The Board

Jenny Boden (Secretary) 

Speech and Drama has always been a big part of Jenny’s life. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Natal in South Africa, majoring in Speech and Drama and English. She then completed a Higher Diploma of Education. Jenny has over 25 years of teaching experience in South Africa, Australia and Guam, USA. She has taught Speech and Drama and English to all grade levels, directed a number of full-scale productions and coached students for Eisteddfods in South Africa and Australia, and the National Forensic League in the USA. Most recently Jenny has taught English as a second language to adults. She is also a qualified Oracy Australia Assessor.

Marian Cockcroft (Treasurer)

Marian is a Chartered Accountant (SA) and qualified tax agent with a Bachelor of Accounting and Bachelor of Commerce. She has run her own accounting and tax practice in Perth for the last 14 years. Marian completed her articles with Deloitte firm of international accountants and then worked as the head office accountant for Nampak and Tiger Foods, both listed companies in South Africa. Marian has acted as treasurer for a number of not-for-profit organisations such as Save the Children and the Hale School rugby club.

Jane Gibbs (Chair)

Jane is committed to enhancing effective oral communication, particularly in young people.  With this in mind, after a professional career as a plant scientist both in university positions and in the commercial sector, Jane pursued her passion for the spoken word, and in 2018 received a Diploma in Performance and Drama (Teacher) from the AMEB, for which she was awarded the 2018 AMEB Award for Excellence in Speech and Drama (Drama and Performance) and the Speech and Drama Teachers Association WA Award as Best Drama and Performance Diploma candidate.  Jane has a doctorate from The University of Western Australia, and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She has experience as a director on the boards of several private plant science companies.  She is a qualified Oracy Assessor and a member of the Council of the Speech and Drama Teachers Association WA. She narrates audiobooks for Visability, WA and audio-describes theatrical works for the Perth Theatre Trust.

Jillian Gilbertson

Jillian has taught at Melville Primary School since 2016 developing programs that promote literacy and oral language skills for primary-aged students. In her teaching she has learnt how to differentiate between various year groups, learning styles and levels of ability when it comes to speaking and performing. Jillian’s role at Melville is also to support staff in teaching and assessing speaking and listening skills. Since 2018, she has devised oral language scope and sequences and rubrics according to the SCSA English curriculum and has run various PLs for staff. Jillian is passionate about her role as an Oracy assessor and what Oracy has to offer students in today’s climate. She looks forward to providing valuable insight from a mainstream drama specialist’s point of view and a school that considers oral language as a major priority.

Jess McCarthy

Jess has over 15 years’ experience in brand, marketing and communications and loves making ideas happen. She holds a Masters in Human Rights and qualifications in marketing, brand design and photography. She is passionate about digitising businesses and harnessing emerging technologies. Jess is currently the Growth Manager for an international tech start-up with a focus on brand, user experience and strategic growth. Outside of the office she has a small dog photography business, Portraits for Dogs, and is on a quest to find the best Australian Shiraz.  

Deb Mitchell (Vice Chair)

Deb was President of the Speech & Drama Teachers’ Association of Western Australia from 2016 – 2021. She has also been a member of the Association’s Council and active member for 35 years. She is currently SDTAWA’s WAAPA Liaison Officer, The Chair of the Perth Speech and Drama Festival Committee and is a member of the A.M.E.B.’s Advisory Board as SDTAWA’s representative. Deb is a very experienced teacher of Speech and Drama within the school system and the corporate sector – her career spans 37 years. Deb is also a State Examiner with the A.M.E.B. and has adjudicated at various Speech and Drama Festivals, Speak Up/Speakers Challenge Public Speaking Competitions and Eisteddfods. She holds a BA (Training & Development) and Speech & Drama Teacher qualifications – A.S.D.A. Speech and Drama. These qualifications and experiences have provided a solid foundation upon which Deb has developed a varied and unique skill set that has helped her fill a diverse range of roles in her working life. Deb is passionate about providing students and adults with communication and drama skills to develop confidence, resilience and competence within a range of performance settings.

Gemma Serjeant

Gemma’s interest for speech and drama first started when she watched her sister compete in the Perth Speech and Drama Festival. Gemma begged her parents to start speech and drama lessons and from the age of 7 to 17, Gemma was an active speech and drama student participating in festivals, speech and drama examinations, school plays and recipient of the Drama Prize in both Year 11 and Year 12 at St Marys Anglican Girls School. Gemma obtained her Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English, and Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Human Resources, Marketing and Management at the University of Western Australia. Since graduating, Gemma mentors students through University of Western Australia and has worked for ten years as a Human Resources generalist at an energy company in Perth.

Christine Lovering

Christine Lovering has had many years teaching experience in early childhood, primary, secondary, and tertiary education, in both government and private sectors, in the UK and Australia. After a distinguished career with the Department of Education WA, as a Level 3 Teacher, Christine joined Edith Cowan University as an Arts Lecturer and worked for 14 years as a coordinator of undergraduate and postgraduate units in dance, drama, media arts and integrated arts. She is an Associate of Trinity College, London, and managed her own private Speech and Drama practice. Christine has been actively involved in professional association committees. In 2019, she was awarded a DramaWest honorary life membership award for her services to the drama community, and she has served on the Speech and Drama Teachers’ Association of WA committee. Christine is an assessor for Oracy Australia and an examiner in Speech and Drama for the Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB). Christine is an advocate for the promotion of quality teaching and learning in the Arts and the resultant benefits, these include the development of self-confidence and sound communication skills. Currently, she is involved in two research projects: 1) With Telethon Kids Institute to investigate the building of Social and Emotional Wellbeing through the Arts; 2) With ECU to reinforce Healthway messaging to improve mental health, increase physical
activity and healthy eating through arts play-based experiences for young children and families in Western Australian Playgroups.