Joanne is currently Leader of Learning – Specialised Learning in the Secondary School at St Andrew’s Cathedral School in Sydney. Her qualifications and expertise are grounded in a wide range of disciplines, namely English, Visual Arts, Law, Special Needs, EAL/D, Psychology and Gifted Education, and she has published educational texts in the areas of English literacy, Visual Arts and Design. She has extensive experience as a Learning Support and Enrichment Coordinator, and has worked in the Catholic and Independent sectors in New South Wales. In her former role as Assessment Fellow in Literacy at UNSW, Joanne was a test developer, item writer and reviewer – and she has continued working for UNSW Global in a consultative capacity. As a teacher, Joanne is passionate about the importance of speech, the centrality of language and reading comprehension, and the game-changing nature of vocabulary instruction. She enjoys preparing resources to build literacy skills and strategies in students, that are what she calls ‘working memory-friendly’. Joanne was the National English Lead in her role at ACARA in 2014-2015, where she thoroughly enjoyed working under Dr Phil Lambert OAM to review AC English P-10 and infuse and embed Phonics and Spelling into the curriculum. She is a Cambridge IELTS Examiner and Academic English Teacher for Macquarie University, and is fascinated by inter-cultural contexts for language learning challenges. Joanne is also a former lawyer with experience in family law, children’s representation, intellectual property law and succession Law. She has worked in private legal practice and government contexts in Sydney, including the Public Trustee Office NSW. Joanne was Vice-President, Education for Toastmasters Inc. (Killara branch) for several years, and has been President of PALS since late 2018.
Joanne likes to share her knowledge about how to build capacity in special needs staff, and how to create sustainable processes in schools to meet the often multi-faceted needs and twice-exceptionalities in children and adolescents, and is a regular presenter for PALS workshops and conference days.