Council structure


Council structure

Council structure

Council structure

The Rural and Remote Education Advisory Council (RREAC) comprises:

  • a Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson (Members of Parliament)
  • representatives from community and consumer groups
  • representatives from funder and provider groups.

The Minister appoints members. Cabinet endorses ministerial appointments.

Diagram​ of current membership.


Aboriginal education and training interests

Position to be filled

Susanne Marie Warr*
Country Women’s Association of WA Inc

Susanne represents Country Women’s Association of WA and was delighted to join RREAC- Rural and Remote Education Advisory Council. She has spent most of her life in the country having grown up in the small country town of Coorow as a youngster. She has taught in the Midwest in both Primary and Secondary education since 1986. She has held various teaching roles namely Science and Visual Arts. Home Economics and IT.

Susanne is married to a three-generation farmer and has lived in the progressive farming community of Yuna for the past 28 years. Her husband and herself are fortunate that their four children have been able to experience growing up in a rural setting. They’ve educated them within the very proactive small primary country school at Yuna and provided the opportunity to attend boarding school in the city. Fortunately, each of their children have furthered their education through university and TAFE. Two have returned to the country.

Susanne has been involved in many community groups including having been a member of Agribusiness Industry Advisory Committee, P & C, Yuna CWA branch, Midwest ICPA, Chapman Valley Agricultural Society, Monsignor Hawes Heritage Inc and her local parish church and many sporting groups. Her hobbies include travel, fitness, nutritious and healthy eating, growing her own veggies, and craft.

She’s passionate and aspires to making a difference to young people’s lives. It’s her vision to see all young people be given the opportunity to engage in their interests and peruse their field of education without being disadvantaged because of isolation from the city networks. She knows with support from strong communities, government funding and investment all young individuals can continue to live in country areas and have their needs met.

Kay Gerard
Food, Fibre and Timber Industries Training Council (WA) Inc

Kay is CEO of the Food, Fibre and Timber Industries Training Council.  As a not-for-profit incorporated body, the purpose of the Food, Fibre and Timber Industries Training Council is to provide advice to Government on behalf of industry, and ensure all nationally recognised training programs and packages reflect the current and future needs within the industries.

Her main role is to ensure that the objectives of the Training Council are met and provide strategic advice on the current and future training needs of the industries to the Minister for Training and Workforce Development through the State Training Board and the Department of Training and Workforce Development

Kay has over 23 years’ experience in the Vocational Education & Training sector, both in Western Australia and Queensland. Having spent several years in Regional WA, Kay has assisted various industries to develop training for their workforce.

With a passion for regional development and small businesses, Kay was a past President of the Karratha and Districts Chamber of Commerce and also a board member of the Kalgoorlie Boulder Chamber of Commerce. 


Naomi Obst*
Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association (WA) Inc (Nominee)

Naomi was raised as a child on a farming property in Morawa, Western Australia attending the local school by bus every day. Upon reaching high school age Naomi made the transition to a big city boarding school for years 8-12. At the end of year 12 Naomi was awarded a Rotary Youth Scholarship to Canada where she attended year 13, travelling extensively through Canada and the USA. 

Upon return to Australia Naomi enrolled at University and completed a Bachelor of Arts in Education. To support her studies Naomi worked as a CBH grain sampler and taught and supervised vac swim classes. 

Naomi's first teaching posting was to Dongara OHS in 1994 as a phys-ed teacher from years K-10. Naomi later moved into the classroom. Since marrying Naomi has taught at Mingenew Primary School across all year levels as well as owning and operating two school bus runs, which have now been sold. Naomi now does the odd day of relief when time permits.

Once a very active community member of country sport, both playing and in administration, Naomi and her husband now enjoy any spare time to travel to Perth to visit their three sons as they complete their schooling at Uni and boarding school in Perth. 

Based on their farm in Mingenew they produce wheat, lupins, canola, barley oats and hay as well as a Dorper lambs for the domestic market. Naomi takes a very active role in the managing, administration and day to day running of the business. 

Naomi is a current member of ICPA and holds the position of Midwest Branch secretary. She was elected in 2019 as a State Councillor to ICPAWA and holds the Rural and Remote Education portfolio. 

Naomi is passionate about doing all we can as a community to provide rural and remote students with an opportunity to learn no matter where they may call home. 

Regional Development Council

Position to be filled

Dr Lorraine Hammond*
Edith Cowan University

Dr Lorraine Hammond AM is an Associate Professor from the School of Education at Edith Cowan University where she lecturers in undergraduate and post graduate programs. Her research interests include high impact instruction, literacy based learning difficulties and instructional coaching.

Currently, Lorraine divides her time between the WA Department of Education Kimberley Schools Project and research on literacy based learning difficulties with teacher in South Australia and ACT.  Lorraine is also conducting research on the impact of instructional coaching to support schools to take up explicit instruction in schools in regional and metropolitan WA, and across Australia. 

Lorraine is the President of Learning Difficulties Australia and the Chair, Deputy Chair and a Board Member of three high performing primary schools and one Perth high school.

Lorraine was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to investigate literacy based learning difficulties in 2003 and in 2010 was the winner of the Mona Tobias award for excellence for her support of schools preventing literacy based learning difficulties.  

In 2016 Lorraine was recognised by the Australian Government with a National University Teaching Excellence Award and in 2017 by the Australian Council of Educational Leadership with an Educational Leadership Award for her work in schools. In 2019 Lorraine received an Order of Australia for her service to higher education and the community.

Lorraine considers herself a practical academic and enjoys nothing more than working directly with teachers and students in classrooms.

