood, with a particular focus on inclusion, wellbeing, and teamwork. She is an early education specialist with broad sector experience. Over the past ten years Meg has provided parenting support programs for vulnerable families in playgroup settings, worked in long day care and as a teacher in a sessional kindergarten in Melbourne. Meg also mentors pre-service teachers who are on placement as part of their tertiary studies at university.  

Meg holds a Bachelor in Early Childhood Education and is currently undergoing postgraduate study in adult education at Deakin University. As a lover of robust discussion and deep reflective practice, Meg aims to help, guide and mentor many educators in the development of their practice and pedagogy. 

Eva Bowers

RTO Trainer and Assessor

Eva is a trainer and assessor for CELA’s RTO child protection training course. She is a social worker and educator with an extensive practice background in child protection. Eva spent a decade working as a case worker, case work specialist and training with the NSW Department of Communities and Justice.

She currently works with the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court of Australia as a Regulation 7 Family Consultant/Child Expert and has worked as a teacher, trainer and consultant in the community services education sector for the past 15 years.  

Eva has a passion and commitment to providing education in the VET sector in community services including supporting early childhood educators in a complex and challenging area when responding to child protection concerns. 

Tracey Sharp

Tracey has been involved in the early childhood sector for the last twenty years in a variety of roles including teacher, director, area manager and consultant. Tracey has a Bachelor’s Degree in Teaching (Early Childhood Education), a Bachelor of Interior Architecture with Honours, an Associate Diploma in Social Science (Child Studies) and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

She is incredibly passionate about children’s rights, the experiences they have and their emotional well-being. She believes that the physical environment that is presented to children can impact on the experiences they have and their learning outcomes.

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