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Our Staff Team




Leanne Potter

Leanne Potter began her career in mainstream education but transferred to Deaf education after 6 years. She started at Mosman Park School for Deaf Children, followed by a stint at Swanbourne SHS, ending up in charge of the Deaf Centre. During that time she also taught English to Deaf adults in a continuing education program, and began a 22 year stretch as a Board Member of the WA Deaf Society. She qualified as an NAATI paraprofessional Auslan/English interpreter and taught on the Auslan interpreters’ course for 8 years. Concurrently Leanne completed a number of years as a Visiting Teacher for the Deaf in the western suburbs, also working in the Catholic and private sectors. During that time Leanne gained her Masters in Education and worked for twelve years part time on the Teacher of the Deaf program, training teachers to become Teachers of the Deaf. She was made a fellow of the University of Melbourne for this work. Leanne established the Access and Equity area at WAIDE in 2007, holding chief responsibility for the oversight of educational interpreters state-wide. She published a journal article on the efficacy of educational interpreters in WA and is well regarded for her knowledge and expertise in this area. She rates taking a group of Deaf students to Scotland, and delivering research papers in Canada and on the east coast of Australia as highlights of her career. That is, until she came to Shenton College Deaf Education Centre in 2013!



Christine Dullard

Photo forthcoming.

Chris has worked for the Department of Education for the past 26 years.  She has worked in the Primary, District High and Senior High School sectors, both in the city and in several country towns. Chris has been the Registrar of Shenton College DEC since it first opened in 2001, and has seen the Centre evolve enormously. She is very excited to see all the innovations put into practice at the Centre for the betterment of the students.  Chris is proud to be part of the SCDEC team providing great opportunities for the Deaf students of this state.




Karen Bontempo (full time)

Dr Karen Bontempo has been teaching at SCDEC since 2010, and has over 26 years experience working with the Deaf community. Her academic qualifications span the disciplines of psychology, linguistics and education. Karen holds a PhD (Linguistics) from Macquarie University, where she is an Honorary Associate of the Linguistics Dept, involved with teaching, research work, and examining Postgraduate and Masters level students. A qualified teacher specialising in LOTE (Language other than English) and ESL teaching, Karen holds two GradDipEds, one in adult education and the other in secondary school teaching. Karen is currently completing a Masters degree in Education at the University of Newcastle. She teaches Auslan students and interpreting students at North Metropolitan TAFE, and annually guest lectures at various universities in addition to her work at SCDEC. Karen is a NAATI accredited professional level Auslan/English interpreter, is the national chairperson of the ASLIA Interpreter Trainers’ Network, is on the national Auslan examiner panel, and served on the NAATI Qualifications and Assessment Advisory Committee for several years. Karen sits on the editorial boards of four international journals, and she has published many journal articles and book chapters in relation to her research interests regarding language, interpreting, and effective pedagogical practices. At SCDEC, Karen was responsible for curriculum leadership surrounding the implementation of Auslan as a LOTE at Shenton College, Belmont City College and Mosman Park Primary School in 2014, a program delivered in partnership with Deaf instructors from the WA Deaf Society. Karen was invited to become a member of the writing team for the national curriculum in Auslan (from Foundation to Year 10) by ACARA in 2015 and she continued to work on this in 2016, as well as developing the Year 11 & 12 syllabus in collaboration with SCSA in WA for Auslan as a WACE subject. Karen won the "WA Premier's Secondary Teacher of the Year" in 2016 at the WA Education Awards for her contribution to public education in WA. In 2018 at Shenton College, Auslan will be delivered to mainstream hearing (and Deaf) students from Years 7 to 12.



