2017/18 ICPA Federal Council


 2017 ICPA Federal Council

Back Row: Jean Cashmore (retired), Di Skene, Kate Thompson, Judy Sinclair-Newton (Immediate Past President), Nikki Macqueen (Publicity Officer), Alana Moller, Jane O'Brien (Membership Officer), Jane Morton (Assistant Secretary)
Front Row Lisa Slade (Secretary), Wendy Hick (President), Sue Wilson (Secretary), Sally Sullivan (Vice President)
Absent: Caroline Robinson


Wendy Hick

20170804_104509-2Branch: Mount Isa Branch of the Air, Qld

Portfolio: Communications (Leader), Curriculum

Background:  Wendy and her husband Lloyd, live on their family owned and run cattle property “Thorntonia Station”, approximately 110 kms north-east of Camooweal near the Queensland/Northern Territory border.

Their two sons began their schooling with distance education through Mount Isa School of the Air with Wendy as their home tutor. The boys then went on to boarding school and are now studying at university.

While her children were learning via distance education, Wendy was involved in Schools of Distance Education Alliance (SODEA), The Materials Development Forum (MDF) and the Strategic Planning Team (SPT) in Qld.

Wendy has been involved with ICPA since her sons were a very young age and she looked forward to the day that her children would finally start formal schooling so that the family would receive a School of the Air radio, which enabled her to finally join in the Mount Isa Branch of the Air ICPA meetings. Wendy was the President and Secretary of the branch for several terms and was on the Sports for Bush Kids Committee, helping run the sports week for rural and remote students which the branch organizes each year.

Wendy became a Queensland State Councillor in 2010 and she held the position as one of the Qld State Council Vice Presidents for four years. Wendy joined Federal Council in 2015 and was elected as the Federal President at the 2015 Federal Conference in Brisbane.


Sally Sullivan

salBranch: Katherine, NT                 

Portfolios:  Specific Education Needs (Leader), Training, Early Childhood.

Background: Since 1998, Sally and husband Rohan have lived on Cave Creek Station, a stone’s throw from the famous Mataranka Thermal Pools.

Sally joined the Katherine Branch of ICPA that year when the oldest of her five children was doing Preschool through Katherine School of the Air. She has held Branch and then State Council ICPA executive positions ever since then, as well as being heavily involved in the Mataranka Primary School Council.

In 2017, Sally and Rohan have only one boy left at school (boarding at St Philip’s College in Alice Springs), an 18yo man at home on a gap year, and their three daughters are training to be a mustering helicopter pilot, in the first year of an Assoc Degree in Farm Management at Marcus Oldham College and completing Health Science at UQ with a view to studying medicine in 2018. Having experienced the emotional, educational and fiscal challenges of many facets of regional education (distance education, a small rural school, boarding, tertiary and VET systems), Sally is very appreciative of those who have come before her in ICPA.

In joining Federal Council of ICPA in 2016, she seeks to maintain the ‘fight’ to preserve and extend gains and ensure regional students are not forgotten by policy makers.

In her spare time??!! Sally likes to paddle in the river in her canoe (salvaged, repaired and gifted by her children) and wet a line. Needless to say, Sally’s family mostly eats beef.




Suzanne Wilson

20170804_104055-2Branch: Lones Member, NT

Portfolio: Training

Background: Suzanne (Sue) and her husband Michael, live in Darwin’s CBD, NT. They have four adult children and 3 grandchildren with another soon to join the family.

Suzanne immigrated from England to Australia in 1983 and has lived in several states/territories both in cities and remote parts of Australia. She has been active in adult education both in the VET sector and at university level, having worked for a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) as a Course Co-ordinator and as a university lecturer at Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT.

She completed her Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in 2004 and puts her skills learned into running the small company she owns with Michael, M & S Consultants Pty Ltd. Their company specialises in Distance Education software used for Interactive Distance Learning (IDL).

Suzanne has worked on various committees both as member and office bearer and has also been the Social Co-ordinator for her large apartment complex to bring neighbours together for some fun times.
Suzanne has been a strong supporter of ICPA for many years attending both state and federal conferences before recently joining the NT Lone Members Branch. Keen to further the cause of parity in education for remote and rural students, she decided to further her support for ICPA by accepting the challenge of this position at the Alice Springs Federal Conference in 2017.

In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, playing board games and trivia quizzes. She also enjoys the great outdoors through long drives across Australia, camping, sailing and fishing.


Judy Sinclair-Newton

20161109_165744-2Branch: Walgett, NSW

Portfolio: Curriculum (Leader), Boarding Schools / School Term Hostels, Rural Schools / School Travel

Background: Judy recently moved to Dubbo, NSW after spending much of her life living near Walgett in North Western NSW, running a mixed farming business.

