HEIA(Q) 2024 State Conference:

Conference Program

The HEIA(Q) 2024 State Conference brochure is now available to download.

Keynote speakers

Louka Parry

As one of Australia’s top innovators Louka Parry speaks on futures, leadership, education, and transformation; having worked with thousands of leaders and educators from diverse contexts across the world, including in high-level policy fora such as the OECD, UNESCO, the European Commission, and with all Australian States and Territories.

An award-winning educator, speaker, facilitator, and adventurer, Louka’s powerful ability to communicate ideas with clarity allows him to guide thinking about learning, leadership, and life to new places, earning him a place in 2022 as a Top 100 Innovator for Australia.

As CEO + Founder of The Learning Future, Louka is committed to transforming learning structures, systems and societies that further empower individuals to develop the key human capabilities that matter most now and into the future.

Jo Butterworth

With over 20 years of experience across three schooling sectors, Jo Butterworth brings a wealth of knowledge to the role of Executive Director, Curriculum Services at the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA). Being part of a dynamic organisation that is leading the development of future-focused curriculum and assessment is one of Jo’s core passions. In a previous role, she played an integral part in the redevelopment of the new QCE syllabuses and quality assurance processes, then applied this expertise whilst on the educational leadership teams at two secondary schools. As Executive Director at the QCAA, Jo has led the response to Artificial Intelligence and chaired the Artificial Intelligence Working Group to provide national guidance on using AI safely and ethically. Each experience has provided Jo with a deeper understanding of how the decisions we make about curriculum and assessment influence our young people and prepare them for pathways beyond school.

Prof Donna Pendergast AM

Professor Pendergast is Director of Engagement in the Arts, Education and Law group at Griffith University. She is an expert in the fields of: early childhood and adolescent learners, including engagement, learning, wellbeing and middle years practices; school and sector policy reform and transformation. Donna has extensive experience as research leader in large scale projects featuring transformation, working extensively with organisations such as the Department of Education (Queensland), shifting Year 7 into secondary schools; the Education Directorate (ACT), co-creating a model for adolescent student engagement; the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, reforming the early years across the sector; Catholic Education South Australia, transforming middle years student engagement and school structures; ORBIS South Australia, shifting year 7 into secondary and developing capability in teachers, valued at $5 million+.

Concurrent presenters

Renee Adams

Isis District High School Queensland

Home Economics became Renee’s professional domain following her early years as a Trade Chef, leading into 17 years of teaching Home Economics/Hospitality at Isis High School. Her role as HEIA Wide Bay Coordinator has also provided valuable networking opportunities. Renee completed a Bachelor of Primary Teaching while raising her two young children, and choosing the Early Childhood elective allowed her the opportunity to teach within the crucial development years for younger children. This experience in Early Childhood along with Renee’s more recent experience in the English department have inspired her to assist with the redevelopment of the Early Childhood Syllabus with a focus on the importance of supporting literary education.

Tanya Alison

Maleny Diaries

Tanya Alison commenced her dairy sector journey in 2016, joining Maleny Dairies’ Senior Leadership Team. She brings expertise in strategic planning, operations, and community engagement. Tanya oversees communications and marketing, labelling packaging, customer experience, contracts management and tender writing. Her role ensures Maleny Dairies maintains competitiveness while upholding sustainability and quality standards. Tanya’s leadership drives the company forward, cementing its position as a leader in the dairy industry.

Dee Bek

Sunshine Beach State High School

Dee teaches textiles and fashion at a State High School in Noosa, on the Sunshine Coast. She has been an active member of HIEA for many years, currently HEIA(Q) Treasurer and a member of the HEIA(Q) conference committee. She is passionate about slow and sustainable fashion practices and believes education is core to driving impactful change within the fashion industry. With a love of fine hand tailoring and art, Dee embeds these techniques and skills into her teaching practice. She believes through education, the fashion industry can become a socially, environmentally and economically prosperous circular industry.