Patricia Levitzke-Gray (full time)

Patricia Levitzke-Gray joined the staff of SCDEC in July 2017, after a successful and rewarding 24 year history of employment with the WA Deaf Society in a variety of senior roles in community services, education and interpreting. Patricia provided language consultancy services to SCDEC from 2014 to 2017 in relation to the Auslan program at Shenton College, and has an outstanding track record as an Auslan teacher, working with children, families, adult learners, and organisations. She is a published author, with three book chapters in scholarly volumes on interpreter education, assessment and Deaf history. Patricia holds formal qualifications spanning education, interpreting, and human service disciplines, and she serves on the ASLIA National Interpreter Trainers' Network and the WA Association of the Deaf as a committee member. She hails from a large Deaf family, with over 140 Deaf relatives, and is a 4th generation Deaf person, with rich ties to the Deaf community. She is a nationally renowned Deaf Interpreter, with considerable high-profile experience working at conferences, in the media, and in complex situations with special needs clients, including legal, mental health, and medical settings. She teaches on the Diploma of Interpreting program at North Metropolitan TAFE, and has extensive experience presenting cultural awareness training sessions at universities and in workplaces. Patricia is fluent in multiple signed languages and has won a number of awards for her work. SCDEC is delighted to have her expertise on staff full time in the Auslan program and working across the Deaf school in a variety of capacities in the unique specialist role of Deaf Education Officer.




Teachers and Mentors

Sarah Arland (part time)

Pic forthcoming

Sarah Arland qualified as a Teacher of the Deaf at The University of Melbourne and as a NAATI accredited paraprofessional Auslan/English interpreter after studying at the Royal Melbourne institute of Technology. Sarah has worked as a Teacher of the Deaf at Banksia Secondary College Deaf Unit (Vic), Mosman Park School for Deaf Children, Swanbourne High School Deaf Unit and at Shenton College Deaf Education where she worked for six years when the school first opened in 2001. Sarah has lectured for both the University of Melbourne and Edith Cowan University in their respective Teacher of the Deaf courses. She worked in the role of Sign Language Specialist Teacher at Western Australian Institute for Deaf Education (WAIDE), where she worked with Deaf children and their families in the home and playgroup setting with the aim of developing a strong first language – Auslan. Sarah is passionate about technology and continues to develop technologies in the educational setting. Working with the School for Special Educational Needs - Sensory she worked on developing and implementing innovative technologies into Deaf Education throughout Western Australia. Sarah was excited to return to the Shenton College Deaf Education Centre in 2016, and she takes great pleasure in seeing how the school has developed into the Centre of Excellence it is today.


Claire Blackwell (part time)

Pic forthcoming

Claire joined SCDEC as a relief teacher in 2015 and is now working on staff as a teacher in the Deaf Centre and as a mainstream support teacher. Claire gained her NAATI qualifications as an Auslan interpreter in 1999 and has worked as a community and educational interpreter in Perth and Broome. In 2013, Claire completed her Bachelor of Education and then worked at Cable Beach Primary School before returning to Perth in 2015 where she worked at Mosman Park School for Deaf Children and Shenton College Deaf Education Centre. Claire holds a Masters degree in Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education from the University of Newcastle.

Nishma D'Agostino (full time)

Nishma joined the SCDEC staff team in 2012, and brings a diverse range of experience and skills to her role as a Deaf mentor. Nishma is fluent in Auslan, British Sign Language, and in English, and she holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Social Work from the Buckinghamshire New University in the UK. She worked for a number of years in London as a social worker and in case management in Deaf community organisations and in services supporting Deaf people. Her expertise was further developed during her employment with Vicdeaf in Melbourne for 8 years, during which time she completed Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, and a Diploma of Auslan (one unit remaining), piquing her interest in working in the education sector. Shortly after moving to Western Australia, Nishma was offered a position at SCDEC, where she primarily provides support to students with special developmental needs and particular learning challenges. Her background in teaching independent living skills and in assessing individual needs, identifying behavioural concerns, and in developing individualised programs to enhance the social and emotional growth of young people, have fast proven to be an asset at SCDEC. Nishma successfully completed a Diploma of Interpreting at Central Institute of Technology in 2015, and has NAATI recognition as a Deaf Interpreter.


