Eight years ago, I took on the role of President for the Australian Literacy Educators' Association I had been asked by several past presidents of ALEA to take on the role around 2001. At that time I declined. I was caring for my aged mum and it would have been difficult to get away and to give the time I knew it would need. Then in 2003,1 was asked again by the same people (Lorraine Wilson, Marie Emmitt, Denise Ryan and Anne McNamara). At this time I was looking for something to challenge me. My mother had died after a long illness and I had a gap in my life to fill. I also respected those women very highly and their support and encouragement gave me the confidence to take on the role and to give it my best shot. It was a great eight years with many challenges and wonderful opportunities.
There have been many momentous occasions for ALEA over these eight years
* Watching the membership numbers grow over the years was a constant aim.
* Seeing ALEA recognised by the Federal Government as a peak association that should be consulted on matters of national importance.
* Working with the ALEA national council members as they developed into a strong committed and highly professional team at state and federal level.
* Presenting the prestigious ALEA awards at national conferences.
* And finally seeing the new interactive knowledge management data base and website come into fruition.
There were many more as really there was never a dull moment!
The biggest literacy challenges for educators in our country at this time?
This is a hard one. The media has always been a major enemy of teachers, and I believe still is. We do not handle the media well, nor try to use it to our advantage.
Another challenge is to make the new national agenda work for us all. While I do not want to see federal control, I also don't want to see states staking their mark to such a degree that we lose the intent behind the national agenda's purpose. …