Matthew Arnold

Executive Chef, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC)

Executive Chef, Matthew Arnold is a passionate and practising environmentalist who calls out food waste as the greatest challenge for a working kitchen. In his 30-year career in the top kitchens of Australia, New Zealand and London, Matthew has maintained his belief in the environmental cause, searching for new ways to embed sustainable practices wherever possible. Today as Executive Chef of the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC) in charge of the Centre’s many kitchens, Matthew operates with a collaborative management style, identifying and working with the skills and strengths of the team – always through the lens of improving the kitchen environment both operationally and through reducing food wastage and of course, enhancing the dining experience for patrons. Matthew, with the support of the BCEC staff family, was one of the instigators behind the venue’s participation in the Containers for Change Scheme, with funds raised donated to local charities and social enterprise organisations.

Renae Bradbury

Moreton Bay College

Renae teaches Design at Moreton Bay College. She has 20 years’ experience teaching a variety of subjects in Queensland and the UK, along with holding various leadership positions and serving her professional association. Renae is usually on a mission seeking inspiration, reframing problems, and asking ‘why’. Most comfortable in the ‘Design Thinking’ space she believes it is not just something you teach students but is integral to explicitly planning for meaningful classroom experiences. A newfound love in a role as a professional coach for staff and students continues to broaden the plan for how she applies Design Thinking in the school landscape.

Joel Gilmore

Scientist in the Kitchen

Dr Joel is a physicist, award winning science communicator, and (most importantly) a lover of good food. He is particularly passionate about how science can help us cook better, and has presented sold-out food science talks since 2010. He regularly appears online, on stage and on TV, where he co-hosted Food Lab on SBS Food and has featured on Catalyst on ABC. He is also a renewable energy expert, with positions in industry and academia. In his spare time, he sings, dances, and has visited 56 countries and counting.

Michelle Harris

San Sisto College

Michelle Harris is the Learning and Teaching Leader at San Sisto College on Brisbane’s Southside. She is passionate about forging a strong community of practice within the realm of Home Economics – however that presents itself and continues to evolve, and strives to engage and empower staff and students alike to tackle new challenges with a sense of creativity and excitement. She loves robust conversation about the challenges that face our communities (life and learning), and finding ways to connect with those working in more regional and unique circumstances. In her quest to learn more, and to give back to this remarkable community of Home Economists, over the past 20 years Michelle has found herself on multiple HEIA(Q) conference committees, the panel for the King and Amy O’Malley Scholarship, and writing teams for the current Hospitality Practices SAS and Food & Nutrition syllabi, running implementation workshops around Queensland, as well the DRPC for Townsville and a member of the State Review Panel.

Chris Jordan

Three Little Birds Brisbane

Chef and owner of Brisbane-based food events and products company Three Little Birds, Chris Jordan, connects with his First Nations ancestry through cooking with native ingredients. Alongside his business, he has held collaborative, pop-up dinners that grapple conceptually and gastronomically with Indigenous food sovereignty, cultural dispossession and climate change. Using native ingredients, ancient knowledge of customs and techniques to make food that doesn’t just taste good but also works to acknowledge, educate, and celebrate the unique culture and natural resources Australia has to offer. Three Little Birds collaborates with Kuppibunda Kitchen to provide education and opportunities to young people in detention.

Simon Kelly

Training Direct Australia PTY LTD

Simon has over 20-years’ experience in the hospitality industry, working his way from apprentice chef to head chef of a hotel. With two small kids at home, he considers that using sustainable, locally sourced ingredients for meals is important. Incorporating the fundamentals for presenting dishes is vital to keep them excited and more importantly happy and healthy. Having a passion for food and education, Simon has obtained a bachelor’s in health science and a master’s in teaching. Currently he is the Operations Manager for Training Direct Australia, a Brisbane based Hospitality RTO.