Her three children all travelled by bus into Walgett for their primary schooling and then boarded away for their secondary schooling.

Judy has enjoyed being involved in many different organisations in her local community and joined Walgett Branch while her children were in primary school. As President of the Branch she convened the NSW ICPA conference in Walgett in 2007. Judy was awarded life membership in 2012 and is a patron of Walgett Branch.

Judy was nominated and elected onto Federal Council at the Longreach Conference in 2009. 2010 saw her elected Vice President at the Perth Conference and elected President in Darwin 2011 amidst much celebration around ICPA turning 40. After her term concluding at the 2015 Federal Conference in Brisbane she now fills the supporting role of Immediate Past President.


Lisa Slade

lisaBranch: Flinders Ranges, SA

Portfolios: Rural Schools / School Travel

Background: Lisa began her association with ICPA in 2001 with a gift of branch membership from her mother in law (a gentle nudge)!

Lisa grew up in a small rural town in South Australia and later married her husband Keith and moved to their remote sheep station in the Northern Flinders Ranges. Their three children attended School of the Air, Port Augusta, for their primary schooling years. Lisa supervised all three children on and off through those years, intertwined with a Governess to ensure a level of sanity was restored at appropriate intervals. While the younger two children completed their upper primary years, Lisa completed a Bachelor of Commerce via distance education. Lisa’s eldest daughter has since finished university and works as a radiographer in Cairns for Queensland Health, and the youngest two are currently attending Boarding School in Adelaide.

Lisa has been involved with the South Australian State Council since 2013 and is currently serving in the capacity of Immediate Past President. Throughout her children’s education journey, Lisa has been an active member within Remote and Isolated Children’s Exercise (RICE), School of the Air, Orroroo Area School and other community organisations.  Lisa joined Federal Council at the Alice Springs Federal Conference in 2017.

Ensuring equitable access to education for rural and remote children is one of Lisa’s passions.



20160812_121333-2Branch: B/B/B (Boulia, Bedourie, Birdsville), QLD

Portfolio: Early Childhood (Leader), Specific Education Needs, Communications

Background: Jane immigrated to Australia in 1977 after completing her nursing training in Birmingham, UK. Since then she has nursed in Birdsville, Marree and Oodnadatta, before marrying and helping to run the family cattle station Pandie Pandie Station, on the Birdsville Track.

She supervised her two children whilst they studied by distance education for their primary school years, after which they attended boarding school in Qld.

Jane has been involved with ICPA in executive positions at branch level, (initially inspired by the Qld State Conference in Birdsville in 1989), also the Birdsville Social and Racing Clubs. After Pandie Pandie was sold, she moved to the Darling Downs where ICPA once again became her focus, especially since she now has three grandchildren growing up on Pandie too.  Jane joined Federal Council in 2012 and has held the position of Secretary before moving to the Assistant Secretary role.



Jane O'Brien

20151109_165724-4Branch: Walgett, NSW

Portfolio: Training (leader), Tertiary

Background: Jane O’Brien’s association with ICPA began in 1986/7 when she joined the fledging Goodooga NSW Branch. She clearly remembers her first meeting in the back room of the Goodooga Pub, with talk revolving around forming an AIC motion to present at the upcoming Conference.  Jane joined Federal Council in 2014 at the Launceston Federal Conference.

Members were concerned the rate wasn’t keeping up with the cost of boarding school fees! Some 28 years later ICPA and AIC along with LAFHA, YA and myriad other acronyms are now well and truly a part of Jane’s life. In 1990 Jane and husband Jim moved from Goodooga to Walgett and became members of the very active Walgett NSW Branch and is currently the President.

 Jane grew up on a farm outside Warren in central west NSW, attended the local central school and continued to boarding school in Sydney. Their 3 children were educated at the local catholic school before attending a primary boarding school for year 6 then onto boarding school in Sydney until year 12.

Jane is an active community member and over the years has had roles in many community organisations as well as assisting at the primary and secondary schools her children attend.


Nikki Macqueen

20160812_152148-2Branch: Kindon, Qld

Portfolios: Tertiary

Background: Nikki lives outside of Millmerran with husband Bill and their three children.

She joined Kindon ICPA Branch in 2011 and was elected to Federal Council at the Launceston Federal Conference in 2014. After attending one branch meeting she was so impressed by what this fabulous organisation was all about that she volunteered to attend Federal Conference in Darwin and even presented a motion!