Josie Hodgetts (part time)

Josie is a native user of Auslan with over 18 years experience working in the Deaf community in various fields ranging from project development work, children’s programs, the production of accessible resources and media, human services, and in education. She is an experienced Deaf Interpreter with ASLIA/NABS certification, and is fluent in ASL and International Sign. She has worked extensively as a Deaf Interpreter, including at several conference events. Josie was recruited into an Honours program at Gallaudet University in Washington DC, USA, and holds TAFE qualifications in tourism and in event management, as well as in Auslan teaching. In 2005, Josie won an international Deaf film-maker award, and she is highly conversant with computer editing software, and a range of information and communication technologies. Josie has delivered lectures and presentations at various workplaces, universities, and at national and international conferences. With her versatile background and diverse skills, Josie is an accomplished presenter, consultant, mentor and lecturer, and she works on a casual basis for the Central Institute of Technology and the WA Deaf Society, as well as working full time at the SCDEC. Josie was one of the first Deaf Interpreters recognised by NAATI in a formal national accreditation process in 2013. Josie won the Department of Education (WA) Support Staff Member of the Year Award for 2013, and SCDEC is very proud of her achievements.


Billy Quick (part time)

Billy holds a Diploma of Auslan Teaching from Central TAFE, where he was also employed for six years teaching Auslan to hearing mature-aged students. After moving to Sydney, Billy worked for four years as a member of an English to Auslan translation team, producing a number of high quality Auslan DVDs as part of a large-scale translation project.  Billy returned to Perth and took up a position at SCDEC in 2009. In addition to his current work with SCDEC, Billy has worked in various Perth metropolitan schools as a Deaf role model/mentor and as an Auslan teacher.  As a qualified cabinet-maker, Billy can relate well to students undertaking vocational study and life skills programs, as they prepare to enter apprenticeships or the workforce.  With a range of interests including history, cinema and travel, Billy is able to engage students in varied discussions, enhancing students’ Auslan skills through a subject content focus. In 2018, Billy is involved in supporting students in the middle and senior school Deaf Centres, and in teaching Auslan to students in the mainstream Auslan program.


Sandra Strandsjo (part time)

Sandra originally worked as a qualified teacher of the Deaf at a Swedish Deaf school for 8 years, teaching Deaf senior school students. In this role she also supervised trainee teachers who were studying to become teachers of the Deaf. Sandra is multilingual, as a fluent speaker of English, Swedish and Swedish Sign Language and now also Auslan. Sandra is a CODA and has been involved in the deafness sector all her life. During her studies to become a teacher, she worked at the Swedish Deaf Society Centre as a freelance interpreter. Sandra has a great interest in travelling and has visited many Deaf schools around the world. She has been working at SCDEC since 2011. In 2018, Sandra is working two days per week in the Senior Deaf Centre.



Mari Karvinen (part time)

Mari has been a qualified teacher of the Deaf for 18 years. She completed a postgraduate degree specialising in Deaf education with the University of Melbourne. Prior to becoming a teacher of the Deaf, Mari was a SENCO (Special Education Needs Coordinator) in London for a number of years and in that role she was responsible for implementing and monitoring schools’ Individual Education Planning systems. Mari originally trained as an English and ESL specialist teacher in NSW and has been involved in secondary education for 23 years. In 2018, Mari is providing support to fully mainstreamed deaf students.



