B4 Leaders are influential individuals from diverse backgrounds, who after a public expression of interest have been appointed by the Minister for Education and Training in 2017. Leaders represent and engage groups and individuals across identified sectors and develop annual Sector Action Plans, working together with families and communities. The Early Childhood Education and Care sector has three Leaders who work collaboratively across this sector acknowledging this sectors scope and impact on the early years.
B4 Sector Focus – Local Government
Tracey Bradley has been working in the local government sector for over thirty years and is currently working across two local government areas as a Director in Corporate and Community Services. Early years programs have been a foundation aspect of her career, in management, development and delivery of quality services. Mentoring and partnerships have been pivotal in innovative delivery or services.
Tracey has been engaged in the development and implementation of regulation for the early years. Tracey has worked at a state and federal level in education and care sector development, most recently as an inaugural member of the Australian Children’s Education and Care Authority Board. This appointment has enhanced and broadened her commitment to quality programs for children and universal equity in access to quality education and care services.
B4 Sector Focus – Early Childhood Education and Care
Ros Cornish has worked in, and been a strong advocate for, the early childhood education and care sector for more than 30 years, in roles including educator, teacher, long day care centre director and public servant.
For the past 23 years Ros has worked for Lady Gowrie Tasmania, a not for profit community based organisation that provides a range of services to children, families and early childhood and allied professionals. Her current role is Chief Executive Officer.
Ros holds an early childhood degree as well as qualifications in business management. In 2009 she was awarded the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI) Corporate Professional of the Year. She serves on many committees and groups at a local level as well as a member of the Australian Government Ministerial Advisory Committee and the Australian Children’s Quality Authority Review Panel. In 2016 she was inducted into the Tasmanian Honour Roll for Women for services to the community particularly early childhood.
Ros has been a member of Early Childhood Australia for over 30 years and a member of the National Board for 16 years. She has served in the roles as Board Director, National Treasurer, Deputy National President and is now privileged to be in the position of National President.
Mrs Kristen Desmond
B4 Sector Focus – Disability
Kristen is the Founder of the Tasmanian Disability Education Reform Lobby. She formed this group to ensure that parents’ and carers’ very real concerns about their children’s education are taken seriously.
Kristen is a mum and a passionate advocate and is committed to ensuring that every child has access to a quality education.
Some of Kristen’s experience includes:
- Former Board Chair – Children and Young People with Disability Australia
- Member of the Tasmanian Department of Education Inclusive Working Group
- Former Member of the Tasmanian Autism Advisory Panel
- Former Member of the Tasmanian Ministerial Taskforce into Improved Support for Students with Disability.
Kristen holds degrees in both Social Science and Law. Kristen’s strong advocacy role has been acknowledged by her nomination as a State finalist in the Australian of the Year Awards in 2014 being named the 2016 Launceston City Councils Australia Day Citizen of the Year.
B4 Sector Focus – State Government
Gail has been passionate about wellbeing, education and positive foundations for children and young people throughout her broad career. This dedication commenced with hands on roles in the early childhood sector operating a licenced pre-kindergarten program. Gail moved into executive management roles, operating long day care, outside school hour’s care, and a large family day care scheme in a local government environment. Gail holds an Associate Diploma of Social Science (Child Care), CIV in Training & Assessment, Bachelor Social Science (Human Services) Child Care and a Master’s in Public Administration. In 2003, Gail was appointed to the role of Team Leader Children’s Services TAFE Tasmania, and various executive roles at the Skills Institute and TasTAFE. Gail has also consulted to a number of children’s services, was a member of the Legislative Reference Group for the Child Care Act (Tasmania) 2001 and was Chair of the Ministerial Child Care Advisory Council. Gail has always been inspired to improve the lives of others throughout her career in children’s services and vocational education and training environments and now has a strong commitment to the safety and protection of children in the Tasmanian community through her role as Deputy Secretary Children.
Mrs Lea Lawson
B4 Sector Focus – Business and Industry
Lea holds significant experience and expertise across both the early years and the business sector. She for many years managed a successful multi-site early years child care service model, and operated a consulting service operating across Tasmania, NSW, and WA.
Lea has lived, worked and raised a family in Tasmania and has an extensive network of connections and relationships. Lea is well known and acknowledged for her commitment to children and their families in the early years with a strong social justice ethos aligned to the aspirations and values of B4. In additional Lea has an ongoing commitment to lifelong learning and is currently undertaking a PhD through the University of Tasmania researching the challenge of impulsive behaviours in children under the supervision of senior members of the Philosophy Department of Tasmania and the Florey Institute in Melbourne.
B4 Sector Focus – Early Childhood Education and Care
Giving all children the best possible start in education has been Kim’s lifelong passion. As a teacher with an early years qualification Kim has worked in the state school sector in Launching into Learning, Kindergarten and beyond. In the later part of her career Kim worked with teachers and other staff to implement Belonging, Being and Becoming the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia through the development of professional learning packages.
Since retiring Kim has become involved in our local Mothers of Pre-schoolers group and continued her association with the early years professional body Early Childhood Educators of Tasmania as well as enjoying the company of her two young grandsons.
