Julius Colman was born in post-war Poland and came to Melbourne with his refugee family at age 4. Inspired by his own experience of the opportunities created by high quality state school education, Julius is determined to make sure those opportunities are available to children in disadvantaged communities in Victoria.
Julius is a lawyer, entrepreneur and philanthropist who has brought his entrepreneurial drive to addressing the barriers to children from disadvantaged communities achieving positive life outcomes, focusing on education as the key.
Julius has negotiated landmark partnerships with the state government, initially for the development of Doveton College, and more recently with the agreement for the establishment of 10 more Our Place sites across Victoria.
In 2015 Julius was awarded an Order of Australia (AM) for his work with underprivileged children.
Prior to joining Our Place, Sean spent more than 20 years working in the natural resources sector across a range of international locations including 8 years living in Singapore and Canada.
During the latter part of his career, Sean has held progressively senior roles in BHP, culminating in three years in BHP’s head office in Melbourne where he led corporate planning and global strategy teams through a period of significant organisational change. In addition to senior executive experience, Sean also brings skills in people leadership, strategy, planning, business development, financial analysis & project development.
His decision to join Our Place is motivated by a strong desire to make a meaningful and positive impact in the lives of children and families in disadvantaged communities. Sean also sees tremendous potential for Our Place to influence systemic change that can lead to improved outcomes for all disadvantaged communities. Sean holds a Bachelor of Engineering and a Masters of Business Administration.
The Our Place Model is the culmination of June’s experience and expertise developed over a career in policy and service development, research and practice in early childhood, family support and children’s services.
At Doveton since the very beginning, June has brought her vision and passion for the refocusing of early years and other services to provide more integrated support for families with young children.
June now leads the expansion of the Our Place initiative into our 10 new sites, working with local stakeholders to create the foundations for success and building capacity within the team to progress this work.
Shannon has been a key player in the Our Place team since the early days at Doveton.
Using her background in behavioural science, Shannon has been developing and refining the data, evaluation and research agenda supporting the deep evidence base for the Our Place model. Shannon leads our research partnerships with University of Wollongong and Deakin University.
During her career Shannon has combined her love of working with people and her passion for evidence and data, working with local communities to use data to evaluate their efforts to improve outcomes.
Eve joined Our Place in February 2018, after playing a role in the establishment of our current partnership while working with government. Eve is inspired by the Our Place vision and the potential for philanthropy and government to work together to improve outcomes for children and families in disadvantaged communities.
Eve holds qualifications in Law / Arts and has 20 years’ experience working in local and state Government. Eve brings skills in systems thinking, project management and communications, to support and promote the work of Our Place and our partnership with Government.
Partnership Manager (Doveton & Bridgewood)
Cindy joined the Our Place team in May 2018, working with the partners at the Robinvale College Our Place site.
Cindy is a Robinvale local, strongly embedded in the community and working with the community in the early years sector. Cindy brings 30 years’ experience in early childhood education and community development and engagement. Cindy holds a Masters of Education and qualifications in teaching and management.
Cindy is a firm believer in the value of early years in creating lasting change for children and their communities.
Margaret joined the Our Place team in 2019 as Manager Implementation Support.
Margaret is inspired by the Our Place approach to supporting changed futures in local communities through education and learning opportunities.
Drawing on learnings from many years working in Education, Employment Services, Service Coordination and partnership brokerage Margaret is supporting the expansion of the Our Place approach to more sites across Victoria.
Heather Le Roy has been with Our Place since October 2018. Previously, Heather worked in senior leadership roles including GM, Victoria of The Smith Family and CEO of the Education Foundation.
She has a long-standing interest in tackling entrenched social problems through education. Based on her deep experience in the sector, Heather is certain that Our Place represents a major opportunity to build innovative partnerships between philanthropy and government that will make a positive difference to the lives of many students and their families and to put schools as a platform for broad social change at the heart of future policy.
In 2019 Julia joined “Our Place” as their Senior Advisor Early Years. She brings 30 years’ experience in the education and care sector with in three states of Australia in both the government and non-government school sector and the kindergarten and childcare sector especially working with children 0 – 8 years, parents, educators and teachers .