Diane Vosganoff (full time)

Diane graduated with a Science Degree and Teaching Diploma from Murdoch University in 1988 and commenced her teaching career in the sunny town of Jurien Bay.  She then returned to Perth as a secondary science teacher for a further 17 years at Gosnells SHS, Seton Catholic College and Thornlie SHS.  In 2004, Diane began a journey into the Deaf education arena when she initially completed Auslan Certificate II at TAFE.  Next she embarked on a Post Graduate Diploma in Deaf Education Studies through the University of Melbourne.  In 2011 Diane conducted a research project and completed her “Masters in Education of Hearing Impaired”. Her work was later published in Deafness and Education International. In 2007, Diane commenced teaching Deaf students fulltime.  She recently returned to Shenton College Deaf Education Centre after completing 5 years as a Visiting Teacher for the Deaf in and around the metropolitan area where she worked in both public and private schools with students ranging from 4 years old to 17 years old.  In her role as a Visiting Teacher, she also guest lectured on occasion at Curtin University and the University of Western Australia. In addition, Diane has presented several workshops for mainstream teachers working with Deaf students in a range of schools and at the Western Australian Institute for Deaf Education (WAIDE). Diane obtained a Diploma of Interpreting and NAATI accreditation in 2015 and works on a casual basis as an interpreter outside of school hours.


Rae Walker (full time)
Rae was born hearing and began her 29 year career in education teaching Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics in mainstream high schools and universities. She has taught in private and government sectors, in both metropolitan and remote high schools.  At Murdoch University she lectured Physics and Mathematics in pre-admission courses and lectured and tutored undergraduate students in the Education faculty  at  Notre Dame, and was responsible for co-ordinating and implementing the following units; Science Teaching Methodology, Human Body Systems and Environmental Science. She also tutored the Internship and Introduction to Curriculum Framework courses for secondary teaching undergraduates. Rae has a Bachelor of Education (Physics/Chemistry major and Mathematics minor) and a Post Graduate Degree in Human Resource Management. After becoming deaf, Rae completed a Diploma of Auslan in 2015, enabling her to continue her educational career with a renewed focus on Deaf education. She is currently undertaking a Master of Special Education (Deaf and hard of hearing specialisation) with the University of Newcastle. At Shenton College DEC, Rae offers support to deaf and hard of hearing students and their mainstream teachers, in the form of specialised academic tuition in science and mathematics, using a bilingual and bicultural approach to education.



Linda Beales (part time)

Linda gained her NAATI paraprofessional interpreter accreditation in 2004 after completing her Diploma of Auslan in 2003. Linda has worked in secondary educational settings, employed by SCDEC since 2004. She won the ASLIA (WA) Interpreter of the Year (Education - Secondary) award in 2006, and continues to enjoy her time in this environment. She also works as a community interpreter and has experience in medical, employment, mental health and performance interpreting, as well as tertiary settings. With plans in the future to attain her NAATI Professional level interpreter accreditation, Linda one day hopes to interpret for some of Australia’s big names in country music.

Bonnie Bellenzier (part time)

Bonnie gained NAATI paraprofessional interpreter accreditation in 2006. Prior to achieving this, she completed a Diploma of Auslan in 2005. Bonnie has worked as an interpreter in educational settings since that time, and in 2010 she won the ASLIA WA Educational Interpreter of the Year award for her efforts. In 2013 she was nominated once again for her work. Bonnie also works as a community interpreter in an array of settings including employment, medical, and tertiary environments. Bonnie recently completed a Bachelor of Social Work at Curtin University.

Grace Busing (full time)

Grace is a native Auslan user having grown up within the Deaf community, and is accredited by NAATI at the paraprofessional level. She has been working in the Deaf community since 2008, interpreting full-time at Shenton College Deaf Education Centre and in the Deaf community on a casual basis. Grace has interpreting experience in a range of settings such as tertiary education, medical, mental health, employment and sport. Recently Grace has expanded her skill set by interpreting theatre and musical events such as Disney on Ice. She also completed the Foundations of Theatre Interpreting workshop with Auslan Stage Left in 2016. Grace aims to further her skills by becoming a NAATI professional level interpreter in the near future.