B4 Sector Focus – Community Services
Di is a long term academic and consultant in early childhood education and care. For more than 35 years Di has coordinated courses and lectured in leadership, curriculum and child development at Queensland University of Technology, University of Tasmania, James Cook and Torrens Universities. Di’s academic role has taken her to China, Singapore and Papua New Guinea where she has shared current theory and practice with teachers and administrators. As a consultant Di worked with the Queensland and South Australian Governments and facilitated numerous professional learning experiences with early childhood practitioners in schools, long day and family day care settings, and outside school hours care. Di is on the organising committee of Early Childhood Educators Tasmania (North).
Di’s research has focused on leading and learning in children’s services and prioritises collaborative approaches. Her belief in the power of collective impact is incorporated into her role chairing the Northern Early Years Group Tasmania Inc. and as educational leader consultant to the Northern Children’s Network. For the past several years Di participated in a range of collaborative projects in the Tamar Valley region working to enhance the wellbeing of young children and their families. Di is an advocate for respecting “children’s voices” in decisions that affect them.
Dr Becky Shelley
B4 Sector Focus – University of Tasmania
Becky has a strong interest and commitment to improving educational outcomes and life opportunities for children and young people in Tasmania, with twenty years’ experience working to enhance social outcomes in innovative, engaging and transformative ways. Education and participation have been key drivers of Becky’s work to foster an inclusive Tasmania.
Becky strives to connect and integrate policy, research and practice and is particularly interested ensuring research and policy is translated into effective and impactful change. Becky has a PhD in political science, and is currently the Deputy Director Aspirations and Attainment, The Peter Underwood Centre for Educational Attainment, at the University of Tasmania
Becky has experience in a number of different settings, including government, the community sector, and as a non-executive director. Becky has provided leadership to national and local initiatives focused on improving educational outcomes in the early years. Becky has two young children and finds it hard to believe that their early years are now behind them.
Mr Simon Spain
B4 Sector Focus – Arts and Culture.
Simon brings to the B4 Leaders group extensive experience and expertise across the early years and the Arts and Culture sector both within Tasmania, nationally and internationally. Simon has over 30 years’ experience in running engaging arts programming for children and families, with a commitment to providing an opportunity for everyone to be affected by the power of art. Simon trained as a printmaker in the UK and in a journey that has taken him around the world as an artist and presenter he settled in Australia just over twelve years ago. Simon established ArtPlay, an arts centre for children and families in the heart of Melbourne. ArtPlay’s programming and research broke new ground in the provision of arts for children and families in Australia. Simon moved to Tasmania at the beginning of 2016 to establish all that we are, a residency and capacity building program for artists, with his wife Victoria Ryle. He is currently completing a PhD at RMIT, the Tasmanian Director for Regional Arts Australia and was awarded the Australia Council for the Arts Community and Cultural Development Fellowship 2017-19.
B4 Sector Focus – Early Childhood Education and Care
Bronwyn is a passionate worker within the early year’s sector. Bronwyn is currently the Early Learning Consultant, for Goodstart Early Learning. Her experience and expertise surround the education and care of children aged birth to five years, and the training and professional development of those who work within the sector. Bronwyn’s experiences as a teacher, centre manager, trainer and consultant combine in her current role to support early learning centres state wide to provide high quality early learning to children and their families. Supporting these centres build their learning, development and social connections within the community.
Bronwyn holds a Bachelor of Education, specialising in Early Childhood Education, Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and is an Accredited VitalSmarts Crucial Conversations Trainer. Bronwyn also facilitates training and professional development nationally with Goodstart, and volunteers with a range of local community groups.
As a mother of two daughters who are part of the Tasmanian community, Bronwyn has a passion for childhood and advocating for children and their rights; and for children to be able to have a voice in the decisions that impact on their lives. These passions guide Bronwyn in both her personal and professional life.
Dr Fiona Wagg
B4 Sector Focus – Health
Dr Fiona Wagg is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist with special interest and expertise in early child development and its impact on lifelong health and well-being. Fiona is passionate about improving services to support families and communities in raising healthy children.
The health and circumstances of parents impact from the moment of conception on the developing brain of the baby, with pregnancy and the first two years of life being a critical period in the child’s biological, social and emotional development. Supporting families at this time helps adults become the nurturing parents they want to be; and is a preventative intervention to optimise outcomes for their children.
The strong scientific evidence base for the effectiveness and cost benefits of interventions early in the lifespan is a key understanding from Fiona’s background in developmental neuropsychiatry and attachment assessment and intervention.
Services that are accessible, user-friendly, integrated and effective in supporting children and families are a valuable investment in the health and well-being of the Tasmanian population and communities.
B4 Sector Focus – Education
Michael has combined an academic career in the early childhood sector with broad experience leading both government and non-government organisations deliver early childhood services.
He has lectured at the University of Tasmania in Human Development and has held executive positions in health, education and community services departments in a number of States across Australia.
These roles included Director of School Education in Victoria, Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, Executive Director Children, Youth and Family Services Bureau (ACT) and State Program Manager for Children Youth and Family Support in Tasmania.
Michael led the development of Victoria’s Plan for Young Children as part of the National Reform Agenda, and established Victoria’s Office for Children and Early Childhood Development in 2007-08.
In Victoria, he was responsible for the development of “whole of government” policy on children and young people and for the creation of a system to monitor the health, safety, learning, development and well-being of all children and young people (0-18 years) in Victoria.
Michael has facilitated high level committees, training workshops and consultations. These have included the Victorian committee developing an early years learning framework and leading groups developing collaborative practice in the health, education and children’s services fields.