I began my professional career in 1979 as a student nurse at the Repatriation General Hospital. In 1982, I became a qualified nurse. I worked in a variety of settings, and this included working as an educator. I had a community-oriented focus wanting to work with people. I had a dream to work in remote regions of Australia, wanting to understand indigenous culture. I was fortunate to be offered a position at the Queen Victoria Hospital in 1989 to complete my training as a Midwife. It was a year later that I was offered a placement in a remote community in South Australia, where I worked for many years as a remote area nurse. During this time, I taught Health at the local school.
In 1996, I returned to Adelaide, as my own children needed a formal education. I returned to the Repatriation General Hospital, where I worked part time in the ICU whilst I followed my passion for Science by enrolling at Flinders University to complete a bachelor’s degree with a major in Chemistry. My desire to teach became even stronger during this time and so I decided to complete a bachelor’s degree in Education.
In 2005 I started my teaching career at a local high school teaching Mathematics and Science. It was during this time I noted that my own children and many other gifted childrens’ needs were not being met in the regular classroom. I undertook professional development courses on Gifted Education, but my curiosity needed more in-depth study at a post graduate level, so I enrolled in a Master’s degree in Education with a focus on Gifted Education.
I worked for many years in Gifted Education as an Assistant Principal, while becoming increasingly aware that there was much more that needed to be implemented for gifted children. In late 2013, a group made up people passionate about Gifted Education was formed, and regular meetings focused on establishing a specialist school dedicated to the education of gifted students commenced. The concepts and ideas that emerged formed the philosophical basis of Dara School and four years later the doors finally opened to our first group of gifted students.
Throughout the establishment phase of starting Dara School, I have been working as a doctoral student at Flinders University, writing an auto-ethnography thesis, as I believe it is important to tell the story of establishing Australia’s first, full time specialist school for gifted student.