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Vocational Applied Learning Association

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Chief Executive Officer

 0488 440 482


 Postal: PO Box 123, Seville VIC 3139



 Postal: PO Box 123, Seville VIC 3139

VALA Associates:

Cherie Osta is an extremely committed and motivated teacher who develops meaningful and practical projects in collaboration with her students and the community. This has been acknowledged through Lorne P-12 being rewarded with 12 VCAA VCAL awards, including receiving the 2017 VCAL Teacher of the Year Award. Highly regarded for her contributions to Applied learning at local, regional and state levels, Cherie is a dynamic conference presenter with over 18 years of working in applied learning at Lorne P-12 College.

David Gallagher has been involved with secondary education for 50 years.

David has a Master of Education (Applied Learning), a Graduate Diploma in Career Education and a Higher Diploma of Teaching - Secondary.

During his career David has provided professional development activities for teachers in Victoria, interstate and internationally, including the Institute of Applied Technology in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where he provided advice and support to establish an applied learning certificate for UAE students.

He lectures to undergraduates in theories of applied learning, program design, assessment and engaging disadvantage students at Latrobe University. His articles on the VCAL, applied learning and student engagement have been published in both state and international journals.

Geoff Bird was instrumental in setting up Lorne-Aireys Inlet P-12's highly regarded and multiple award-winning applied programs. A highly experienced, committed and motivated teacher and workshop presenter, Geoff is a master in demonstrating how to develop and construct meaningful and practical projects in collaboration with the community.

Justine Sakurai has well over two decades of experience as a teacher of mathematics and numeracy in Victorian secondary schools. She has taught in the public, private, community and VET sectors. She is currently a project lead and lecturer in initial teacher education at the University of Melbourne and teaches for the SMSI program at Deakin University. She conducts teacher professional learning programs in numeracy and mathematics. Justine is currently editor of the mathematics teacher journal Vinculum for the Maths Association of Victoria.
Justine has worked with state curriculum and examination boards to investigate numeracy theory and practices. In a leadership capacity, she has contributed to curriculum development and writing, benchmarking and assessment. She has been a regular presenter for the Victorian Applied Learning Association (VALA) since 2012, where she provides masterclasses and workshops for teachers of VCAL Numeracy. 

Mal Hand has spent her life working with teenagers – as a Secondary school teacher of English and Maths, as a youth worker, and as a foster parent. She has been teaching VCAL for many years, teaching all strands of the program. Mal has an abiding interest in adolescent wellbeing. She is also a published author, writing under the pseudonym of Elizabeth Margaret. Mal considers herself very fortunate to be able to use her teaching and youth work skills to assist these resilient young people with their challenges on the journey to adulthood. 

Narelle Bean is an Assistant Principal at Werribee Secondary College. She was awarded the VCAA Chair’s Award for 2019 as well as the 2016 VCAA VCAL Teacher of the Year Award. Narelle has developed and shared her vast experience in, and passion for, applied learning in a number of settings at all three levels of VCAL. With over 20 years of experience in education, she is a firm believer that relationship development and experience in the workplace is integral to student success in applied learning programs.

Shelley Muir has been coordinating VCAL for over 10 years, and in 2016 moved from the public sector to set up the VCAL program at Mentone Grammar. She is a passionate advocate for Applied Learning who seeks to create meaningful connections between students, the world of work and their community. Shelley received the VCAA VCAL Program Development Award in 2019 and has coordinated the VCAL network in the Southern Metropolitan Region since 2012. Shelley is also Head of Careers at Mentone Grammar and brings her passion for vocational education to career education programs and pathways for all students in Years 9-12.

VALA respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Victoria and pay respect to the ongoing living cultures of First Peoples.

We respectfully acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded.


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