OUR TEAM

Directors
Catherine Kirby 05-18 (cropped)

Catherine Kirby, CEO and Director

Catherine is 2e and a parent of three 2e children. She is a Fellow of the School of Social Entrepreneurs, has qualifications in Narrative Therapy, Teaching students with dyslexia and learning differences, and is an accredited Action Learning Coach – as well as having a background in business and project management.

Catherine is a social entrepreneur with a professional background in business management for the not for profit and social enterprise sector. She has a strong social conscience, having been involved in a variety of social innovations. Catherine has had 32 careers and held 250 jobs in eight countries. She knows first hand that being 2e ‘ain’t pretty or easy’, and has now found her passion helping others like her.

Anne Jackson, Co-Founder and Director of Education

Anne is a Founding Director of Kids Like Us Australia Limited, a teacher, counsellor, advocate and grandparent. She holds two Master’s degrees in Education (Gifted, and Special Education), as well as a Graduate Diploma in Counselling. Anne is now enrolled in the Doctoral program at The Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education, Los Angeles.

Qualifications:

  • Certificate of Narrative Therapy 2014, Au
  • Certificate of Competence in Educational Testing 2013, UK
  • Enrolled EdD 2012 (discontinued), Au
  • M.Ed. (Special Education) 2011, Au
  • Diploma of Abnormal Psychology 2009, UK
  • Certificate in the Teaching of Children with Dyslexia 2007, UK
  • M.Ed. (gifted), 2006, Au
  • Teacher Training Certificate in SPELD 2006, Au
  • G.Dip. Counselling 2005, Au
  • Professional Cert. Adolescent Counselling 2001, Au
  • Grad. Cert. Education (Gifted) 2001, Au
  • Grad. Dip. Education (Gifted) 1999, Au
  • Diploma Youth Ministry 1994, Au
  • Grad. Dip. Education (Literacy) 1990, Au
  • Certificate of Education 1977, UK

Professional Memberships:

  • Australian Counselling Association
  • Victorian Institute of Teachers
Education

Aimy McAninly

Aimy has worked in a wide range of educational environments over the last 8 years. At Kids Like Us Aimy is the lead teacher for the EPIC program supporting primary aged students who attend the day program. Aimy loves working with young people who have experienced difficulties in main stream school education. She is driven by a focus on trauma-informed practice, working in environments requiring flexible delivery. Aimy also teaches at Deakin University, teaching pre-service teachers with a focus on Inclusive Education and is a passionate art teacher, who loves to learn about anything and is wildly curious.

Aimy’s qualifications include: Masters of Education (commenced); Graduate Diploma, Adolescent Health and Wellbeing; Masters of Teaching (Secondary/Applied Learning); Bachelor of Interactive Media (Graphic Design/Animation)

Aimy’s personal passions include cheese, dogs, netball, the Gym, reality tv, art, and travelling.

Aimy’s favourite thing about working at KLU is getting to know each young person and the unique interests they have. I love the fun and creative things we get to do in our sessions!

Lucie Smith

Lucie Smith

Lucie began teaching over 20 years ago.  She is a secondary mathematics and science teacher who has post-graduate qualifications in computer education, as well as Masters qualifications in both Mathematics Education and Special and Inclusive Education.

She has also worked in the IT industry, firstly as a support officer and later as an IT trainer.

Lucie has experience both as a parent and an educator in the area of learning differences – working with both learning difficulties and gifted and talented.  She understands the importance of support for all students both at school and at home. Lucie has taught students from prep to Year 12.

Dr. Cheryl Dobbs

Cheryl’s qualifications include Ph.D., M.Ed. (Applied Linguistics), B.Ed., Adv. Dip. Ed. (Diverse Learning Needs), Dip. Ed. (Mathematical Education)

Cheryl originally trained and worked in the UK with children and adults with diverse learning needs across a wide range of mainstream and specialist educational settings. When Cheryl’s family first moved to Australia; she established an educational support centre for students and developed training opportunities in the use of assistive technologies for professionals. Later, Cheryl returned to study in the UK and began working in educational software development. Now, Cheryl does what she loves best: teaching students and supporting their families.

Cheryl’s personal passions include enjoying working in my garden – not everything grows as she expects it to, but it is fun to try!