Madi Lucas


Madi Lucas is OzHarvest’s FEAST Project Lead and Qld and SA Education Coordinator, focusing on program growth and coordinating the roll-out of the program in Australia. Madi’s passion for holistic health education stems from her studies in nutrition, health promotion, public health and education. Madi’s nutrition knowledge and experience teaching in rural communities has enabled her to roll-out FEAST, ensuring teachers feel confident implementing FEAST to teach their students where food comes from, its nutritional value and how to prepare healthy meals sustainably in a classroom.

Ngaire Mayo

Woodcrest State College

Ngaire Mayo is a passionate Home Economics and Design teacher, currently Head of Department of Applied Technology at Woodcrest State College. She is a member of the HEIA (Q) committee and is HEIA (Q) conference co-convenor. She also represents HEIA(Q) as the Executive Member of the HEIA National Council. In her down time, she enjoys food, travel and all things creative, leading family and friends to occasionally question her sanity when she decides to learn yet another new cuisine or craft. Ngaire’s love of teaching and learning motivates her to seek innovative ways to improve student outcomes through curriculum and by coaching educators to further develop their own expertise – inspiring students to succeed.

Lyn McErlean

All Hallows School

Lyn is a failed Chef turned full time passionate Home Economics teacher, currently Head of Department at All Hallows School. Lyn loves being a Home Economist, who regularly tests food samples and classroom recipes on her unsuspecting family and friends. Lyn tries very hard to pretend she has a life outside of Home Economics and tries to play golf to prove this, she can be found at any open bar and is always keen for a chat. Lyn feels like she is a fixture at the conference being a regular attendee then committee member, MC and presenter, she is passionate about shared practice and has set up Facebook communities to ensure that you never feel alone in teaching Home Economics.

Anne Mitchell

Genesis Creations

Fabric designing – and teaching it – has been Anne Mitchell’s passion for over 45 years, travelling widely across Australia and New Zealand to share these skills; and now across the globe via Zoom as well. In 1999, Anne and her husband Alan started their family business, Genesis Creations, and developed a range of safe and sustainable colours that can be used on any fabric or fibre whatsoever. These are made exclusively for us here in Australia. This year, as they celebrate the venture’s 25th Anniversary, they look forward to many more years of sharing the skills they love.

Kara Pulou

Kuppibunda Kitchen, Vocational Training Queensland based at Brisbane Youth Education and Training Centre, Brisbane Youth Detention Centre, Wacol

Kara Pulou, a Senior Experienced Teacher, Trainer, and Assessor, as well as the Chef, Founder, and Manager of Kuppibunda Kitchen, a Vocational Training Queensland, Brisbane Youth Education Training Centre school-based First Nations inspired catering enterprise. She works with some of the most marginalized and disadvantaged young people in and out of youth detention across Queensland. The students under her guidance gain knowledge of bush tucker ingredients, learning how to grow, forage, and cook with them in modern cuisine. She provides them with opportunities for work experience through catering events and helps develop relevant industry skills, all while they study certificate II in cookery. Throughout her career, Kara has always strived to teach in a creative, out-of-the-box way, with the sole purpose of inspiring her students. She is driven by passion and an interest in culture, particularly in working with children from diverse backgrounds, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. With nearly three decades of experience as a Home Economics and Hospitality teacher/trainer and assessor in the QLD state school system, Kara’s expertise is evident. Prior to establishing Kuppibunda Kitchen, she successfully ran a bush food-inspired catering company called Platters on Willow for 13 years at Redbank Plains SHS in Ipswich. Kara also serves as a Mentor for Gateway to Schools Industry Network in Hospitality and Tourism, traveling across the state to deliver workshops and professional development sessions, inspiring both students and teachers alike to explore the amazing world of bush tucker.

Prue Rainey


Prue Rainey has worked in the fashion industry for over 20 years as the Head of Design at CUE. During her time there, Cue experienced its greatest growth; expanding store numbers from 80 to 200+ and was the top selling brand at Myer. Her most recent highlight was showcasing work in CUE’s first standalone show at AAFW fashion week, 2023. During her time at Cue she developed a fashion illustration tool called ILLY STRATE for creatives who found it challenging to translate their ideas onto paper. She encountered this during times when interviewing potential designers. IllyStrate is a moving fashion figure that can be placed in any pose and traced around, leaving a proportioned silhouette to design onto. It has been featured in exhibitions at the MAAS and won a Good Design Award. Prue is now focused on taking IllyStrate out to schools in the hope of fostering future talent for the Australian industry.

