Leigh is a member of the Worimi tribal group from Port Stephens who speak the Gattang language. Since becoming involved in the NSW AECG, Leigh has realised the importance of education not only Aboriginal people but non-Aboriginal people as well. “Since being involved with Aboriginal Education, I have made it my business to educate the wider community in my area. Aboriginal Education is everybody’s business: let’s make a difference to give children a better start to life”. Leigh became a Life Member of the NSW AECG in 2015.
Anne Dennis is a Gamilaraay woman living in Walgett and a strong advocate for Aboriginal people in the North West NSW. Anne understands the importance of a quality education needed in today’s society which inspired her to become a teacher. Anne has been involved in the NSW AECG Inc. for many years as an active member of her Local and Regional AECG and was formally recognised when give the status of Life Membership within the organisation. Anne is also involved in other Aboriginal organisations which allows her to advocate on behalf of her people ensuring that the needs and aspirations of the community are heard.
Melinda is an Aboriginal women from Wailwan and Worimi ancestry who grew up in Dharawal Country, Campbelltown. A proud mother and grandmother of 4 children and 4 grandchildren who now live on Awabakal Country Newcastle.
Melinda has dedicated many years of her career in support of the next generation of proud Aboriginal Australians. She has worked at the forefront of support for young Aboriginal people for over 20 years. Melinda is passionate about helping students, teachers, parents, carers, schools and communities to engage and participate within Aboriginal culture. Her passion has seen her work as a Project Officer for the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, supporting Aboriginal communities and schools to engage around Aboriginal Education, Aboriginal cultural perspectives and in achieving improved student learning outcomes.
Melinda’s previous experience includes working at many levels within the NSW Department of Education in a range of community engagement and student supporting roles and facilitating after school homework centres for students within her local area.
Melinda is Vice President of the Sugar Loaf Action Group that advocates on behalf of the community in West Wallsend NSW. The Sugar Loaf Action Group has been instrumental in the protection of sacred Aboriginal women’s sites.
In 2013, Melinda was awarded citizen of the year for Lake Macquarie in recognition of her work supporting students within the local community. Melinda has also received recognition through her part time acting career, appearing on TV shows such as Black Comedy, Black force and the SBS Clever Man series.
Most importantly Melinda was instrumental in the delivery of the MGoals Initiative, the precursor to Storylines of which she is a Co-Founder. Working as a Project Officer of MGoals, Melinda worked extensively with Community and partners to inform and evolve the MGoals into what Storylines is today.
Julie Street-Smith is a Minang/Ngadju woman who comes from Kalgoorlie WA, descending from the Harris, Woyliberry and Williams families. I have been living in Wollongong for 40 years and have always been involved with the Education of young people. As a girl guide leader, a youth and community worker, student support officer, Aboriginal Education Worker or in her current role as the Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer for NSW School Services in the Illawarra area.
Julie took up a casual vacancy on the NSW AECG Association Management Committee in August 2017. Julie has been the President of the Northern Illawarra Local and Upper South Coast Regional Secretary for the past three years and is very passionate about the education of our children. Julie understands that most people know the ‘Why’ of Aboriginal Education but very few know the ‘How’ and is actively trying to change that in her community.