SPERA awards life memberships to individuals to recognise their exceptional contribution to rural education. Recipients of a SPERA life membership are displayed below.
Sheila retired from the University of Southern Queensland where she managed the placements for all pre-service educators. Following teaching appointments in rural Queensland, Sheila worked with pre-service educators preparing them for rural and remote placements and promoting the benefits of these experiences. She has been an active member of SPERA since attending her first conference in 1987.
Sheila has been a Conference Convenor, member of the SPERA executive, including President for 10 years and instigated the prestigious Australian Rural Education Award. Sheila continues her involvement with SPERA by being on the SPERA Executive and working to support and encourage preservice and novice teachers in rural Australia.
In retirement Sheila loves to travel both internationally and in Australia, taking every opportunity to visit rural and remote locations. Sheila also enjoys patchwork and quilting, sourcing fabric wherever she travels.
Dr Colin Boylan
Colin Boylan is a Senior Lecturer in Education in the School of Education at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga. A major part of his teaching is with pre-service students where he teaches the rural education subject that is part of the primary and secondary courses at CSU. He has been an active member of SPERA since its foundation in 1983. Colin has been a Conference Convenor, member of the SPERA executive, editor of the Conference Proceedings and foundation editor of the Education in Rural Australia journal. Colin continues his involvement with SPERA by being on the SPERA Executive and the editorial team of the journal.
Colin also has a passion of good wines, especially Cabernet sauvignon and Traminer, and in his spare time he produces a small quantity of wine from his vineyard in Coolamon, NSW. He also enjoys sailing and driving his classic car, currently a 1975 VK Valiant sedan.
Marie Dale was born in Lismore, NSW. She attended Lismore High School and worked as a librarian until 1969, when she married and moved west to Gunnedah. Marie and Tony have two children who attended Gunnedah High School and went on to university studying Law and Engineering.
During the children’s schooling Marie played an active role in their education and represented parents on regional in-service and other education committees. Through this activity Marie became particularly interested in the debate on educational disadvantage in rural areas.
After a crisis point in her daughter’s education, Marie began to lead in-service education for parents as well as courses on career paths for girls in rural areas and rural schooling. Marie was driven by the belief that rural children were not disadvantaged. She believed that rural children had more opportunities, living and attending schools in rural communities, to learn resourcefulness and self reliance which would stand by them throughout their life. At this time Marie successfully applied for a scholarship to look at rural education in America and discover the dialogue there about rural disadvantage,
When Marie returned to Australia she was convinced that the focus needed to be on the advantages of rural education. In 1984 a group of NSW consultants, parents, and teachers attended a conference in Gunnedah, organised by Marie and with the support of the NSW Education commission. SPERA was formed as an outcome of this activity and SPERA has held a national conference every year since its inception. Marie worked tirelessly in the early years to encourage the growth of SPERA, always emphasising the need to promote the positive advantages of rural education. Marie worked on the Executive of SPERA, with a flair for promotion and as a wonderful mentor for new members.
In 1994 Marie was awarded life membership of the organisation at the conference in Fremantle, W A Although Marie’s involvement in SPERA has diminished in the last few years she has maintained her interest and loyalty to the organisation and is always willing to help and encourage members. Marie worked with the local newspaper in Gunnedah, putting together features for the paper. Through this medium Marie assisted businesses in the town to build on their strengths.
Marie was involved in promoting the community, especially through tourism and encouraging individuals and businesses to focus on the best rather than the problems. What ever Marie does it will be done with pizzazz and dedication to the rural communities she loves. Marie, SPERA wishes you well and thank you for all you have done for rural educators and their communities.
Mr Don Boyd
Don Boyd left school at the end of Year 10 and completed a certificate courses at TAFE in Sheep and Wool and Wool Classing. He worked in the wool industry as a shed hand, shearer and wool classer. Don returned to study as a mature age student completing teacher qualifications and a BA (Social Science) while studying concurrently at the Western Australian Secondary Teachers College and the Western Australian Institute of Technology (now Curtin University of Technology).
On graduating in 1975 Don taught in two Perth metropolitan schools and also did a stint in the Education Department’s Curriculum Branch. In 1983 he took up the position of Head of Department, Social Studies, at Eastern Goldfields Senior High School and has been involved in rural and remote education ever since. Don has been principal of Meekatharra and Wyalkatchem District High Schools, Newman and Gosnells Senior High Schools and WA’s post compulsory distance education school. In 1990 he was the Superintendent of the Moora Education District and in 1998 was appointed Director, Isolated and Distance Education. A desire to get back to the “grass roots” of rural and remote education saw Don return to the Pilbara in 2003 as Area Director.
In 2006 Don was selected to work with the Fiji Education Sector supporting the Fiji Ministry of Education with their work in developing a process for school monitoring. On returning to Western Australia, Don was appointed Director, Rural and Remote Education with the Department of Education Services. Don currently manages his own consultancy specialising in rural, regional and remote education.
In 1991 Don completed a Masters degree in educational management. He has had two short local histories published: Meekatharra, a glimpse of the past and The Iron Ore School; the History of Newman Primary School. Don is a tireless supporter of SPERA, a former Treasurer he continues to play an active role within the SPERA Executive.
Professor John Pegg is Director of the SiMERR National research Centre based at the University of New England. He is known internationally and nationally for his contribution to theory-based cognition research in Learning and Assessment.
He is currently the Minister’s nominee on the peak education body in NSW, the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES), and a Chief Investigator for the brain-based Australian Science for Learning Centre.
Current large-scale projects John is leading include: the support of underachieving students and at-risk adult leaners in basic Mathematics and Literacy through the QuickSmart program; the development of the Philippine National Research Centre for Teacher Quality (RCTQ) promoting system-wide reform in teacher education; the validation of the Professional Standards for Teachers in Saudi Arabia; and in-service teacher developments in Quality Teaching.