AGECS is led by a volunteer Council of early childhood professionals, supported by part-time contractors. 

As a member there are opportunities to join Council or its Committees. If you have any suggestions or ideas about how AGECS can support your professional learning, please either email us or comment on one of our social media channels. As a member, you are also encouraged to attend the AGM.

Our Council Members

Council meets quarterly, as well as the AGM. In these meetings Council members address official business, and dedicate time to discussing plans for professional learning for the early childhood education and care community.


President Coral Campbell - AGECS Director


PhD (science education), B. Education (post-grad), B. App Sci, TAFE Adv Cert App Sci,


Professor Coral Campbell has had three career trajectories as a science project officer, school teacher and university academic spanning many years. In the last seventeen years, her professional focus has been on early childhood (EC) science, STEM and nature-based learning for children and EC professionals, inclusive of undertaking research with EC professionals to understand the landscape of EC learning in science. Coral developed the book Science in Early Childhood, now in its fifth edition, based on this earlier work. In more recent times, Coral has been the Chair of the AGECS Fellowship Advisory Committe and was a recipient of the grant in 2017.

Coral has recently retired from full-time work but continues in an Honorary role with Deakin University.


Vice President Melissa Adam


M.Ed. (Arts and Social Ed.), Grad. Dip. Ed. (Social Ed.), Grad. Dip. Div., BECS, Current PhD candidate.


Melissa is a PhD student, teaching coach and casual academic at Deakin University. She has 28 years of experience in a range of roles across early childhood education. Melissa has directed and taught in Victorian preschools and early learning settings, led multiple teams through assessments, ratings, and centre rebuilds, worked as an Educational Leader and Nominated Supervisor, lectured in professional pedagogy and practice, creative arts and law/ethics in early childhood. She thoroughly enjoys coaching and mentoring preservice teachers as part of the placement liaison and assessment team. Melissa has facilitated numerous parenting and early childhood workshops and is passionate about meaningful, supportive, and collaborative engagements with children, families, teachers and educators.

Honorary Secretary Sarah O'Donnell - AGECS Director


Post Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood, Certified Practitioner EFT, Certificate III in Meditation Teaching, Tuning into Kids and Teens facilitator.


After graduating from Melbourne University, Sarah spent a year living and teaching in London before settling into the city of Knox as a preschool teacher. Since this initial teaching role, Sarah has worked as a PSFO coordinator, been Team Leader of Specialist Children’s Service for the Department of Education and overseen the build and establishment of an integrated children’s service which included early learning programs, MCH, and a toy library. For the last few years Sarah has worked in senior leadership positions managing Children’s Services Clusters and managing the trial of the Short Term Kindergarten Inclusion Support Program. Currently Sarah works at Uniting part time while establishing her own business Empowered Living working with Educators and families to reduce their stress as a Certified EFT (Tapping) Practitioner and meditation teacher.

Honorary Treasurer Emma Boag - AGECS Director


Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood)


Emma is an experienced teacher and leader.  She has gained an excellent understanding of the characteristics of young children’s learning through extensive experience teaching and including children 0-8 in different contexts.  She has taught and led in kindergarten and school settings in Australia and the UK.   Emma has a sound knowledge of teaching and leading teachers using different curriculum frameworks, a perceptive and innovative leadership style and a drive to progress children’s outcomes.  Her current role is with Community Kinders Plus as the Leader of Pedagogy, supporting teachers and educators to deliver high quality early learning to kindergarten aged children.

General Member Helen Baker

Diploma of Teaching, Early Childhood; Graduate Diploma, Special Education, Certificate IV, Project

Helen has worked in the early childhood field for the past 40 years. She has experience in
sessional kindergarten, extended hours education and care, special education and early
childhood intervention. Helen has valued various roles including Early Childhood Teacher,
Play Specialist, Special Education Teacher, Early Years Project Officer, Preschool Field Officer
and Team Leader.
In 2017, Helen was the recipient of an AGECS, Fellowship grant. She attended the National
Training Institute on Effective Practices, Addressing Challenging Behaviour Conference in
Florida and visited a number of early years services in Colorado implementing the Pyramid
Model. The focus for Helen’s grant was to develop peer group coaching to enhance
children’s social and emotional competence. On return to Australia Helen worked with
colleagues to implemented a peer group mentoring program for Educational Leaders.
Helen is an advocate for educators and their crucial role in teaching children social skills and
emotional literacy.

General Member Sue Emmett




Dr Sue Emmett has been extensively involved in early childhood education and the translation of research into the practical environment for over thirty-five years. Her professional experience includes early childhood teaching in a range of settings, work as an early childhood educational consultant and teaching and researching within TAFE and Higher Education sectors. Sue is currently working as Senior Lecturer in Education at Federation University Australia where she coordinates and teaches in Bachelor and Master of Education in Early Childhood Programs. Her research interests include the wellbeing and resilience of children and educators including trauma informed, inclusive pedagogy and relationship-focused practice in early childhood contexts. 

General Member Wendy Grenfell


Diploma in Early Childhood Development, Bachelor of Special Education


Wendy has worked extensively in Victorian local government, as an EC Teacher for the City of Keilor, for the City of Knox in sessional kindergartens, and for the city of Boroondara and Knox as a PSFO. Over time, Wendy has also worked as a Toddler group Teacher, Playgroup Field Officer, Preschool Field Officer, Validation Officer, Early Intervention Teacher and Kindergarten Team Leader.

