The Board and Directors 2023

Dr John Nicholas Saunders President

Initially a Drama, English and History teacher, John has worked in primary, secondary, tertiary, and juvenile justice contexts in Queensland and New South Wales.  He is currently the Assistant Dean of Learning: Teacher Growth and Development at Ambrose Treacy College in Brisbane, where he also teaches English and Drama.

John was recently elected as AAAE’s new President.

He says “I am a passionate advocate for teachers and teacher professional associations.  Our member organisations play a central role in supporting teachers through professional learning, resources, publications, mentoring and so much more.  But they also advocate for teachers at a national level. I hope that AAAE can continue to play an even more significant role at a national level representing our member associations, and ultimately, every Australian teacher.”    

John is currently the president of Drama Australia, and Chair of the National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE). John also teaches in initial teacher education at Griffith University, Queensland. He recently completed his PhD exploring the impact of creative and embodied pedagogy in developing literacy and engagement in students at the University of Sydney, where he is also an Honorary Associate.

Tim Warwick Treasurer

Currently based in North Queensland, Tim worked with the Department of Education & Training (Vic) as a Project Manager on the Shepparton Education Plan. This was a plan for transformational change in the outcomes and opportunities for the young people of Greater Shepparton. He is a former Principal of Gowrie St Primary School in Shepparton. Earlier in his career, he taught Legal Studies and Humanities at Wanganui Park Secondary College.

Tim has led and supported a number of Indigenous education and cultural awareness strategies which have been launched in schools across the Murray Goulburn Valley region. He was the Project Co-ordinator for the Kaiela Dhungala First Peoples Curriculum and is on the boards of Ganbina and of the Primary English Teachers Association Australia (PETAA). Tim is new to the AAAE board this year.

Tim reflected on the role of AAAE that “AAAE brings together the minds and experiences of our country’s education associations to collaborate on this critical work of educating our young people. Together we can support teachers to realise their best potential and overcome challenges they may face.”

Sherryl Saunders Secretary

Sherryl Saunders is Treasurer of the Australian Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations. She has taught languages to students across primary and secondary schools, been a curriculum officer for languages, an Assistant Principal in a P-12 school, and has lectured pre-service teachers in languages. Sherryl is passionate about the work of teachers and has a particular interest in the role that professional standards have in guiding the work of teachers.  She is the immediate past president of AAAE and our current secretary.

On the importance of AAAE, Sherryl reflects: “I believe teachers working collaboratively with teachers, through professional teacher associations, is the best way to support the work and well-being of all teachers, leading to high quality education for all students.” 

Dr Florence Boulard


Originally from New Caledonia, Florence migrated to Australia for her tertiary studies. She completed a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education at the University of Queensland in Brisbane and subsequently moved to tropical North Queensland where she formally began her teaching career. Eager to continue learning and develop herself as an educator, she successfully completed her Master of Education and then her PhD in Education. Florence’s research, teaching and engagement work focuses on the Pacific region and its people. An academic for over a decade, Florence is a senior lecturer at James Cook University. 

She says “Through my work as an academic I have the opportunity to work with a range of teachers, many of whom come from an EAL/D background. In Australia, our classrooms are culturally and linguistically diverse. This diversity is evident through the students we teach but also through the colleagues we engage with every day. I am excited to be on the board of the AAAE and in particular I hope to be able to represent the voices of our EAL/D teachers irrespective of the discipline in which they are experts in or the member associations they are part of. I believe that EAL/D teachers in Australia make rich and unique contributions to the learning experiences of students and are an asset for the wider school community.”

Florence is currently the vice-president and journal editor of the Modern Language Teachers Association in Queensland. She teaches across a range of subjects in the disciplines of Humanities and Education. She explained that it is a privilege to be able to work with tomorrow’s teachers. 

Allan Dougan


Allan is a new member of the AAAE Board. He is the Chief Executive Officer of The Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT).

Allan started his career as a Secondary Mathematics teacher in Scotland. As a celebrated teacher in Scotland, he held various leadership positions in schools and was Scottish Teacher of the Year Runner Up. After moving to Australia, Allan quickly proved himself as a teacher of merit holding positions of middle and senior leadership in NSW schools. Before joining The Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT) in December 2020, Allan was Global Head of Education for a large EdTech company–a role that saw Allan present professional learning across the globe and develop a strong knowledge of current and emerging educational practices and pedagogies worldwide. Allan is passionate about relational and relevant mathematics education which helps young people see the beauty and purpose of learning mathematics.

Allan believes that professional associations play a significantly important role in being the conjugate between policy and practice in schools. He reflects “Teachers look to professional associations for impartial advice and best-practice support on all areas of classroom practice and school operations from curriculum to pedagogy. Professional Associations help policymakers to have a deep understanding of the education landscape. The importance of the role that Professional Associations play must not be understated.”

Trish Douglas


Trish is the Immediate Past Chair of the Australian Geography Teachers Association (AGTA), having held the position of Chair for five years. She is a returning member of the AAAE Board. Trish teaches Geography and Economics to Years 10-12 at Eltham College, Melbourne where she is also VCE Coordinator. She is a Life Member of the Geography Teachers Association of Victoria, having undertaken a range of Committee roles with this organisation for some twenty years. Trish is a contributing author to many GTAV textbooks and other resources. Trish has an active interest in supporting inexperienced and out-of-field teachers of Geography.

On the role of AAAE, Trish commented: “Working with members of other teacher associations on AAAE provides the opportunity to discuss common issues we face and how these might best be addressed. Importantly, it enables us to have a stronger voice in advocating for the needs of our associations at a national level.”

Helen Vonow


Helen’s substantial experience in leadership and management has involved working in leadership and teaching roles from ELC to Year 12, across a diversity of education sectors including Department, Catholic, Christian, and Independent school settings. Roles have included ground-breaking work to support the development of two brand new schools in country and city locations.

Helen’s experience and networking over the years has involved holding roles as Executive Director, Australian Curriculum Studies Association (current), Head of Junior Schools F-6 & ELC-6, F-12 Deputy Principal, Assistant Principal F-6, & a variety of F-12 Curriculum Coordinator roles.

Helen has a passion to support the development of quality teaching and learning by ensuring access to high quality professional development, supporting conversation around the shape and development of curriculum, and nurturing innovative communities of practice.

She has extensive experience in event and project management both within schools and the wider community, and also brings to the table business development experience.

In stepping onto the AAAE Board, Helen is keen to advocate for the wellbeing, networking, collaboration and collegiality of Associations in education, all of whom support members in their field of expertise, with the ultimate outcome of inclusively improving educational outcomes for all.

Dr Katina Zammit


Katina is the current President of the Australia Literacy Educators Association (ALEA). She works in the School of Education, Western Sydney University where she leads the accreditation of initial teacher education programs, teaches in primary English/ Literacy pedagogy, student engagement and teaching and learning in challenging contexts, and undertakes research alongside teachers to improve student learning outcomes in English.

Katina is new to the AAAE Board this year.

Reflecting on the benefits of being a part of AAAE, Katina commented: “Working together across disciplines towards changing teaching practices provides the opportunity to build collaboration with and between teachers, associations as well as advocacy for all disciplines.”