Jason Kimberley – CEO
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.
Lynn Freebairn – Office Support
Lynn came 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 digital assets for Cool Australia’s teaching resources.
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.
Thea Stinear – Head of Curriculum
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.
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.
Kirsty Costa – Head of Professional Development and Communications
Kirsty Costa is an award-winning educator who has helped hundreds of early childhood services and schools to create quality education programs. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (English), a Bachelor of Teaching and Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. Kirsty was a primary teacher for 10 years in Australia and Japan. She left to become an educational consultant, teacher mentor and then general manager of an environmental education centre.
Kirsty joined Cool Australia to deliver online professional development and deliver keynote addresses to teachers across the country. She loves building the confidence of teachers to connect what they’re teaching to the world inside and outside the classroom. Kirsty also heads up Cool Australia’s Communications Team. She was awarded the 2013 Victorian Environmental and Sustainability Educator of the Year and was trained by Al Gore as a Climate Reality Leader in 2014.
Sam Charlotte – Head of Curriculum (Acting)
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 lead to her working at the Foundation as a facilitator, project manager and resource developer. Sam now heads up Cool Australia’s Curriculum team. 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 – Manager of Digital, Data & IT
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 also currently serves on the Board for the Visual Effects Society and is a member of The Producers Guild of America.
Chris Vella – Curriculum Project 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.