Most recently Julia has worked at Doveton College in their Early Learning Centre as Educational Leader for the 0-3 years old program. She has mentored a large multicultural team of educators and worked with closely with Monash Health Professionals in that community. During 2017/18 Julia piloted the first version of Baby College at Doveton College in Partnership with Our Place and the Queen Elizabeth Centre (QEC). Baby College aims to improve the educational outcomes for disadvantaged infants by engaging and supporting vulnerable families from the prenatal period.
Julia’s passion is supporting families from vulnerable communities to achieve better educational outcomes for the whole family and mentoring educators to provide this support.
Judy has recently left the Department of Education and Training where she was Regional Director for North Eastern Victoria region, and had direct responsibility for over 400 schools, as well as a key role to play in both the Early Childhood and Higher Education space. She has worked with the Victorian education department for over 35 years in both metropolitan and rural Victoria. She is a passionate advocate for public education and the right for all children and young people to have equal opportunity for a high quality educational pathway, no matter what their personal circumstances might be. She was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2017 for her work in this field.
Judy is delighted to be joining the Our Place team. She will initially work with the Seymour project where her knowledge of education, and the strengths of rural communities and partners, will contribute to improving the lives of children and young people from the earliest stages of learning and development.
We are thrilled to welcome Alex to the Research and Evaluation team. Alex comes to us with an outstanding academic background, (including a PhD in Sociology and a number of academic awards) combined with practical program and project management experience from across the local government and not for profit sector.
Alex will lead our qualitative data collection and analysis program, working with our sites as they develop, to capture the evidence and the stories of the new Our Place communities.
DR ALEXANDRA FRASER
Senior Research Advisor | Partnership Manager (Northern Bay)
Colleen joined Our Place in July 2019, following 10 years in State Government with a focus on partnerships, planning for suburbs, and social infrastructure. Her background includes roles in local government, the State Library of Victoria, and community radio.
Colleen is really pleased to be part of the Our Place team, with our approach that is informed by evidence, and warmly oriented to the communities we are working for.
Colleen holds a Master in Social Science (Planning & Environment), a Graduate Diploma in Applied Human Rights, and is completing a Graduate Certificate in Social Impact.
This year Di has joined Our Place as the Senior Advisor for Quality Schooling.
She brings 40 years’ experience as an educator and ten years’ experience as a Principal, most recently leading the implementation of the Our Place approach at Northern Bay College in Corio Norlane.
Di has a passion for working with students and families from vulnerable communities to achieve high quality schooling outcomes. Her most recent work at Northern Bay College was the implementation of the Berry Street Education Model, SWPBS and Developmental Curriculum for Early Years students.
Di will be working alongside the Principals in the 10 new sites improving their capacity to implement the High-Quality Schooling Element in the Our Place approach
Kerrie is a long term local in the shire of Cardinia and joined the Our Place team in February 2018, excited about working with the site partners to create a thriving community learning hub for the children and families in Officer.
Kerrie brings her commitment to community development and her many years’ experience working in school wellbeing teams, volunteer programs and directly supporting children and families.
She is currently completing her Masters in Community Counselling.
Sally joined Our Place as the lead facilitator at the Carlton Central Learning Precinct in January 2018.
Sally brings a wealth of experience in community engagement and partnership development in the education sector, using her background in teaching and psychology. Sally is excited to be part of the Our Place team, convinced that the Our Place model brings together the best elements of the many different approaches she has been seen.
Sally has a passion for working with communities, empowering and building capacity and is active with her own local community.
Samantha joined Our Place in February 2018, working as part of the Doveton College community engagement team, focussed on Adult Learning.
Samantha brings many years’ experience in the community sector, with qualifications in community development and education support and a commitment to providing practical support to people who want to change their lives.
Samantha has previously worked with a strong focus on youth engagement in education, training and employment and is now using these skills to support the parents and community at Doveton.
Community Facilitator (Bridgewood)
Khadra is an early childhood professional, working across the fields of early learning, parenting and early intervention. She has worked with families within a Multidisciplinary Family Services Integrated Model.
Her speciality is in cross-cultural and mainstream early parenting preventative models of service delivery in various setting including in-home support, group facilitation, parent and child attachment through play the and Infant Mental Health Framework. Khadra is a passionate advocate for promoting play-based early learning with CALD families and communities.
Marie joined the team at Doveton six years ago, bringing her many years’ experience in the development and implementation of projects across youth services, recruitment, apprenticeships and traineeships.
