Our People

CNS is a collaborative project between researchers, school leaders and educators, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, their families and communities at eight schools across urban, regional and remote parts of NSW.

The researchers, led by Chief Investigator Associate Professor Kevin Lowe (UNSW), are supported by a team of professional staff who work behind the scenes to facilitate community engagement and coordinate CNS research and activities.

Project Investigators

University of New South Wales
Kevin Lowe is a Gubbi Gubbi man from southeast Queensland and is a Scientia Indigenous Fellow at UNSW.

Kevin has had experience in education as a teacher, administrator and lecturer. He has expertise in working with Aboriginal community organisations on establishing Aboriginal language policy and school curriculum implementation.

Kevin is a CNS research lead at Oak Flats High School, Gilgandra High School and Lake Cargelligo Central School. 

Cathie Burgess is a lecturer/researcher in Aboriginal Studies/Education, Aboriginal Community Engagement, Learning from Country and Leadership in Aboriginal Education programs at the Sydney School of Education and Social Work, The University of Sydney.

She has extensive teaching and leadership experience in secondary schools and maintains strong connections with school-communities through teacher professional learning and research projects.

Cathie’s work in Aboriginal Education/Aboriginal Studies is acknowledged through an Honorary Life Member, NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and Life Member, Aboriginal Studies Association NSW. 

Cathie is a CNS research lead at Alexandria Park Community School. 

Griffith University

Greg is a Senior Lecturer with the School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University. His work draws on critical and poststructural theories linked with the sociology of education.

Greg’s research interests are focused on investigating policy enactment through teaching and learning practices. Central to this research is addressing the cultural politics of schooling and knowledge-making practices that shape the experiences of teacher and learner identities in the classroom. Within the CNS team, Greg has been leading the Curriculum Workshops, which have provided opportunities to visit all the learning communities participating in the project.   

Greg is a CNS research lead at Tweed River High School and Gilgandra High School.  

University of New South Wales

Rose Amazan is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at UNSW, Sydney. She has extensive experience working with low SES communities in Australia and internationally. Rose’s expertise resides in two strands of research: Social justice in education/ pathways to educational equity and international education and development policy with an emphasis on gender.  

Rose’s research, teaching, and service activities are motivated by her commitment to community development and creating equitable and safe environments for marginalised and disadvantaged communities. 

Rose is a CNS research lead at Matraville Sports High School. 

University of New South Wales

Tracy Durksen is a non-Indigenous scholar who worked as a primary school teacher in Canada. She is a Scientia Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer of Educational Psychology in the School of Education at UNSW.

Her research aims to impact the learning and development of students and teachers with a focus on interpersonal interactions and psychological characteristics like motivation and adaptability. She is a mixed methods researcher grounded in social cognitive and self-determination theories with expertise in community-based research and evaluation.  

Tracy is the CNS research lead at Condobolin Public School and Condobolin High School. 

Queensland University of Technology

Annette Woods is a professor in the School of Early Childhood and Inclusive Education at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). She is also a Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child. She researches and teaches in social justice education and school reform; curriculum, pedagogy and assessment; and literacies and digital literacies.  

She is currently involved in research related to migrant and refugee young people and their families living in rural contexts and issues of language, curriculum and pedagogy; investigating young children’s representations of learning with technologies; a curriculum project investigating history and science teachers’ engagements with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content; a design-based project engaging young children in maker spaces and activities; and studies related to online programs and apps and the teaching of early reading. 

Annette is a CNS researcher at Tweed River High School and Lake Cargelligo Central School. 

Univesity of New South Wales

Andrew J. Martin, PhD, is Scientia Professor, Professor of Educational Psychology, and Chair of the Educational Psychology Research Group in the School of Education at the University of New South Wales, Australia. He specialises in motivation, engagement, achievement, and quantitative research methods. 

Andrew is a CNS quantitative research lead. 

The University of Sydney

Claire Golledge is a Lecturer in Education and the co-ordinator of the Humanities Curriculum in the Sydney School of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney. Claire’s background is as a secondary teacher of humanities, as well as in school executive leadership positions, leading teacher professional learning. 

Claire is a CNS researcher at Alexandria Park Community School and the research lead for the Culturally Nourishing Leadership partnership with Social Ventures Australia (SVA).  

Project Researchers

Postdoc Research Fellow
⎼ Quantitative

Keiko Bostwick is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Education at UNSW. Her work broadly focuses on the impact of students’ and teachers’ motivation on students’ academic learning and wellbeing.  