Margy Cooper (full time)

Margy is employed at SCDEC as an Auslan interpreter and has been working as an educational interpreter since 2008. Margy holds NAATI accreditation at paraprofessional level, and completed a Diploma of Interpreting at CIT. She is also a qualified note taker and works in the Captioning Centre, which operates from the SCDEC. Prior to working in Deaf education, from 1998 – 2007 she worked as a level three special needs education assistant, supporting children with disabilities such as autism. It was during this time she started to study Auslan, leading to her more recent work in the deafness sector. One of Margy’s interests is supporting students undertaking work experience programs or studying at TAFE whilst at school, so she has taken on a key administrative role in organising VET arrangements for senior students in the Deaf Centre.


Chelsea Curtis (full time)

Bio and pic forthcoming


Brendan Graham (full time)

Brendon completed a Diploma of Interpreting (Auslan/English) at North Metropolitan TAFE, and received NAATI accreditation as a Paraprofessional interpreter in 2016. He has worked as a relief interpreter at Belmont City College  and started full time at Shenton College DEC in 2017. He has a passion for working in Deaf education and a belief that it is the right of all students to receive the best education possible.


Rachel Gray (full time)

Bio and pic forthcoming


Paula Herzog (full time)

Bio and pic forthcoming


Ashley Jahn (full time)

Bio and pic forthcoming


Julie Lamb (full time)

Bio and pic forthcoming

Nichola Meredith (part time)

Niki started at SCDEC in 2008 and is a NAATI accredited paraprofessional level interpreter. She completed the Diploma of Auslan at Kangan Batman TAFE in Melbourne, and the Diploma of Interpreting at Central Institute of Technology in Perth. Niki has previously served a term as a committee member of the WA state branch of ASLIA and she regularly works as a community interpreter outside of school hours. Niki enjoys attending PD events and extending her skills through professional learning opportunities.


Jane Murphy (part time)

Jane is employed at SCDEC as an interpreter. She gained NAATI accreditation at a paraprofessional level and has worked as an interpreter and notetaker at SCDEC since 2004.


Jade O'Brien (full time)

Bio and pic forthcoming


Tahlicia Osei Poku (full time)

Bio and pic forthcoming


Kieta Philp (full time) - Team Coordinator

Kieta has been interpreting on a full-time basis in secondary education for the past 9 years. She holds a Diploma of Interpreting and a Diploma of Auslan from Central TAFE and is accredited by NAATI at the paraprofessional level. In addition, she undertakes casual community interpreting work. Community interpreting and volunteer interpreting enhances her preparation strategies, and skill development. In 2013 Kieta was nominated for the ASLIA "Interpreter of the Year" award in the Interpreter Advocate category. Kieta has travelled extensively, providing her with experiences and knowledge of other cultures and races. Kieta is also an outdoors enthusiast, which provides her with a range of skills suited to extra curricular activities, such as school camps. On a number of occasions she has undertaken the highly physical challenge of the 19.7km Rottnest Channel Ocean Swim, an extremely competitive event, which requires organisation, motivation and dedication, all of which also shine through in her professional life.


Danielle Pritchard (full time)

Danielle is a NAATI qualified paraprofessional interpreter who completed her Diploma of Interpreting at Perth Central Institute of Technology after completing her Diploma of Auslan. She has been working in a secondary education setting for 6 years now in a range of roles. Danielle holds a Certificate IV in Hospitality and makes use of these skills while working in a work experience setting with students. She regularly attends professional development opportunities and workshops to enhance her interpreting skills. She is an avid theatre enthusiast and goes to watch her peers interpret theatre shows as often as possible.


Clair Shreeve (full time)

Clair joined the SCDEC in a note-taking and interpreting role in mid-2014. She holds NAATI accreditation at Paraprofessional level. From February 2008 to May 2014, Clair worked at the WA Institute for Deaf Education (WAIDE). Her main role was as a Mentor, supporting Educational Interpreters in mainstream settings. Clair is an ASLIA member and has been so for the for the past 11 years. Clair held an ASLIA committee member position for 3 years; has been proactive in organising the ASLIA Awards event in WA; and she currently sits on the NAATI Regional Advisory Committee representing Auslan interpreters working in education settings.


