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Within the nominated Gifted Education Learning Schools (GELS), a new role of Gifted Education Mentor (GEM) has been created to support gifted learners and to work with teachers. Each of the GELS also has a gifted education committee, including Principal and/or Assistant Principal and GEM. The role of the committee is to lead the identification process and support teachers in providing appropriate strategies to assist students.

  Rachael Moore - St Pius X High School, Adamstown

I have 10 years of experience as a classroom teacher and during this time, I have gained a Graduate Certificate in Gifted Education from the University of New England and a Master of Education Leadership from the Australian Catholic University. At St Pius X we’ve identified our high ability students so that we can identify what each student needs to see positive growth in individual learning outcomes. In 2018 we will offer professional development in differentiating in formative classroom tasks for our staff. Our aim at St Pius X is to provide quality learning opportunities for all students and give our gifted students more challenges in their learning.


Shannon McGregor - St John’s Primary School, Lambton

I am the Gifted Education Mentor for St John's Primary School, Lambton. It is my responsibility as a GEM to encourage and facilitate opportunities for learning within our staff to enhance knowledge and skills. Integral to being GEM is recognising the significance of, and actively participating in, the strengthening and building of professional relationships with schools in surrounding areas. This includes an emphasis on transference of student information to our associated secondary school, St Pius X, Adamstown.


Jo Simes - St James' Primary School, Kotara South

As a GEM I’ve gaining deeper understanding of Gifted Education, finding new improvements in writing and a wider use of technology. From the beginning we’ve emphasised a slow and steady approach to building the capacity and confidence of teachers in gifted education. I hope to continue working with teachers to develop a variety of options for students to demonstrate their knowledge and further explore areas of interest, taking their learning beyond the classroom and curriculum. Technology provides opportunities to trial different apps to engage learners and record their work, while writing provides opportunities to extend and challenge their thinking.


Debra Petersen - St Therese's Primary School, New Lambton

As the Gifted Education Mentor (GEM) for my school I’m dedicated to creating a school wide focus on lifting the performance of gifted students. I’m committed to providing all staff with professional learning opportunities that will result in identifying gifted students and their learning needs. This commitment to engaging in ongoing opportunities helps to develop and realise student academic potential in the intellectual and creative domains. Our staff share a common understanding of the term gifted education and work collaboratively to ensure all our students work to their full potential.




Gary Pomplun - Holy Name Primary School, Forster

I’m excited to be the Gifted Education Mentor at Holy Name in 2018. Over the past two years, I’ve engaged in professional learning opportunities focusing on Gifted Education, completing the mini-certificate of Gifted Education and master class of Gifted Education. As the GEM, I will work closely alongside my colleagues and parents of students to identify and cater for gifted learners at Holy Name. I’ll work collaboratively with my colleagues to develop tiered curriculum programs to cater for gifted learners in a mixed ability primary classroom, that are based on current research and promote best practice.

Kate Monkley – St Joseph’s Primary School, Wingham

St Joseph’s Wingham is very excited to become a GEL school in 2019. We understand the need to provide quality-learning opportunities for all students. Our commitment to gifted education will provide a vehicle to drive our discussions and collaborative planning to provide challenging learning opportunities. My role as GEM means that I can share my passion and enthusiasm for teaching and learning. I aim to share ideas that promote best practice in differentiation that is based on current research. Working with an exceptional gifted education committee, we will develop relationships that ensure all of our students work to their full potential.




Carlia Collingwood - Holy Spirit Infants School, Abermain

I am the Gifted Education Mentor (GEM) of Holy Spirit Infants School, Abermain. I have been teaching for 10 years and have a Masters of Education from Charles Stuart University. Holy Spirit is very excited to begin our Gifted Education Lead School journey in 2019. This journey will support our mission of guiding our students to meet their full potential. In my role as GEM this year, I will work in collaboration with classroom teachers and parents to identify students whom present within the gifted range. Once identified, I will assist classroom teachers to plan for and implement effective curriculum differentiation within mixed-ability classrooms based on current educational research.