Postdoc Research Fellow
⎼ Qualitative

Sara is a non-Indigenous teacher-researcher specialist with a PhD in cross/inter-cultural education research between non-Indigenous people and First Nations Peoples in Australia. She grew up on Gundijtmara Country in Warrnambool and currently lives and works on Wadawurrung Country in Ballarat.  

Her research focuses on developing relational educational practices and professional development for teachers specifically within the secondary education space and discipline of History. Sara also specialises in learning and content design and user experience for diverse cohorts across a broad range of platforms; online, blended, face-to-face. 

Sara works on the Culturally Nourishing Schooling Project as the qualitative Postdoctoral expert. 

Research Assistant

David is a non-Indigenous scholar of public policy, focusing on topics related to First Nations health, employment and education. He grew up on Dharug Country in the NW suburbs of Sydney. He now lives and works on Bedegal and Gadigal Country. David is part of the research team on the Culturally Nourishing Schooling project and is also Senior Advisor, Academic Quality and Strategy at the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG).  

In 2019, he completed his PhD in Aboriginal health policy at UNSW. David has taught and researched in the academic disciplines of public policy and administration, Indigenous studies, and teacher education. Before coming to academia, David worked as a Spanish interpreter. 

CNS/HDR Research Assistant

Shanna is a non-Aboriginal researcher at the UNSW School of Education. Before moving into the field of education she worked in the refugee sector and on issues of environmental justice for Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

Her research focuses on the pathways to teachers becoming community-focused, culturally responsive educators. She has taught at UNSW and the University of Sydney in socio-political contexts of education and leadership in Aboriginal education.  

Shanna is a CNS researcher at Alexandria Park Community School and Oak Flats High School. 

Project Coordinators

Community Faciltator

Julie is a proud Gomeroi and Muruwari woman, originally from Gunnedah NSW. She grew up in Redfern, Sydney and is involved in community organisations, events and cultural activities.

Julie has spent many years working in community and local government organisations working with local peoples and groups from diverse cultural backgrounds. She is a strong advocate for Aboriginal children and young people in her local community.

Julie currently works across the CNS project as the community facilitator, building critical relationships within and across school communities. Julie initiated and coordinates the Blak Caucus group which brings together Cultural Mentors and Aboriginal staff working in our schools and communities.

Pedagogical Leader
Regional/Urban Schools

Julie has almost three decades of experience working in a range of high school teaching roles. She has expertise in leading, developing and mentoring teams of teachers to better engage and support vulnerable students. 

Julie works with teachers to develop pedagogy that supports genuine cultural inclusion and improved outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. 

Pedagogical Leader
Rural Schools

Mary has more than 20 years of experience as a classroom teacher, deputy principal, literacy coach, consultant for schools working on NCCD, and community development in local government.

As a leader in education, she has developed workshops and presented at schools and conferences, facilitated community collaborations, and supported schools in making sustained change. 

Communications Manager

An expert storyteller and communications specialist, Zoë has more than 25 years experience writing news and features for newspapers and magazines in the UK and Australia, including roles as a specialist health writer, court reporter, and columnist. She has successfully adapted these skills in media and communications roles, predominantly in education and health sectors. 


Policy and Advocacy Strategist

James Dunlop, a seasoned policy and advocacy strategist, brings a wealth of experience in tackling systemic challenges. Working collaboratively with civil society, government, and the private sector.

James has led transformative projects on a range of issues, including modern slavery legislation, global labor rights, and advocating for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights. James's expertise lies in creating inclusive, nuanced solutions by ensuring every stakeholder is at the table.

Lola Alexander is a non-Indigenous researcher and project coordinator, who has had the privilege of growing up on Bidjigal and Gadigal land in Sydney.

Lola has an interdisciplinary education in socio-legal studies (USYD), human rights (USYD), and art history and theory (Monash University). Prior to her doctoral research into Indigenous contemporary photographic practice, human rights, and survivance, Lola spent many years working with Indigenous-led, community, and non-for-profit organisations across the fields of education, youth work, health, and social justice in both remote and urban settings.

Lola is passionate about supporting and learning from culturally-safe projects and service provision, community connection, and Indigenous knowledge-sharing.   

Lola is the Project Coordinator for the Culturally Nourishing School Project. 

Our Partners

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