Jason Kimberley – Managing Director
Cool Australia founder Jason Kimberley has a background as a retailer, builder and restaurateur. Jason is also a photographer and adventurer with a passion for life and nature. After returning home from an expedition to Antarctica in 2005 Jason set about writing a book about his adventures. It was during the research for this project that Jason became aware of the dreadful job that we are doing as stewards of our planet. Jason recognised the need to provide our next generations with relevant and engaging information about how our world works and what we risk with ‘business as usual’. Our education system was identified as the most important and effective way for connecting with kids and identified educators as the best ‘voice’ for Cool Australia. In August 2008, Cool Australia launched. Jason is increasing the scale of Cool Australia’s operations to reach more schools; teachers and students.
Thea Stinear – General Manager
Thea began her teaching career as a teacher of Science and Mathematics, as well as the leadership role of Sustainability Coordinator. Her proudest moment in teaching was when her Green Team won The City of Monash Worlds Environment Day Award. In 2010 Thea was awarded the Earthwatch scholarship, a life-changing experience that allowed her to witness first-hand the effects of climate change. Thea’s passion for education led her to join the Cool Australia team. She loves helping teachers become creators of exceptional learning, inspiring their students to make positive changes in their lives. Thea was a fellow at the Centre for Sustainability Leadership and is completing a Masters of Instructional Leadership at the Graduate School of Education at Melbourne University. For her dedication and work in education, Thea was a finalist in the NIETA Inspirational Teaching Awards 2011 and a finalist for the Victorian Department of Education’s Inspiration Teacher of the Year Award 2012.
Krista Nisi – Head Writer
Krista turned her love of nature into a degree in Biodiversity, Conservation and Park Management from the University of South Australia, followed by a Masters in Environment (Environmental Education) from the University of Melbourne. Krista now works on the development of the Cool Australia curriculum resources, and is busy creating the lessons and content for teachers across the country. She brings with her over 15 years of experience working on sustainability education in the not-for-profit, university and local government sectors.
Lynn Freebairn – Professional Development Administration
Lynn comes from a photographic background and has worked with Jason since 2005. She has seen the transition from photographic exhibitions and publishing to the development of Cool Australia’s online educational resources. Having worked on many aspects of the business, Lynn currently creates images for the Cool Australia website and oversees the administration of Cool Australia’s Professional Development Courses.
Matt – Head of Digital, Data and IT
Matt studied Media and Communications/Journalism at Deakin University. Since joining the Cool Australia team, Matt’s role has changed vastly and he now leads the digital department. Matt combines his passion for the great outdoors and his interest in big data to make the world a better place.
Sam Charlotte – Project Lead/Writer
Sam was inspired to become an English teacher after spending a year on student exchange in Thailand in high school. She gained degrees in Arts and Secondary Education and started her career teaching English and Humanities for Years 7-12. While in the role of Year 10 Coordinator, Sam attended a student employment program run by the Foundation for Young Australians. She mentioned to one of the facilitators that she secretly wanted their job – a confession that led to her working at the Foundation as a facilitator, project manager and resource developer. She is a firm believer in the transformative power of education, and works hard on the collaborative development of innovative and practical resources for teachers to engage and inspire students.
Hannah Edwards – Digital, Data & IT Manager
Hannah studied Environmental Engineering at RMIT Melbourne, inspired by a love of the land and a yearning for more sustainable practices in agriculture. She joined Cool Australia initially to assist with Enviroweek and now works with the digital department to ensure that Cool Australia’s teaching resources are the best digital offering for all teachers and educators. Hannah has a passion for data, learning and encouraging others to stop saying, “I’m bad at maths”.
Sarah Machado – Office Manager
Sarah brings years of hands-on experience in production and organisation to the Cool Australia team. Originally from France, Sarah came to Australia to pursue a career in advertising, film and television production. Her attention to detail and creative flair has been honed on projects large and small; from feature films through to live events, from photo shoots to television commercials and more. Sarah ensures that everything is running smoothly at Cool Australia HQ.
Danielle Conroy – Head of Production
Danielle brings a wealth of general management, production and operational experience to the Cool Australia team. She began her career as a Production Manager and 1st Assistant Director in the film and television industry in Australia. Danielle then spent 20 years in the United States, moving from Production/Operations Manager to Director/General Manager roles within the entertainment industry in New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles at places like Sony Pictures, Turner Broadcasting and The Third Floor Visualization Studio.
Returning to Australia, Danielle held general manager and consulting roles with film and creative studios in Melbourne. At Cool Australia, Danielle applies her extensive business management, operational, leadership and strategic planning skills to ensure Cool Australia can care for its partnerships, expand its projects and maximise its support for teachers around Australia. Danielle is also a long time member of The Producers Guild of America.
Chris Vella – Education Content Manager
Whether it is adding social media to his classroom or doing project-based learning in outdoor settings, Chris has always loved getting creative with education, and working with others to do the same in their practices. Chris completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts, before gaining a degree in Secondary Education. After teaching in a classroom for a while, he discovered NSW’s Environmental Education Centres (EEC). His work in various EECs led Chris to extend his education training into the field of Geography. Chris then worked at Western Sydney University, connecting students to careers in science and health. After years of fanboying all things Cool Australia, Chris joined the Cool Australia crew as a Curriculum Project Manager. His favourite part of his role at Cool Australia is being able to create learning resources that allow students to engage in authentic learning experiences.
Sandra Edmunds – Communications Manager
Sandra comes from a background in journalism and worked as a reporter and sub-editor at newspapers and magazines for more than 10 years. After studying Public Relations at Deakin University, she worked in communications for local government, marketing and publicity in the book industry, and copywriting for a digital agency. Sandra is now part of Cool Australia’s communications and marketing team. She is passionate about the environment and has written articles, blogs and case studies for ebooks on sustainable initiatives.
Gabrielle Munro – Content Project Lead
Gabe is an experienced secondary teacher who is passionate about experiential learning (learn by doing/experiencing) as well as professional development. She has completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in 20th century history and Australian studies at Deakin University as well as a Diploma of Education and Masters in Education (curriculum, pedagogy and assessment) at the University of Melbourne.
Gabe has worked as a Year 7-11 humanities teacher and most recently as a lecturer/tutor at the Australian Catholic University where she received “Executive Dean’s Commendation – Excellence in Teaching” in 2017. Gabe firmly believes that learning is continuous and occurs in all environments. She aims to encourage and develop active global citizens who are challenged to inquire, collaborate and cooperate.
Mel Rowland – Education Content Writer
Mel is an experienced primary teacher who loves mentoring and coaching other teachers as well as developing school curriculum/programs. Her roles include being a classroom teacher for Foundation to Year 4 level as well as a casual relief teacher across all primary year levels, Japanese, music, art and physical education. She constantly develops her own practice so she can adapt and grow to suit the ever-changing context of education. Mel is passionate about ensuring that her teaching reflects quality practice and is a strong believer in differentiating curriculum content to meet all students at their point of need. Since starting with Cool Australia, Mel has created high-quality learning resources across a range of subject areas for all primary year levels as well as professional development courses for primary teachers.