Penny Bannister - Holy Spirit Primary School, Kurri Kurri

I am very excited to be a part of Holy Spirit Primary School Kurri Kurri’s journey as a GEL (Gifted Enriched Learning) School. I have been teaching for 17 years and have taught in 4 different Diocese of NSW. I am enthusiastic and passionate about Gifted Education and improving and enriching the learning of all students at Holy Spirit.  In my role as GEM (Gifted Education Mentor) I will assist staff members in identifying students who present in the gifted range.  Once these students have been identified I will support my colleagues to ensure that all students are catered for. 


Sarah Elliot - All Saints College, St Peter's Campus, Maitland

I’ve worked in Catholic schools for over eight years as an English, HSIE and Studies of Religion teacher. During this time, I completed a Masters of Educational Management and Leadership at UNSW where I undertook a semester of study in educational leadership for gifted students. My role involves the identification of our gifted students, staff professional development and implementation of teaching strategies to cater for our students. Our focus for gifted education at All Saints College, St Peter’s Campus is to understand how we can change our teaching practice for the benefit of all students in our school and empower teachers in this process. The implementation process so far has been the identification of our students and understanding how to cater for these students’ learning needs.

Jenny McFadyen - St John the Baptist Primary School, Maitland

Being the GEM at St John the Baptist has meant that I now have the professional training and the support of the CSO to identify students’ needs, to support them to reach their own potential and develop their abilities. While I’ve been organising and implementing existing gifted program for the last few years at St John’s, my GEM role has provided me with the opportunity to ensure teachers are well supported in their programming and teaching. This support will afford the opportunity to provide challenging activities in the classroom that allow for enrichment and extension to occur. As we move into 2018, I look forward to continuing my collaboration with the other All Saints GEL schools as we ensure that we maximise each students learning potential.


Catherine Wallace - St Joseph's Primary School, East Maitland

My role as the GEM at St Joseph’s East Maitland, is to demonstrate proactive, strategic management, which will provide support and guidance to staff in the implementation of personalised learning practices and a genuinely differentiated curriculum in addressing the needs of students. Our focus in 2018, will be to implement quality teaching and learning programs, which differentiate and allow students to achieve their potential. St Joseph’s recognises and values the uniqueness of each individual and wishes to embrace this exciting journey.




Bonnie Griffin - St Columban's Primary School, Mayfield

St Columban’s began their Gifted Education journey in 2017. This is my first year in the role of Gifted Education Mentor at St Columban’s, taking the reins from our previous GEM who is now our Principal. I have been a teacher for 31 years and have specialised in Special Education, English as a Second Language and Gifted Education as well as spending many years in the classroom in NSW, interstate and internationally. I gained a postgraduate Certificate of Gifted Education (UNSW) in 2012 while teaching in a Lighthouse school for Gifted Education, Far North Queensland. Understanding, identifying and meeting the diverse needs of all students in an environment that supports all aspects of the child’s growth is at the heart of our school’s professional philosophy. I am delighted to be working collaboratively with San Clemente Mayfield, Corpus Christi Waratah and St Michael’s Nelson Bay to develop and implement whole school practices that allow students to strive for and reach their potential in all areas.


Jodi Bosworth - Corpus Christi Primary School, Waratah

I’m very passionate about my role as a GEM at Corpus Christi, Waratah. As part of the Gifted Education Lead Schools, our school is working closely with our two cluster schools; St Columban’s Mayfield and San Clemente Mayfield to develop and implement learning for both staff and students that is challenging and engaging. 2017 has been a year full of professional learning opportunities in gifted education. Collating and analysis of data, trialling differentiated learning tasks with small groups and expanding our understanding of tiered learning programs to cater more thoroughly for gifted learners in a mixed ability primary classroom. In 2018, we look forward to using creative and critical thinking strategies and implementing engaging and challenging tiered learning for our students.




