The National Board of Directors

ECA adopted a new Constitution in April 2021 which means that all members of ECA are now invited to join the national organisation directly and have the right to vote on candidates for both the National Board and State/Territory Committees when vacancies occur. The ECA National Board now has nine directors: five Ordinary Directors elected by members and four Independent Directors appointed through a Nominations Committee process. Members in each jurisdiction will have an opportunity to elect someone from their state/territory to the National Board over time, according to a fixed rotation schedule. The Independent Directors will be appointed based on skills or expertise needed on the Board from time to time to achieve the strategic objectives of ECA. These appointments will be managed by the Nominations Committee, which will consist of current Board members and state/territory representatives.

Within the new governance model, the ECA National Council will become the main forum for consultation and consensus-building on matters of public policy affecting young children. Council will continue to be made up of four delegates from each State and Territory Committee as well as representatives from national committees such as the Reconciliation Advisory Group. In recognition of its expanded role, the Council will meet at least twice a year (once in person and once virtually).

The National Board of Directors

National President Trevor Brown
Deputy National President Dr Pauline Roberts
Ordinary Director Alison Evans
Ordinary Director Beverly O’Connell
Independent Director Simon Fewings
Independent Director Tony Fairbairn
Independent Director Jackie Wilson
Independent Director Anne Hollands
Ordinary Director Alistair Gibbs

Profiles

Trevor Brown
Across an early years career spanning more than 30 years, Trevor Brown has held a number of pedagogical, operational and strategic leadership positions in not-for-profit organisations and government agencies in Queensland and Tasmania. Work has included pedagogical coaching, professional learning design, management of state-wide projects and workforce development. Currently, Trevor oversees and leads the Early Years Actions of the Tasmanian Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy in the Tasmanian Department of Premier and Cabinet.

Dr Pauline Roberts
Dr Pauline Roberts began her professional career as a teacher and director of early childhood services in NSW. After moving to WA, she began shifting her career focus to mentoring through professional experience supervision of pre-service teachers for Murdoch, Curtin and Edith Cowan universities. Since 2015, Pauline has been a lecturer in Early Childhood Education at Edith Cowan University and continues to focus on reflection, ePortfolios and technology. Pauline also focuses on advocacy and workforce issues impacting on the early years.

Alison Evans
Alison Evans has held a range of positions in ECEC spanning over thirty years, commencing as a kindergarten teacher and then holding a range of senior positions across multiple organisations, she is currently the Head of Early Learning and Education at G8 Education. Alison has also been an active member of the Queensland branch for many years and is deeply committed to the vision and purpose of ECA.

Beverly O’Connell
Beverly O’Connell has more than 40 years of experience in education and care roles across urban, rural and remote settings. In her current role as the Professional Experience Partnership Manager (Early Childhood) at Charles Darwin University, she mediates between pre-service teachers on placement and their mentors. She also collaborates with educators and directors in preschools and long day care settings to provide focused mentorship opportunities for CDU students. Beverly speaks regularly with educators at all levels about their achievements, concerns, and challenges in order to best support those working across the sector. She brings both Territory and broader national perspectives to the table and contributes to decision-making from a strong knowledge base founded in her professional experience.

Simon Fewings
Simon Fewings has worked in Aboriginal education and training, wellbeing and employment for 20 years. Beginning as a teacher in the TAFE system, he developed a deep passion for teaching and learning. He has worked with school leaders through the Australian Primary Principals Association and built Dulkka Yuppata Koorie Training Centre at Sunraysia TAFE. In 2022 Simon was appointed Victorian Director of the SNAICC-National Voice for our Children National Intermediary THRYVE Pilot Project to support and represent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled early years services to deliver high quality, accessible and culturally strong supports for children, families and communities.

Tony Fairbairn
Tony Fairbairn is an e-learning consultant who is passionate about ECA becoming the leading provider of quality online learning to our sector. Highly qualified, he holds a degree in Economics from Oxford and a Masters in Business Administration. He began his IT management career with Xerox and Fujitsu in the UK, Australia and Africa, culminating as Director of ICL/Fujitsu for central Africa, a $A40 million company with 500 staff. After returning to Australia in 2002, Tony joined e3 Learning which became a leading online learning provider. He moved into consultancy after e3 was sold in 2014.

Jackie Wilson
Jackie Wilson has a strong interest in the design of good policy and programs informed by strong stakeholder engagement. As a Partner at ORIMA Research, Jackie works on research projects in support of public sector policies, programs and initiatives. Prior to this, she worked in the Australian Public Service for 35 years, most recently as Deputy Secretary for the Early Childhood and Child Care Group of the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE). She has held a number of senior Commonwealth positions in program and policy areas covering health, disability, community services, education, employment, budget and finance.

Anne Hollands: Anne Hollonds has been the National Children’s Commissioner since November 2020. Previously, she directed the Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Australian Gambling Research Centre. With over 23 years of CEO experience in health, education, and social services, Anne has a profound understanding of child advocacy. She has worked extensively in child protection, domestic violence, and mental health. Currently, Anne advises on boards like the Family Law Council and the National Plan Advisory Group. With a background in psychology and social work, alongside an MBA and executive programs at Harvard and Stanford, Anne is dedicated to promoting child welfare nationwide.

Alistair Gibbs: Alistair Gibbs is a dedicated advocate for early childhood education, and has served on Early Childhood Australia’s (ECA) Victorian State Committee since 2016, assuming roles as an ordinary member and Vice President. Committed to ECA’s vision of every child thriving, he fosters engagement with regional areas, facilitates valuable feedback with the Department of Education, and organises annual conferences on current research and pedagogy. A board member for Social Justice in Early Childhood, Alistair champions inclusion and Anti-Bias principles, mentoring professionals and collaborating on submissions to advance equity. Joining ECA’s National Board, he aims to amplify daily service perspectives, ensuring they shape future strategies for sector-wide influence.

Role

The role of the National Board of Directors is:

  • the governance and long-term planning of the organisation
  • the implementation of the organisation’s strategic plan
  • to ensure that Early Childhood Australia meets its objectives and fulfils its mission to advocate for young children.

Members of the National Board of Directors carry the legal responsibility for governance of the organisation and are required to act in the best interests of the National Organisation.