Cheryl’s role at KLU is to teach literacy and support students to explore and use assistive technologies. Developing our students’ literacy skills involves using age-appropriate materials and a specific, sequential structure (synthetic phonics) to teach both reading and spelling. Writing also requires explicit and structured instruction. Cheryl also enjoys working with some of our primary aged students who experience difficulties with Maths. Together, they use lots of concrete materials to reinforce concepts and explicit, sequential instruction that reinforces the fact that Maths can actually be fun and interesting.

Cheryl’s favourite thing about working at KLU is watching our “kids” grow in confidence and begin to support and encourage others around them

Lesley Parker

Lesley began teaching from the ground up. A few months of kindergarten stimulated her to enter Primary Teachers’ College, after which she taught Grade 1, and the following year Grade 4/5 composite. She was also the Principal on Wednesdays.

Following this, she left teaching to explore the world and held many different jobs.

When she returned to teaching, while completing a degree at Monash, she realised her love for teaching older students.

She loves to find the ‘key’ that unlocks a student’s full potential and works to build understanding and trust with her students through their often difficult teenage years.

Lesley’s travels overseas have enriched her knowledge and enabled her to use many experiences as anecdotes to help students’ understanding. She has taken classes in the wilds of northern Canada, Kashgar in western China, as well as Burma, Vietnam and Cambodia – and not forgetting a village school in the depths of the Amazon.

Many ex-students will recognise her name as teaching VCE Outdoor and Environmental Studies, Geography, English and Agriculture and Horticulture Studies at Sandringham College – VCE Campus

Jan Allan

Jan’s qualifications are Bachelor of Education Secondary Art & Craft; Post Grad Diploma of media studies; Major in Printmaking & Drawing Melbourne State College; Certificate IV TAE 40110; Certificate IV TAA 40104; Certificate IV BSZ 40198; Workplace Assessment and Training AIE.

Jan began her teaching career working with students from diverse, migrant backgrounds in the western suburbs of Melbourne. She became involved in the local community where she ran a Community Care Group and was later employed in a Community Development Organisation working as part of a team to develop and run Racism Awareness Workshops. Her experience includes teaching general Art and Media Studies Y7-Y10, VCE Studio Art, Art, and Textiles. Jan works with students to express concepts and ideas in both visual and written form. Jan has developed an ability to assist students to see and trust in the potential of their creative expression and has also been able to assist students to adapt to the requirements of the education structure

Jan’s personal passions include being a student of meditation practice and has an interest in exploring meditation practices for children. Jan also enjoys all forms of visual art, dance and music. At KLU Jan runs an art program for students as individuals, and with small groups, encouraging the use of visuals arts as a form of communication and self- expression. Jan also tutors VCE visual arts. At KLU, Jan works with students aged 7-15 as well as VCE students.                                                             

Jan’s favourite thing about working at KLU is the friendly atmosphere which fosters a relaxed and supportive learning environment in which to work.

Hamish Taylor

Hamish is a KLU alumnus and a Physics student currently working on his Honours thesis at Monash University.       

Hamish has many personal passions including birdkeeping – He has two Cockatiels and two Lorikeets who have been taught to talk which add to the conversations during online learning! 

Hamish’s role at KLU is to teach higher-level mathematics and the sciences, particularly physics and chemistry. At KLU, Hamish works with secondary students of all ages, but primarily with VCE-level students.

Hamish’s favourite thing about working at KLU is the friendly atmosphere and people.

Wilma Skattäng-Stone

Wilma Skattäng-Stone

Wilma is currently in the third year at Monash University studying a Bachelor of Education (Honours) in Primary and Secondary Education.

Wilma was born in Sweden and moved to Australia when she was 14 years old. Wilma is bilingual, Swedish is her first language and English is her second. Wilma is passionate about learning, especially in a way that makes sense for the individual. Ultimately this passion has led her to study teaching and she brings this passion to her students and the classroom. Wilma loves helping students realise their true potential and watching them thrive.

Wilma has many personal passions including reading! She is an avid reader and has been ever since she was little. The only thing better than getting lost in a good book is another book.

At Kids Like Us Wilma is a tutor and organiser of various social groups. She tutors a range of subjects depending on the needs of the students however her passion lies with teaching English and the humanities. Wilma currently, works with students aged between 7-18 years.

Wilma’s top three favourite things about working at KLU would be the students, her co-workers and the fact that she is constantly learning by working at KLU.

Dylan Healey

Dylan Healey

Dylan is currently studying geography and politics at The University of Melbourne. He is not one of these people who has had their life worked out since they were born but is exploring his life’s options through just following what he loves doing – helping people, having fun, appreciating the little things in everyday life.

