Workshop Presenters

Dianne Davis
Dianne has worked in the field of education for over 30 years which included doing emergency relief at a Montessori School. Working in a Montessori environment inspired her to undertake Montessori studies. She taught in a 9-12yrs Montessori classroom for 7 years and was appointed Principal at Plenty Valley Montessori School, a position held and enjoyed for 10 years. Thereafter she spent a further 3 years as Principal at Melbourne Montessori School. Dianne also does consultancy work for several Montessori schools nationally, as well as for a number of smaller independent schools in Melbourne. Dianne holds a Bachelor of Education, Diploma of Montessori 9-12yrs MWEI, Diploma of Montessori Leadership AMS.

Leigh Franz-Evans
Leigh has a Bachelor of Science (Human Biology and Biomedical Science), Dip Ed (Primary Teaching), Masters of Education (Learning Difficulties) and Dip of Early Childhood and Primary Education (Montessori) 6-12yrs. Leigh’s involvement in Montessori Education began a decade ago and she has worked in many roles including Teacher Assistant (9-12yrs), Teacher (9-12yrs), Deputy Principal and Teacher in a cycle two classroom (6-9yrs).

Anna Golab
Anna is the special education coordinator in a Montessori school that offers early childhood, primary and middle school programs. Aside her classroom responsibilities, Anna’s other teaching commitments include teaching English to adults and adolescents, and mentoring teachers. She holds a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She also has a Diploma in Early Childhood Education and over 25 years of classroom teaching experience working in a Montessori setting as both a classroom teacher and as a teaching principal.

Wilma Grier
Wilma has many years’ experience in Montessori education as teacher, mentor, director and principal. She has lived and worked in Ireland, Australia and Indonesia and has been a speaker at national and international conferences. Wilma currently operates an intimate Montessori children’s group in Townsville, North Queensland catering for children aged 3-6 as part of her consultancy business ‘Wilma’s Garden’. She is an advocate for integrating the outdoors in daily practice.

Hali Halphen
Hali was introduced to Montessori Philosophy and Pedagogy when her four children were educated at Montessori Schools in Sydney and Melbourne. She started her working life as a medical doctor, with an interest in Public Health and Preventative Medicine. A move interstate gave her a chance to rethink her career and as she had grown very interested in Montessori it was a chance to make a very easy transition to teaching. After achieving a Montessori Institute Graduate Diploma (6-12yrs) she worked as a Cycle 3 teacher, then as a Curriculum Co-ordinator and with students with additional learning needs. Hali is currently completing a Masters in Education Policy and is also a Montessori Institute tutor.

Meghan Hicks
Meghan is a Montessori child, a Montessori teacher and a Montessori parent. She has taught at the 3-6 and 6-12 levels in Montessori schools in Australia and New Zealand, and founded the parent-infant-toddler community for 0-3yrs, known in Busselton.

Gemma Kuras
Gemma is an Educational Leader at Indooroopilly Montessori Children’s House (IMCH) which is a Centre of Excellence. She has a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood), Diploma of Montessori Education in both 0-3 and 3-6 years and commenced her career in the State education system teaching for a number of years at Prep & Year 1 level. Gemma has spent the last 10 years at IMCH in a role which covers the mentoring & training of educators in relation to the Montessori philosophy.

Stella Mandas
Stella holds a Bachelor of Early Childhood Studies from the University of Melbourne and completed her Montessori 3-6 Diploma with MWEI. Her teaching experiences, over 18 years, are in a variety of early childhood environments ranging from ages 2 years to 6 years of age. She has worked as a Teacher Co-ordinator, is a Montessori Institute tutor and assists with examinations. Her strengths are combining the EYLF with the Montessori philosophy and record keeping. Her two girls have attended Montessori schools in Melbourne. Her passion is helping other teachers fulfill their dreams in becoming Montessori Educators.