Rosie Sciacca

Moreton Bay College

Rosie Sciacca is an experienced Design and Technologies teacher with a Home Economics education background. She is a Fellow of the Home Economics Institute of Australia and has been an active member of the Queensland division’s Committee of Management since 2006. Currently, Rosie is the Head of Department – Technologies at Moreton Bay College, and is a sessional lecturer and tutor for Design and Technologies food contexts at Griffith University. She appreciates the opportunity to share and build her own and her team’s practice through her presentations at regional workshops and state and national conferences. Rosie is motivated by finding ways to weave together student interests and innovative technologies to curate agentic and strategic learning opportunities that provoke students to explore their world and develop solutions that push the boundaries.

Nick Steiner

The Mini Farm Project

Nick Steiner, the Founder and CEO of The Mini Farm Project, is a relentless advocate against food insecurity in Australia. His journey began by transforming his own backyard into a thriving farm. Recognised for his exceptional community contributions, Nick received the prestigious Paul Harris Fellowship and became an AMP Tomorrow Maker alumni. His dedication was further acknowledged when he was named Moreton Bay Citizen of the Year. Through The Mini Farm Project, particularly the Loganlea State High School charity farm, Nick bridges communities, businesses, and youth to combat food scarcity, offering fresh sustenance to thousands in need, while fostering community collaboration and dismantling barriers for students and the community.

Catherine Strickland

Grace Lutheran College

Catherine is a Textiles & Fashion Teacher (among other things) at an independent school on the northside of Brisbane. Encouraging and inspiring students to be creative with textiles and fashion is one of the things that gets her out of bed each day. Catherine works on the theory, “If I’m bored teaching it, then students are probably bored learning it!”, so she is constantly on the lookout for how to tweak things to keep things fresh and keep students engaged. With experience in curriculum and syllabus writing over more years than she cares to count, and a HEIA(Q) Teacher Excellence Award recipient, it is the connection between the community of colleagues that she attests to staying involved with the profession. Catherine is looking forward to both sharing and learning from those who attend the session.

Sue Webb

Sue Webb PD

Sue Webb is a teacher and school leader who’s written about her experience with burnout and recovery in her book titled Teachers Cry Too, in which she addresses the emotional and practical complexities of the education profession. Despite her declining mental health and attempts to hide her illness, Sue realised that the career she blamed for making her sick, also offered her a pathway to recovery. Overwhelmed by the response of teachers, Sue now advocates for healthy and sustainable work practices. She’s launched a suite of teacher-inspired professional development programs spanning Early- Career, Mid- Career and Leadership phases. When she’s not teaching, Sue runs workshops to future-proof education through teacher wellbeing and sustainability. Sue holds a Master of Educational Leadership and is an editor for the Australian Journal of Middle Schooling. Her favourite workshop so far was one in which the hospitality students made coconut ice-cream!

Jo Wickham

Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority

Jo Wickham is a Principal Education Officer in the Senior Curriculum and Assessment Branch of the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority. Jo currently supports the implementation of the Food and Nutrition syllabus through the endorsement, confirmation and external examination processes.

Deanne Wooden

Queensland Association of School Tuckshops

Deanne Wooden is CEO of the Queensland Association of School Tuckshops and a qualified dietitian with two decades of working across government, non-government, education and health sectors. With high-level advocacy and policy experience, Deanne works with national stakeholders progressing an agenda towards healthy school food environments. Supporting Queensland school tuckshops every day, Deanne has a comprehensive understanding of the complexities and challenges of policy implementation in this setting. Deanne maintains extensive networks and knowledge in the public health nutrition and school food sectors and is passionate about the role of schools in a broader preventive health movement in Australia.

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