Aleisha Sheward (full time)

Bio and pic forthcoming


Hayley (full time)

Shenton College DEC has employed Hayley since 2013 as an educational interpreter and notetaker. She obtained her Diploma of Interpreting and Diploma of Auslan from Perth Central Institute of Technology. Hayley holds NAATI accreditation at the paraprofessional level, and looks forward to continuing her interpreting studies in the future.


Trish Townsend (part time)

Bio and pic forthcoming


Mel T (full time)

Mel joins the SCDEC interpreting team in 2015 after working for the past 9 years in a primary school setting. Mel holds a Diploma of Auslan (2005) and studied for her Diploma of Interpreting at Central Institute of Technonlogy in 2009. In addition to working in education, Mel has undertaken some voluntary work in the area of performance interpreting to enhance her interpreting skills.


Jacqui White (part time)

Jacqui started working at SCDEC in 2002 and gained her paraprofessional interpreter NAATI accreditation and her Diploma of Interpreting in 2004. She trained further, as a notetaker, in 2005. In 2005, Jacqui was nominated for the ASLIA (WA) Interpreter of the Year awards in the "Educational Interpreter" category. As well as her work at SCDEC, Jacqui does community interpreting in the healthcare field, and has also worked as an interpreter in the tertiary education sector.

Pic forthcoming.


Notetakers and Captioners


Rosanne Bailey (full time)

Rosanne commenced working at SCDEC as a notetaker in 2013.  She is married with three boys and has a 32-year history in the banking industry.  Rosanne holds a Diploma of Auslan and studied for her Diploma of Interpreting at Central Institute of Technology.  She has many Deaf friends and loves being part of the Deaf Community.



Elise Crowley (part time across SCDEC and Sensory - based at SCDEC)

Bio and pic forthcoming


Tania Dudley (full time)

Tania has been a notetaker at SCDEC since 2005. In that time she has supported deaf and hard of hearing students in mainstream classes, providing them with quality notes that assist in their achievement of learning outcomes.  Tania is responsible for the training of new staff members and interpreters on how to note-take. On a number of occasions Tania has provided professional development to other Educational Assistants drawn from schools based throughout WA. Tania has studied up to Certificate III in Auslan at Central TAFE.


Karen Dunmow (full time)

Karen commenced work as a notetaker at SCDEC in February 2012. Karen has worked as an Educational Assistant in both primary schools and high schools with special needs students since 2001, obtaining Certificate III and Certificate IV qualifications in this field of work. Prior to working in education, Karen qualified as a Chef, and has owned and operated several business ventures.

Lisa June (full time)

Lisa is employed full time at SCDEC as a Captioning Officer.  For the past 7 years she has been responsible for all captioned media requirements at Shenton College, which also includes all imperative obligations for the specialised centre. She holds Certificates II and III in Auslan from Central TAFE and Certificate III in Teacher Assistant from West Coast TAFE. Prior to her captioning work, Lisa was employed for 2 years as an educational notetaker, obtaining a Certificate in Notetaking from Central TAFE. She has previously shared her notetaking skills and experiences in formal training presentations to colleagues in the field.


Bianca (full time)

Bianca has been a notetaker at SCDEC since 2013. She has undertaken studies with the RIDBC Renwick Centre, participating in professional development for Education Assistants working with Deaf and hard of hearing students and is completing an online unit in relation to her role as a notetaker at SCDEC. Prior to working at SCDEC, Bianca spent over a year living and volunteering in Japan, which she loved.


Sylvie Martino (full time)

Sylvie started work in Deaf education at Cottesloe in 1976 as a teacher assistant, tutoring deaf students. She then worked at John Forrest Secondary College in the Deaf Unit for 16 years. Sylvie is employed at Shenton College as a notetaker. Sylvie has note taking certificates 1 and 2 and has also studied Auslan 1 and 2, and Deaf cultural studies. Education has been her passion for many years and she is thrilled to be part of the Shenton team.