Bill and Nikki breed cattle and grow crops on his family property and their children are now fourth generation. Their three children are currently all attending boarding school in Brisbane and Nikki sits on a boarder parent representative committee at the girls school.

In their spare time Nikki and her family enjoy water skiing and when time permits, she loves to sew patchwork quilts.



Alana Moller

20170804_104322-2Branch: Clermont, Qld

Portfolios: Distance Education (Leader), Communications, Curriculum

Background:  Alana is currently the Branch President of the Clermont Branch in Central Queensland and joined Federal Council at the Alice Springs Federal Conference in 2017. She has also been the Correspondence Secretary and assists behind the scenes with the Clermont Branch annual Sports Camp.

Alana, with her husband Scott, own and manage a cattle station 'Star of Hope' Station, 120 kilometres west of Clermont in Central Queensland. They have three daughters - Mykenzie who is now at boarding school, Zarah in year 4 and Addison in Prep, whom she teaches distance education via Charters Towers School of Distance Education.

Alana has had a keen interest in rural education since her own school days, growing up on her family's cattle station outside of a small mining town. Once completing all of her schooling there, she completed a Bachelor of Education (Secondary English and Geography) with the intent to teach rural. Alana met her now husband in a roundabout way as a result of completing a prac-teaching placement in Clermont. After getting married, Alana continued contract and supply teaching in Clermont and Capella until 2010 when her eldest daughter started distance education and she became the home tutor - meaning that her teaching continued, she just stopped getting paid for it!

Alana has joined federal council knowing that ICPA and all it stands for precisely reflects her passion for rural education and the importance of pursuing equality and accessibility for isolated children.



Caroline Robinson

caroline-2Branch: Brewarrina, NSW

Portfolio: Boarding Schools / School Term Hostels (leader), Communications, Distance Education

Background: Caroline lives 165kms NE of Bourke and is the mum of twins and younger brother who have all being educated through Distance Education and are currently using the REACT satellite system.

Pat Edgley visited Caroline when her twins were born and has been a long time family friend. Caroline's family worked tirelessly with Pat and were founding members of ICPA.

Caroline has worked with two Distance Education schools and is currently enjoying Dubbo School Distance Education. Caroline is also learning a lot about the 2 boarding schools her year 8 boy girl twins are attending. Caroline was in Dubbo for the Boarding school's expo and met many boarding school representatives.

Caroline understands how families prioritise education and the difficulties they face with distance and isolation, especially costs of travel and such as she lives in a mobile blackspot and drives in and out of signal and is dedicated to education opportunities for children.

Caroline grew up in Coonamble and went to boarding school before  living and working in Europe.  She came home and worked on CTC (Community Technology Centre) Network which later became the RTC (Rural Transaction Centre) project after successful federal funding application.

Caroline is currently a recipient of ICPA scholarship for Cert III Teacher support and joined Federal Council at the Alice Springs Federal Conference in 2017.




Di Skene

diBranch: Kindon, QLD

Portfolios:  Rural Schools / School Travel (leader), Communications

Background: Di was raised in St George, Qld and is a mum of 3 children with the eldest at boarding school in Toowoomba and the other two attending a small rural school.

Over the past 15 years Di has volunteered in her wider community as a Justice of the Peace (Qualified) and assists her husband Kent, a 4th generation dryland farmer, on their property on the Darling Downs near Brookstead, Qld. 

Di studies externally completing a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) with QUT and is slowly progressing her way through. By joining Federal CounciI at the Alice Springs Federal Conference in 2017, Di feels she is helping our rural and remote children and families acquire a better education and assisting them to succeed in their future endeavours.

Although she hasn't been involved for a long period, Di believes she can help advocate for our members families. In her spare time Di loves swimming, tennis, sewing and watching her children play rugby, tennis and golf.


Kate Thompson

kateBranch: Midlands, Tasmania

Portfolios: Tertiary (Leader), Boarding Schools / School Term Hostels, Distance Education, Training

Background:  Kate lives north east of Oatlands in the Tasmanian midlands, with her husband David, on a mixed farm of merino sheep, fat lambs and Angus cattle. She works part-time as a community health nurse in their local area. Their two sons, were educated at the local rural school until grade 6 and then attended boarding school in Launceston until year 12. They both had gap years working on ski fields, vineyards and farms before heading to university. One has finished university and has returned to rural Tasmania to work.

In her spare time Kate enjoys her garden, reading and catching up with family and friends. Over the years she has been on various school and community committees including the local childcare centre and housing units for the aged, sporting, nursing, and the boarding school Country Parents and of course, ICPA since her boys were little.

Kate joined Federal Council at the Launceston Federal Conference (after convening it!) and has served in the role of Vice President.



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