Catherine Kirby, CEO and Director
Catherine is 2e and a parent of three 2e children. She is also 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 healthcare 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 and parent. She holds two Master’s degrees in Education (Gifted, and Special Education), as well as a Graduate Diploma in Counselling. Anne has found her way to working with twice-exceptional children through her own personal and professional story. As a mother of a “gifted-but-not-happy” son, Anne started on a journey to discover how to support him and on the way discovered that she had not been an ‘average C student who should have worked harder’, but had been an incredibly bright child with a severe learning difficulty.
- PACFA Supervision training, 2014, Au
- M.Ed. (gifted), 2006, Au
- M.Ed. (Special Education) 2011, Au
- G.Dip. Counselling 2005, Au
- Certificate of Narrative Therapy 2014, Au
- Enrolled EdD 2012 (discontinued), US
- Certificate of Competence in Educational Testing 2013, UK
- Diploma of Abnormal Psychology 2009, UK
- Certificate in the Teaching of Children with Dyslexia 2007, UK
- Teacher Training Certificate in SPELD 2006, 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
- Australian Counselling Association
- Victorian Institute of Teachers
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.
A registered primary school teacher with a passion for helping students with learning differences, Lisa helps students to believe in their own abilities by giving them access to a range of tools to solve reading, spelling, writing, research and maths problems.
Her day-to-day work as a CRT brings her into contact with many different children, school cultures, programs and teaching methods, and helps to keep her ‘in the loop’ when it comes to the experiences that students are exposed to.
Her two children have been diagnosed with learning differences, leading Lisa to pursue significant research and training beyond her teaching qualification. Having learned to understand various specialist reports, deciding between possible therapies and interventions, and dealing with the daily challenges faced due to these diagnoses, Lisa has a clear insight into issues faced by families in similar situations.
Lisa is fully qualified in the Write to Read language program (45 hours of training), using engaging, multisensory methods to explicitly teach children to understand the sound/code connection that underpins all literacy – reading, spelling and writing. She has also taken courses in dyslexia, twice-exceptional students, Easy Read and mathematics, combined with extensive reading investigation to gain a deeper understanding of how to make school skills more accessible for students.
Prior to becoming a teacher, Lisa used her qualifications in environmental management to care for local bushland and coastal areas, and educate the community about sustainability and the natural world.
Dr. Cheryl Dobbs
Dr. Cheryl Dobbs is an Independent Education Consultant who specialises in the use of digital technologies to support literacy and learning. She has worked in a wide range of mainstream and specialist educational settings in Australia and the UK teaching children and adults with diverse learning needs. Cheryl combines the explicit teaching of literacy with the exploration and use of assistive/enabling technologies. She works directly with students, schools and their families as well as facilitating workshops and training.
Alan Wilkes is a chemical engineer by training who spent 15 years working in the petrochemical industry. After completing a Masters of Business Administration, he became a successful entrepreneur and business owner.
Now, Alan has turned his considerable skills to teaching, and is a passionate teacher of mathematics and sciences who loves the challenges that working at Kids Like Us brings. His enthusiasm for the mathematics and scientific fields is infectious, and his students genuinely enjoy the time they spend together – a great achievement for a maths and science teacher!
He loves working with students at all levels, and has significant experience in tailoring a program to match the differing needs of students in all years of secondary mathematics and science.
Alan is currently completing his Masters of Teaching.
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, Kasgar 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.
Tanya is a qualified Primary Teacher who has experience teaching from ELC to Year 11. Since completing her Bachelor in Special Education, she has always been passionate about tapping into how individual children think and learn best.
One of her two sons has learning difficulties with literacy and articulation. From infancy to pre-school his health and behavioural issues led her to research and successfully modify symptoms based on nutrition (preservatives). Also a qualified Personal Trainer, she naturally fosters a fun approach to physical activity.
Immersing herself in the culture of different schools enables her to know the current standards and see ideal teaching practices which she adopts in engaging sessions suited to the child’s needs. She aims to establish positive relationships so that children in her care feel happy and thrive.
Jan has extensive experience teaching art-based subjects and adapting programs to students in a variety of circumstances and needs.
She began her teaching career working from diverse, recently-arrived migrant backgrounds in the western suburbs of Melbourne.
Taking a break from teaching to have children she became involved in the local community and school. During this time she ran a Community Care Group to support people in short-term need. Later, she was employed in a Community Development Organisation working as part of a team to develop and run Racism Awareness Workshops. These workshops were used by NGOs as preparation for people applying for positions to work overseas.