Hugh Gallagher
Regional Chambers of Commerce and Industry of WA

Hugh represents the interests of the regional business community via the Regional Chambers of Commerce & Industry Western Australia, an organisation he is a founding and Honorary Life Member of. He recently retired after 27 years as Chief Executive Officer of the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Chamber of Commerce & Industry Inc. Life Membership of that organisation was received when that era was complete. Retirement opened other doors with casual business consultancy periodically on his agenda.

Community engagement continues to be a part of life that he enjoys. Currently he is chairman of the Eastern Goldfields College School Council and has the same role at the Eastern Goldfields College Education Support Centre.

He is Chairman of the Goldfields Community Legal Centre, Life Member of the Eastern Goldfields Cricket Association (current commissioner & umpire), Life Member of the Goldfields Football League and committee member of the Goldfields Sports Development Network. Prior to moving to Kalgoorlie – Boulder he was awarded Life Membership of the Kalamunda Junior Football Club. Golf is high on the list of his priorities these days. 

Hugh believes networks make a positive contribution to sound decision making. He considers RCCIWA role within the RREAC network can assist in connecting education to the regional business community hence most worthwhile.    

WA Council of State School Organisations Inc

Position to be filled

Catholic School Parents WA

Position to be filled

WA Farmers Federation Inc

Position to be filled

Christopher Mitchell
WA Local Government Association

Chris Mitchell is the Executive Officer of Regional Development Australia – Kimberley, (held for nine years) and has lived in the Kimberley region of Western Australia for over 33 years and knows the region well. He is passionate about regional development opportunities that benefit the Kimberley and the north of Australia.  He is very active in the community through many organizations and committees.

A serving Shire Councilor for 25 years with the Shire of Broome.

He has a strong interest in Aquaculture development. Other interests are around Emergency Management, Health, Education, Agriculture and pastoral diversification, Tourism, and innovative opportunities that can develop the north.

A member of the Broome District Health Advisory Council, he also holds several WA Local Government Association positions as a State representative on a number of Emergency Management committees.

Paul Bridge

Paul has 26 years of experience in education as a teacher, school leader and area director in rural and remote communities. In 2014, he undertook a Churchill Fellowship study after his first-hand experiences with young Aboriginal boys aged 12-15 that were disengaging from the schooling process. Paul has been a State School Teachers’ Union of WA member since 1989 and is currently the senior vice president.

His commitment to the union has seen Paul undertake roles as an ATSI member on Executive, and the WA ATSI member of the Australian Education Union Yalukit Yulendj Committee. As an Aboriginal educator, he is aware of the critical challenges facing public schools and Indigenous students in rural and remote community schools and has been involved in projects liaising with Aboriginal communities, government agencies, universities and community bodies.

Kym Benson*
Association of Independent Schools of WA


Tony Curry
Catholic Education Western Australia

Tony currently holds the title of Director, Leadership & Employee Services at Catholic Education Western Australia, a position he has held since the beginning of 2014.  The Director, Leadership & Employee Services role involves overseeing school improvement, leadership, psychology, payroll, employment relations and child-safe services for the staff of the 164 Catholic schools throughout Western Australia. Tony is a published author of numerous education papers and possesses qualifications in the field of Education which include Doctor of Education, Master of Education, Master of Educational Administration, and Master of Religious Education. 

Immediately prior to his current appointment as Director, Leadership & Employee Services Tony was the Principal at Mercy College for over ten years, during which time the college consolidated to a school of over 1600 Kindergarten – Year Twelve students.  He also has regional and metropolitan Principal experience at Our Lady of Grace School (North Beach), St Joseph’s School (Boulder) and St Joseph’s School (Mingenew).  Prior to these principalships, Tony worked as a primary teacher. 

Dr Ross Kelly
Department of Training and Workforce Development

Ross has held a range of Senior and Executive positions in research, consulting, planning and policy roles, including leading/undertaking workforce related research, strategic workforce planning, training needs analysis, workforce modelling, system performance monitoring, and program evaluation.

Ross is interested in the use of evidence in policy evaluation and development and has published widely on labour economics, socioeconomic disadvantage, and education funding. Ross’ doctoral thesis examines the impact of information and communication technologies on demand for skills in the Australian economy between 1991 and 2006.

Ross currently directs around 25 staff in the Department of Training and Workforce Development’s policy and research branch.  The branch oversees intergovernmental relations, VET in Schools policy, VET funding policy (such as Future Skills WA) and apprenticeship and traineeship policy.

Prior to 2006 Ross managed the Centre for Labour Market Research at The University of Western Australia and was a senior researcher with the Centre when it was located at Murdoch University.  Prior to undertaking a research degree in Perth Ross was a farmer in the Central Wheatbelt until 1994 and owned and operated a large farming enterprise in partnership with his family.

WA Universities


Tim Bray*
Regional Planning and Project Delivery, Kimberley Development Council

Mr Bray has extensive experience in business, finance, and project management in the private and public sector.  He has a strong background in the analysis, modeling and design of initiatives and programs that impact regional economies including infrastructure and educational programs.  Tim has lived and worked in the Kimberley for ten years and been instrumental in the design and implementation of numerous regional development projects in that time.

Milton Butcher*
Department of Education

Milton Butcher has more than 30 years' experience with the Department in teaching and leadership positions in both regional and metropolitan secondary schools.

He has also held positions in curriculum reform and the Year 7 to secondary initiative.

In terms of regional appointments, he has been a teacher at Katanning SHS and Dumbleyung DHS.  He was the Head of Social Studies at the former Eastern Goldfields SHS and a Deputy Principal at both Carnarvon SHS and Katanning SHS.  He was also Principal Katanning SHS from 2003 to 2005.

He has served as a Regional Executive Director in the Goldfields, the Pilbara and the Kimberley


* Nominee awaiting approval from Cabinet