While overseas, Wendy worked for the University of New Brunswick as an Early Years facilitator supporting families of children with additional needs. Wendy has volunteered with the Knox Kindergarten Teachers Association (6 years), PSFO Association (9 years) and currently with AGECS (11 years). Wendy was until recently working part time as a Team Leader in Integrated Kindergartens but is currently retired.

General Member Nicole Lees


Bachelor of Business (Management), Bachelor of Arts (International Studies), Diploma of Children’s Services (Education), Master of Childhood and Youth Studies


Nicole has worked in the early childhood sector for more than 15 years, including: educator and leadership roles, consultancy and research. Nicole spent several years working in the education sector in Japan and South Korea. Nicole’s experience in early childhood education across different countries highlighted the significance of wellbeing above all else. To follow this interest, Nicole undertook a Master of Childhood and Youth Studies, focusing on early childhood wellbeing and spirituality. Nicole’s priorities are mental health, educator wellbeing, reconciliation, equity, inclusion and diversity.

Nicole is currently a Be You Consultant at Early Childhood Australia; supporting early learning services across Australia to promote and protect the mental health and wellbeing of children, educators, and families.


General Member Nichola Marriott


Master of Education (Early Childhood), Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood)


Nichola has taught in a variety of settings including rural Victoria, remote WA, Singapore and suburban Melbourne. She has been a PSFO and a pedagogical leader and is currently sharing her passion for inclusion by working at Yooralla in the KIS programme.

General Member Sandra McCarthy-Wilson


Diploma of Teaching Early Childhood, Graduate Diploma Teaching (Music), Certificate IV in Assessment and Training, Course in Aboriginal Cultural Education.


Sandra has worked in the early childhood field for the past 37 years. She has experience in in Long Day Care, sessional kindergarten, Assessment and Training, Professional Development for Cert III and Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care and Professional Development. Her roles have been Director in Long Day Care, Special Education Teacher, Assessor and Trainer for Cert III and Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care. Professional Development Facilitator and currently Educational Leader.

Sandra has a passion in the educational program and supporting her educators in their growth in understanding different pedagogies that underpin best outcomes for children and how to use reflective practice to support these understandings and best outcomes.

She also enjoys the advocacy and support that AGECS provides in being part of the council which is very fulfilling to give back to the community.

General Member Sinead O Conaill


Bachelor of Arts and Humanities (Music and Human Development),  Postgraduate Degree in Early Childhood Education and Montessori Studies, Masters of Education (University of Melbourne) and Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.


Sinead has worked in the early childhood sector for more than 10 years. Sinead started her career as a kindergarten teacher in Ireland. Sinead moved to Australia in 2015 where she has held a range of roles across early childhood education. In Melbourne, Sinead has taught 3 and 4 year old kindergarten, managed a long day care/kindergarten service, was a regional manager for 15 long day care centres, a training manager for over 200 employees and director of an early childhood education professional development company, delivering training both online and in person. Across these roles Sinead has advocated for professional practice, focused on quality improvement and developed a knowledge of the impact leadership and governance can have on the industry. Sinead is currently working as a Preschool Field Officer and is enjoying connecting with families and educators across Melbourne to support the promotion of inclusion.

General Member Bridie Raban


PhD, MEd, BA, PGCE, CertEd, DipEd. Mooroolbeek Professor of Early Childhood Studies, Melbourne University 1995-2007.


After 12 years teaching, Bridie joined the staff of the Universities of Bristol, Reading, Oxford and Warwick where she was Professor of Primary Education (Early Years) before coming to Australia.

She has published widely and presented at conferences across the world.

In 2021 she was awarded an Honorary University Fellowship by the Hong Kong Baptist University in recognition of her significant research and scholarship.

Her latest books:

Raban, B. 2020 Developing Self and Self-Concept in early childhood education and beyond. Bingley: Emerald Points.

Kilderry, A. & Raban, B. (Eds.). 2020. Strong Foundations: Evidence-informing practice in early childhood education and care, Melbourne: ACER Press.

Our Contractors

In order to achieve our charitable goals, AGECS is supported by a small number of contractors.

Engagement Coordinator Alex Heard

Alex has a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Teaching from the University of Melbourne. She is currently at the beginning of a PhD at ACU, looking at young children’s internet use.

Alex has several years of teaching experience, and has been both teacher and educational leader in this time. She still practices teaching the northern suburbs of Melbourne. In 2017, Alex became a member of the Merri-bek Early Years Network where she volunteers with other early childhood professionals to organise an annual conference. Alex has also worked with the University of Melbourne’s Master of Teaching program as a Clinical Specialist Tutor, and from time to consults on children’s educational apps. She is a current Apiary Fellow with the Front Project. 

Program Manager Liz Potter

Liz is Founder and Director of Business Answers & Support and brings a wealth of experience from many years’ work supporting a wide range of businesses, organisations and not-for-profits. Liz has a Bachelor of Arts from University of Melbourne, is registered with the Tax Practitioners Board as a BAS Agent, and is a Member in Practice of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers. Liz is a skilled project manager who combines high level communications with proven leadership to get the job done. She brings a calm and positive presence to each workplace she serves.

Bookkeeper Narelle Wilson

Narelle is the Director of Volta Consulting, a purpose-led consulting firm that aims to bridge the gap between profit and purpose. Narelle holds a Bachelor or Commerce (Accounting and Business Law) from Curtin University, a Graduate Diploma in Applied Corporate Governance from the Governance Institute of Australia, a Graduate Certificate in Gender, Peace and Security and is part way through a Master of International Relations at Monash University. She is also a registered BAS Agent and has over 20 years corporate experience, including 13 years managing a private equity firm and now works with a range of business owners in various sectors including NFP, education, coaching, and professional services.