On returning to teaching she started working in Bayside. Her experience includes teaching general Art and Media Studies Y7-Y10, VCE Studio Art, Art, and Textiles.
Jan worked with students to express concepts and ideas in both visual and written form. She 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 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.
On a more personal level, she has been a student of meditation practice for many years and has an interest in exploring meditation practices for children.
Hamish is an Aerospace Engineering and Physics student with an interest in high velocity aerodynamics and the mechanics of orbital spaceflight, as well as particle physics. He teaches Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology, with a focus on building an extensive understanding of concepts and rational problem solving.
Wilma is our Swedish viking who has been living in Australia for 6 years. She speaks fluent Swedish, so if you want to learn Swedish she’s your go-to! Wilma loves helping others, and especially when it comes to realising their full potential. This has led her to discover her passion for teaching. She is a pre-service teacher currently studying a Bachelor of Primary and Secondary Education at Monash University. She is specialising in English and History. In her spare time, Wilma loves reading, swimming and being with her family.
Dylan’s ambition as an English and English Language tutor at KLU is to help pass on his weird and quirky methods for learning, and to provide an individualistic approach to each student depending on their needs. His unconventional approach to learning led him to graduate from Sandringham College in 2016 with an ATAR of 96.00 and raw study scores of 44 in English and 42 in English Language. After Year 12, Dylan’s passion for protecting the environment influenced his choice to study Geography and Politics at The University of Melbourne. Outside of the academic world, Dylan has an incessant love for basketball, and enjoys a range of other activities such as camping, fishing and video games.
Dr. Naomi Castelan
Dr. Naomi Castelan is a clinical psychologist with a passion for supporting kids to feel happy and confident. She has a special interest and expertise in working with kids who have complex needs. She also understands the importance of supporting families alongside the kids. Naomi counts many 2e people amongst her beloved family and friends. Naomi is also an avid environmentalist who is equally passionate about protecting our precious planet.
Megan is a Registered Psychologist with a Post Graduate Diploma in Professional Psychology Practice. She enjoys working with children, young people and adults from various cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Her professional experience includes working with groups and individuals to address psychological discomfort and distress. Megan employs a collaborative, strengths-focused approach; and is passionate about empowering individuals to achieve their therapeutic and life goals. Treatment approaches adopted by Megan include: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT); Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT); Motivational Interviewing; Mindfulness.
Caitlin is currently studying a Bachelor of Counselling at Australian Catholic University. Since completing VCE in 2016, she has studied full-time at university as well as babysitting every other day for select local families. Caitlin finds delight in looking after newborn babies, toddlers and teens and has worked with children of all abilities; from those with physical and cognitive disabilities and disorders to children with severe food allergies. Every minute that she is not studying or looking after children, Caitlin loves nothing more than exploring new parks and beaches with her faithful Cavoodle Cooper.
Caitlin is passionate about learning about animal behaviour as well as positive and force-free dog training methods. In her down time, Caitlin is creative and enjoys painting, cross-stitching, jigsaw puzzles, colouring and baking.
After completing a Bachelor of Counselling, Caitlin plans to continue studying and undertaking a Masters of Occupational Therapy.
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.
Counsellor, providing counselling for men, women and families, relationship counselling, post-trauma counselling and parent support.
MCouns, GradCert Narrative Therapy
233 Barkly St, St. Kilda &
24 Station St, Moorabbin
M: +61 488 284 023
Raise the Bar Psychology
Educational psychologists providing Educational Assessments designed to assist children, adolescents and adults in realising their academic, social and emotional potential.
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
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
Psychologist, working with individuals, couples and families
Post.Grad.Dip.Psych, Msc.Hlth.Sc., AHPRA registration & AAFT Clinical Member
M: +61 418 336 890
Ann Williams, Dyslexia and LD Parent Support Group Bayside
A support group for parents of young people living with dyslexia and learning difficulties. This group appears generally monthly at Kids Like Us as our Coffee, Cake & Chat mornings.
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
B.E., B.Comm., Grad. Dip (SD), Member ICF
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:
- Catherine Kirby
- Anne Jackson
- Melissa Wilkey
- Mark Northeast
- Anthony Rendall
- Helen Mastos
- Jake Kirby
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:
- Clare Lehane – keeper of books, a numbers expert
- Kristina Bouyer – another financial friend and a huge help behind-the-scenes
- Alison Gough – a hidden treasure and a key part of our office team
- Kim Annesley – looks after staff as our HR guru, advises on policies, rules and regulations.
- Alex Ashcroft – jack-of-all-trades admin, and wearer of many hats
- Joel Doutch – school development
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.