Marie established the broad range of adult engagement, education and training activities available for the community at Doveton College. Marie has developed valuable partnerships with service providers, as well as directly supporting individuals on their journey to development, training and employment.
Community Facilitator (Doveton-Westall)
Noeline came to Doveton College seven years ago to join the community team and to establish the volunteer program.
Noeline had several years of teaching and international project work in government and private schools before leaving to start her own small business. This led to work in community service and volunteer management, prior to combining these two threads at the College.
Noeline now works as a Community Facilitator with Our Place, still based at the College. She is excited to see the expansion of the ‘Doveton idea’ and to work with a team of passionate, creative changemakers.
Tanya joined Our Place in July 2019 as a Community Facilitator at Northern Bay College – Wexford. Prior to this time, she worked for the City of Greater Geelong for over 25 years, in the early years space and as part of the Family Services Leadership Team.
Tanya holds a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) as well as TESOL qualifications that provided the opportunity to live and work with underprivileged children in Vietnam. This experience re-enforced to her the power of education in the achievement of improved life outcomes and now aligns with her work and the aspiration of Our Place.
In her new role, Tanya is excited to be working in partnership with like-minded individuals who share her passion for making a lasting difference in the lives of children and families experiencing entrenched disadvantage in the community.
Tayla joined the Our Place Frankston North team in September 2019, excited at the opportunity to work with an organisation whose values align so well with her own; Community empowerment, capacity building and the importance of lifelong education.
Prior to arriving at Our Place, Tayla worked in Funding Arrangement Management with the Department of Social Services and ran her own Project Management Consultancy business, managing a range of projects in Bendigo working with diverse communities, service providers and Local Government. Prior to that Tayla worked in disability support services, and animal vaccine manufacture, all while being involved in community through volunteering and Governance roles.
Tayla’s studies have included a Bachelor of Biomedical Science, a Diploma of Community Services and she is currently completing her Master of International and Community Development.
Community Facilitator (Frankston North)
Sonja joined the Our Place team in March 2018, thrilled to join an organisation working so positively and directly with disadvantaged communities. Sonja brings a love of working with people and a strong belief in the power of education to change lives.
Sonja has a long history of service and support roles in the education and health sectors, with qualifications in Behavioural Studies and experience working with her local community in leadership and volunteer roles.
Community Facilitator (Frankston North)
Louis joined the Our Place team as a Community Facilitator at Seymour College in October 2019, having spent the previous 5 years working in disability, and with young people involved in the youth justice system and their communities in various roles for Parkville College. Prior to Parkville College, Louis practiced law with Dwyer Bruce Legal and as a volunteer with Fitzroy Legal Service.
Louis brings many years of experience working directly with members of disadvantaged communities and a unique perspective to his role.
He is incredibly excited to join an organisation committed to making a meaningful, measurable and long-term difference for disadvantaged communities.
Annemieke has over 20 years’ experience working in the Latrobe Valley area, with qualifications in social welfare, alcohol and other drugs as well as mental health. Her work roles have been varied from drug and alcohol worker to direct counselling, working as a clinician at Headspace. She also has 5 years’ experience working in the adult TAFE education sector teaching Community Services, Mental Health as well as Drug and Alcohol at both a certificate IV and diploma level.
In the last 10 years, Annemieke has worked in Primary school environments and was involved in the three-school merger to Morwell Central Primary School, which has now become an Our Place site. Working in schools has allowed her to be closer to her family, and she is actively involved in the local community through volunteering and supporting sporting groups, as well as school council. Her latest passion is Art Therapy and the amazing healing that this type of therapy can bring to people.
Annemieke is excited to be part of the Our Place team, using an approach that is informed by evidence and provides practical support to families through the power of education.
ANNEMIEKE VAN VILET-ELLEN
Community Facilitator (Morwell)
Keita joins Our Place with an international background in education and social-sector consulting.
Prior to Our Place, Keita’s education work included: classroom teaching through Teach For Australia, where he implemented the Berry Street Education Model at Traralgon College; and program development with Teach for the Philippines, where he developed a Positive Psychology curriculum to support teaching Fellows across the Philippines. Before teaching, he worked with 180 Degrees Consulting, leading expansion and operations across the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Southern Africa.
His studies include neuroscience and psychology at the Australian National University; science teaching and quantitative education research at Deakin University; and general management and social sector design at Stanford University.