Dylan’s personal passions include camping, fishing, music, basketball, AFL, video games.

Dylan’s role at KLU is as an English and English Language tutor, and assisting in a range of social-emotional groups as well as the Konnect program and Homework club.  In particular, Dylan has a real connection with the primary and early secondary boys. At KLU Dylan works 1:1 with high school students – including VCE.

Dylan’s favourite thing about working at KLU is seeing student’s eyes light up when they grasp a concept as well as when they leave the session feeling more confident, motivated and less stressed than when they came in.

Kit Kirby

Kit Kirby

Kit is an alumnus and one of the founder’s Kids Like Us.  He is both a tutor and an honorary Board member. Kit is currently studying an accelerated Masters of Engineering at Monash University

Kit is a  2000’s baby and twice-exceptional. He was born in Canada and have since lived in 4 more countries. When he grows up, Kit wants to help build stuff on Mars, but he thinks someone has just figured out how to do that so is re-thinking his goals! Kit is passionate about sustainability and creating a better world.

Kit’s personal passions include Cycling and Fencing.

Kits role at KLU is a maths and science tutor at KLU as well as supporting social-emotional groups, the Konnect and homework club. For 1:1 tutoring Kit mostly works with high school students.

Kits favourite thing about working at KLU is getting to see people grow and change, particularly as he can often relate to where they came from.

Counselling
Naomi Castelan (staff page)

Dr. Naomi Castelan

Naomi is excited about working with neurodiverse children and their families to make real change in their day to day lives.  Naomi uses a range of approaches from the rich offerings of psychology paired with a strong focus on empathy. 

Naomi has many personal passions including social justice, and environmentalism.

Naomi’s role at KLU is as a Clinical psychologist and works with all age groups at KLU.

Naomi’s favourite thing about working at KLU is the passion of the staff.

 Qualifications are BA, BSc(Hons), DPsych in Clinical Psychology.

Wellbeing
Skye Penfold 07-19

Skye Penfold

Skye is a psychologist and began her career working in the public mental health system helping people with chronic and acute mental illness, often coupled with drug and alcohol use. Skye found that people were able to achieve their best outcomes when their team worked together, not only with the client themselves, but with their family and support network.

Skye has two daughters and she has developed a passion for helping kids recognise their own strengths and using these strengths to realise their dreams and navigate their way through the world. Skye has many family members and friends who are 2e and she thinks that if everyone thought the same way, the world would be a very dull and backward place!  

Qualifications include a Bachelor of Science and a Post Graduate Diploma in Science (Psychology), both from the University of Sydney.

Skye’s personal passions include my daughters; music, especially the Beatles; Fantasy fiction – books, art, etc.

Skye’s role at KLU is a Psychologist, and she runs several small social-emotional skills groups working with any and all age groups.

Skye’s favourite thing about working at KLU is that it’s never boring!

Caitlin Bowie

Caitlin Bowie

Cait is in my final year of a Bachelor of Counselling at ACU and is a member of the Australian Counselling Association.

Cait’s personal passions include all kinds of crafts such as sewing, quilting, and painting. Cait loves doing these crafts and activities during her rare moments of “downtime”.  Cait’s dog Cooper is a big part of her life and has sparked an interest in positive dog training methods and animal behaviour.

Cait is a counselling intern at KLU and has the delight of working closely with students one-on-one during counselling sessions, and Konnect session for grades 5/6, 7, and 8, as well as being a part of the Epic program on Fridays.

Cait’s favourite thing about KLU is the positive, accepting, and understanding nature of all the staff and students. She also loves to give Rory a cuddle when she comes in!

Emily Keegan Photo

Emily Keegan

Emily filled her childhood with Harry Potter and Scout camps and travelled a little which opened her eyes to what wonderful things the world has to offer and this sparked a love of travel (despite a fear of flying!) Emily became a teacher in 2011 and has worked in a range of schools both here and in Australia and the UK where she found a passion for literacy and student management. After the birth of her daughter in 2018, she began to look at mainstream education through a different lens and started to see how many students didn’t “fit” and this got her thinking – there has to be more that can be done. 

Emily’s personal passions include curling up with her bulldogs and cat in front of the fire, watching a bit of Brooklyn 99 or MasterChef. She is also partial to a Pilates work out and eating good food with family and friends. She loves the outdoors and rainy weather is a favourite.