Amber Deegan- St Patrick’s Primary School, Lochinvar

St Patrick’s Lochinvar became a Gifted Education Lead School in Term 2, 2018. Over the last 12 months, we have made solid gains in gifted education including implementing a multi-criterion approach to identify our gifted learners, adopting the cluster grouping model across grades 2-6, using pre-assessment data to inform teaching and learning and flexible group organisation in Mathematics and English. Over the course of the last 12 months, St Patrick’s has initiated relationships with the other GEL schools in our cluster group, being our feeder high school, St Joseph’s College, Lochinvar and Rosary Park, Branxton. We look forward to working with St Patrick’s, Cessnock when they begin their GEL journey. Being a Gifted Education Lead School is an exciting new chapter for the lives of many students at St Patrick’s, and we look forward to supporting their learning needs into the future.



Michelle Burgess – St Bede’s Catholic College, Chisholm

We have witnessed our school community grow by the addition of another cohort and the employment of more amazing staff at St Bede's Catholic College. Being a part of the new Gifted Education Lead Schools with Our Lady of Lourdes, Tarro and St Aloysius, Chisholm is an exciting adventure that commenced late last year. Our collaborative approach will allow all students progressing to secondary education to have the best possible opportunity to recognise, appreciate and develop their gifts into talents. From our very first day in 2018, St Bede’s have offered various opportunities of cross-curricular learning experiences in all KLAs, implemented the cluster model in Science, Mathematics, PDHPE, English and HSIE classes and embraced the flexible learning design. Our school-wide focus this year, is to exemplify differentiated learning in the classroom where all students are challenged and can develop their love of learning. 


Jessica Moulder St Aloysius Catholic Primary School, Chisholm

St Aloysius is very excited about being a Gifted Education Lead School (GEL) and strengthening our ties with the other schools in our cluster, St Bede’s Chisholm and Our Lady of Lourdes, Tarro. I am passionate about Gifted Education and seeing all students holistically fulfil their true potential. My journey working in Gifted Education began over 10 years ago and fits perfectly with my other passion area of contemporary learning and STEM education. I am really looking forward to supporting and empowering our staff to best cater for the students they teach through developing their students’ creative and critical thinking skills as well as other differentiated learning opportunities. I look forward to seeing the growth of our students and what they can truly achieve.


Kathryn Stuart - Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School, Tarro

OLOL, Tarro is looking forward to our journey to becoming a Gifted Education Lead School for 2019. Our focus this year is identifying the gifted students in our school and then identifying the ways that we are going to catering for these students. Our school is looking forward to the professional development and knowledge we will gain from our journey being a Gifted Education Lead school. As the GEM, my role is to facilitate this professional development, knowledge and understanding of gifted education. We are looking forward to working with St Aloysius and St Bede’s, as the new cluster of Chisholm.




Lauren McCafferty - St Paul's Catholic College, Booragul

I am a teacher of English and HSIE with ten years of experience in various educational contexts. I have a passion for Gifted Education and have engaged in extensive professional learning opportunities related to Gifted Education over the last five years. As the GEM at St. Paul’s Catholic College, my role involves working with a school-based committee to discuss teaching and learning matters such as programs, classroom practice and student progress. I look forward to providing ongoing support to colleagues and students in gifted education by differentiating teaching to meet the learning needs of gifted students. I will also work with students and staff from our cluster schools to ensure the provision of a stimulating and enriching learning environment that enables students to explore and build upon their gifts.


Anne Neems - St Joseph’s Primary School, Kilaben Bay

As a relatively new member of the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese, I am excited to be involved in gifted education as a Gifted Education Mentor. I have participated in a variety of initiatives to cater for gifted students in the past and am enthusiastic about the opportunity to create a sustainable pathway for the students at St Joseph’s. As part of a UoN initiative I worked with Dr Graham Chaffey to identify gifted underachievers. I also facilitated a program for gifted artists by linking a cluster of primary schools with the local high school. I am looking forward to working with our wonderful staff to maximise the potential of all students in our school.