Dr. Eva Nislev
Eva has worked with many different age groups, from early childhood to mature age students. Her experience draws on a wide variety of roles ranging from Montessori centre director, university lecturer and tutor, workshop presenter and education consultant to a number of different tertiary organisations. She has presented at Montessori conferences both in Australia and overseas. Eva holds a PhD, MEd. (early childhood), Dip.Teach (infants/primary), Cert. Special Ed., Dip.Ed Montessori (MWEI (Aust) 3-9yrs), Dip.Children’s Services. In addition to her roles as teacher, educator and educational consultant, Eva has worked in a variety of environments, including state schools, special education schools, TAFE, university, Montessori early childhood programs, and various government departments.

Deirdre O’Reilly
Deirdre has taught for the over forty years in Montessori environments in Australia, Ireland and California. She holds pre-primary and primary Montessori diplomas and a B.Ed. (Primary) from UNE, a Masters in Education (Special Ed.) from University of Sydney and has completed a Grad. Dip. Psychology from UNE in 2016. Deirdre has three adult children and seven grandchildren. She has presented both nationally and internationally at numerous conferences, consults as a parent coach to Montessori schools both in Australia and overseas through her company Small Steps. Deirdre also works for NESA NSW registering Home Schooling students.

Carmen Parker
Carmen has been involved in education since 1984. Initially working with children 6-8 years of age in school education and support programs for children with learning difficulties, then for most of her career as a teacher in Montessori preschool and primary education. She has held the position of Principal/teacher at Montessori Schools offering preschool, long day care and primary education. Carmen has been active in a number of organisations aimed at supporting educational facilities to provide the best environment for the development of the children in their care. Her work has included being on the executive in many capacities of the boards of State and National Montessori organisations, working on NSW state committees for the development of policies, government regulations and pilot programs for early childhood education, editor of a Montessori National magazine as well as on planning committees for professional development programs for teachers through workshops and national and international conferences.

Carol Raleigh
Carol has been employed as a Montessori Directress for many years and holds three Montessori Diploma qualifications – for the age groups 3-6, 6-9 and 9-12 years. She has conducted workshops in Brisbane, Perth, Bali and Bhutan. She is also an experienced Speaker at Toastmasters. Her experience and expertise are held in high regard.

Sheryl Ridout
Sheryl (Dip Teach (Early Childhood), Dip Ed(Montessori Education)), began her teaching career in 1976 as a Pre-Primary teacher in mainstream education. Her involvement in Montessori education began in 1981. Since then she has been involved in Montessori at many levels including Playgroup Coordinator, Assistant 3-6 and 6-9, Director 3-6, Director 6-9, LOTE teacher 6-12, Council Member, Co-Principal, Principal, Conference Organiser and more recently as a mentor for teachers working in Montessori schools.

Rachael Stevens
Rachael is National Director at the Montessori Institute and has been involved in education at many different levels, including teaching in a Montessori School, tutoring and lecturing at University and teaching women in prison. Rachael taught in a 3-6yrs Montessori school in New Zealand and is currently a relief teacher in 3-6, 6-9 and 9-12 cycles. Rachael holds degrees in Business Studies and in Law, two Graduate Diplomas in Montessori Education, a Cert IV in Training and Enterprise and is currently undertaking a Masters of Education (Research).

Naomi Stuckey
Naomi is a Montessori Institute 0-3 and 3-6yrs Lecturer, Examiner and Tutor. Naomi has a Graduate Diploma of Education from Murdoch University and a Bachelor of Social Science in Children Studies from Edith Cowan University. She has an AMI Diploma in Montessori 0-3yrs and a Montessori Institute Diploma for Montessori 3-6yrs. She has worked with children for more than twenty years in varying contexts including Special Needs, Child Care and Schools. She is presently an owner and manager of Montessori Gardens Early Learning Centre in WA, is a consultant to 0-3yrs Montessori groups, speaker at conferences and parent education events. Naomi has two children who have both attended a Montessori School.