Her qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts (History and Psychology) and a Bachelor of Teaching from Deakin University, a wealth of teaching experience and she is currently studying a Graduate Certificate in Child, Youth and Family Therapy.

Emily’s favourite thing about working at Kids Like Us is that there is some truly amazing staff. She feels like she is with like-minded people and at home when she walks through the door – this vibe means we are all striving to help the young people we encounter and it makes her excited to come to work each day.

Rory

Rory is a qualified and trained therapy dog, he is 6 years old.  He is black with bits of brown and as a typical Labrador LOVES food. He started his career working with a little boy in Queensland before he was brought on a plane to meet KLU people. He loves my job at KLU and gets very bored when Anne leaves him at home.

His biggest passions include food and tummy rubs.

Due to his intensive training, Rory is able to sense if people are feeling sad. When they are, he will try and comfort them. He will hug them, do his tricks to make them smile or even lie down on their feet if he thinks they need him. At KLU, he works with all young people and staff.

Rory’s favourite thing about working at KLU is that he gets to meet lots and lots of people. He can show some people that all dogs are not frightening.

He would work at KLU every day if his owner would bring him

Rory was funded through a grant from Parkdale Bendigo Bank and receives free health care from the Kingston Veterinary Hospital.

Partners

Kids Like Us has developed relationships with other professionals who understand twice-exceptional young people, and we’d like to share their details to assist families when making a decision on who else to talk to access support.

Many of these professionals provide services from Kids Like Us rooms in order to reduce anxiety for our students and then work closely with the KLU Team.

Providers include:

Dr. Tim Edwards-Hart

Clinical Psychologist for adolescents, young adults and their families
DPsych, BAppSci(Psych)(Hons), GradDipBehavSc, GDipAdolHlthWelf

Suite 410, 1 Princess Street
Kew
VIC 3101
P: 03 9005 5425
E: info@edwardshart.com.au
W: https://www.edwardshart.com.au

Raise the Bar Psychology

Educational psychologists providing Educational Assessments designed to assist children, adolescents and adults in realising their academic, social and emotional potential.

6/2 Central Ave,
Moorabbin,
VIC 3189
P: 1300 785 662
E: info@raisethebarpsychology.com.au
W: http://www.raisethebarpsychology.com.au

Maria Kouspos

Paediatric speech Therapist for children aged 0 to 18, specialising in language development, articulation development, social language development, developmental concerns and Autism Spectrum Disorders
Bayside Children’s Clinic
BSp-Path, MSPAA, CPSP

P: 1300 75 40 79
E: mariakouspos@gmail.com

Jodie Lang

Occupational Therapist, specialising in Developmental Coordination Disorder or dyspraxia, developmental delay, Learning Difficulties, Attention Deficit Disorders, Sensory Processing Disorders and motor skill delays.
Hopscotch Occupational Therapy
BOccThy

E: jodie@hopscotchot.com.au
W: http://www.hopscotchot.com.au

Jodi Green

ADHD coaching, providing clarity and education on what ADHD is and how it shows up, as well as effective strategies tailored towards clients and their families.

Director and Lead Coach
ADHD iD
B.E., B.Comm., Grad. Dip (SD), Member ICF

M: +61 411 122 512
E: jodi@adhd-id.com.au
W: https://www.adhd-id.com.au

Others

Board

Our Board keeps a benevolent and watchful eye over everything we do at Kids Like Us, helping us to make the big decisions. This tireless team backs up everything that KLU does, and provides a great deal of support and insight into what makes us who we are.

Making up our Board are:

  • Anne Jackson
  • Melissa Wilkey
  • Anthony Rendall
  • Helen Mastos
  • Jake Kirby
  • Kim Annesley

Office Team

Working behind the scenes at Kids Like Us is a team of highly dedicated individuals who help to keep our day to day activities running. From HR to bookkeeping, our office team are contracted to ensure that Kids Like Us runs smoothly, and we’re greatly indebted to them.

Our Office Team are:

  • Kris Hughes – office manager with responsibility for appointment management and client communications
  • Katrina Davidson – invoicing
  • Deb Carlye – accounts
    • Bookkeeping services provided by On Balance Solutions.

Volunteers

Kids Like Us wouldn’t be in the place it is without the generous help, time and attention we’ve received from volunteers over the years. These efforts made by these volunteers to help the twice-exceptional young people of our area have been heart-warming, and we’re very grateful to them all.