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Association Management Committee 2021

Catherine Trindall


Catherine Trindall is a Gomeroi woman with more than 30 years of experience working in Aboriginal education in NSW. She has been awarded the highest of recognition by the NSW AECG when she was formally inducted as an NSW AECG Life Member in 2018.

She began her work in education in 1985 as the first Aboriginal Teaching Assistant in Tamworth before becoming a primary trained teacher. Catherine has extensively taught both in the city, rural and remote areas of NSW, where she has held many roles and positions across the Department of Education.
Catherine is the current Deputy Chair and Ministerial appointee to the NSW Aboriginal Languages Trust Board. More recently she has undertaken a considerable body of work in leading and coordinating NSW TAFE’s work around the teaching and learning of Aboriginal Languages.
In March 2021 Catherine was formally elected to the position of NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Inc. President.

Leigh Ridgeway

Vice President

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.

Narelle Daniels


Narelle is a Murramurang woman who grew up in La Perouse. She was employed from 2014 to 2021 as a Secondary English Teacher at Sydney Secondary College, Blackwattle Bay Campus in Glebe, where she was able to incorporate more Aboriginal texts into our Stage 6 Curriculum. Narelle also advised the other faculties on who to contact for subject specific information in relation to Aboriginal content and essential curriculum. She is currently employed in the Secretariat as a Curriculum Officer. Narelle been actively involved in both the Inner City and Eastern Suburbs Local AECGs, and Met East Regional AECG at varying levels over the past 15 years. She is currently the Vice President of the Inner City Local AECG. Narelle is a strong believer in the grass roots consultation which is the foundation of our organisation and the importance of taking this voice to the Ministerial levels (both State and Federal) as well as our existing Partnership with the Education department.

She is looking forward to being able to represent the members in whatever platform they need, and be that strong voice among many to up hold the essential belief that “Aboriginal Education Matters”.

Anne Dennis


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 Brown


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


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.

Lesley Armstrong


Lesley is a Yuin woman from the South Coast of NSW and has been involved in Aboriginal Education for over 30 years within her role as an AEO, Life Member of the NSW AECG, Lesley has held Local and Regional President’s position for over 20 years. Currently residing on the Central Coast Lesley has strong family connections to the La Perouse and South Coast Communities. Lesley has worked as an Aboriginal Education Officer at Gorokan High School and has seen the Central Coast Aboriginal community grow from strength to strength. Lesley believes that getting Aboriginal people engaged in education will only better the next generations’ educational opportunities that would then build success.

Tom Flanders


Coming soon…

Ken Weatherall


Ken is a proud descendant of the Muruwari and Kamilaroi Nations of New South Wales and has been a passionate advocate for Aboriginal Education for over 20 years, having spent 17 years working in the NSW Department of Education in many different roles, including the Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer (ACLO) for 8 years in Newcastle Office.

He has also been involved as an active member of the NSW AECG at the Local, Regional and State levels since 2007, Holding positions such as President, Vice President and Secretary at the local and regional level and served has the State Vice President in 2012 & 2013.

Ken currently works as Program Co-ordinator for the Stronger Smarter Institute since 2016 and travels the Country conducting the leadership programs with teachers, executive staff and community members.

He is committed to making a positive difference for the educational opportunities for all Aboriginal learners and our communities in all educational sectors.