Western Sydney University Early Learning Board of Directors

Susan Hudson – Director and Chair

Susan Hudson is the Executive Director, Human Resources at Western Sydney University. Her current projects involve implementation of the University’s new People Strategy, a major transformation project implementing a shared services environment across the University, and implementation of a new academic structure. In her 24 years with the university, she has managed the Executive Projects Unit, was the foundation College Manager for the College of Arts, Education, and Social Sciences and held roles as Campus Coordinator, Student Centre Manager and Manager of Assessments and Progressions.

Prior to this, Susan was the Academic Registrar, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at the University of Sydney.

Susan holds a BA (UWS) (major in communications) 2000, Grad Cert Business Administration (Uni of Queensland) 2001, Masters in Leadership and Management in Education (University of Newcastle) 2007 AICD, Diploma from the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is a Justice of the Peace and has two grown daughters and four grandchildren, soon to become six with twins on the way.


Sue BenzieSue Benzie – Director

J.P, Teach Cert (Infants and Preschool), Teach Cert (Deaf), Dip Teach, BEd, MLMEd, Grad Cert Ed Stud (Spec Ed / Sensory Disability).  MACE, MACEL. Non-Executive Director

Appointed as a Non- Executive member of the Board of Western Sydney Early Learning Limited as from the 23rd July, 2012.

Sue is a very senior educational professional. Sue trained and worked with the NSW Dept of Education between 1964 and 1993 in Preschool Teacher of the Deaf, Classroom Teacher, Support Teacher Learning Difficulties, Reading Recovery Teacher and Executive positions. She was one of the first group of Reading Recovery teachers trained in the pilot study for the program in the Metropolitan West Region and also served on the Met West Early Childhood C'tee.
Sue joined the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) in 1993 as the first Director of the RIDBC Nepean Preschool. In 1996 she was appointed as Manager of Preschool Services and in 1998 as Manager of Early Childhood Services (Hearing Impairment) – a position she held until her retirement in July,2012. Sue continued working with RIDBC Renwick Centre in a casual capacity until 2014 involved with students and research projects.
Sue's particular areas of interest include program development, delivery and evaluation, policy development and review, staff management, budget control, event management and family support. She has served as a senior member of a number of committees with emphasis on  special and mainstream Early Childhood education.


Ellen Brackenreg – Director

BA (Psych), BSW, MBA, GAICD, Non Executive Director

Appointed as an inaugural member of the Board of Western Sydney Early Learning Ltd, on 2 March 2012.  In addition, Ellen is also a member of the Campus Living Village Advisory Board and Western Unlimited Ltd Board.

Ellen is the Executive Director, Student Services. Her undergraduate educational background is in Psychology and Social Work, she also has an MBA and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Ellen has extensive experience in senior management positions at the University, within the Health Department of Western Australia and in the non - government sector. Her vast experience includes Board memberships and memberships of regional health and service management committees.

Ellen is passionate about equity and the value of education for everyone and is currently involved with the Women for Change mentoring program.  Ellen has a broad professional experience which includes work in children’s services, allied health services, psychiatric services ( including Child and Adolescent Services), executive and project officer roles and in services that directly engage with and support students.

As the Executive Director, Student Services she has responsibility for a diverse range of student services, including counselling, mental health and wellbeing, disability services, student welfare services, as well as aspects of student administrative support through the services provided by Student Central.


Darren John Greentree - Director

MBA(Exec) AGSM, BBUS(Acc), GAICD, CPA, JP, Non Executive Director

Appointed as a member of the Board of Western Sydney Early Learning Ltd, as from 14 May 2013.

Darren has over 25 years senior management experience within Multi-National, Publicly Listed and Private Organisations joining the Education Sector in early 2010. In his role as Director- Financial Operations at the Western Sydney University, Darren is responsible for the University's Management Reporting, Forecasting and Budgeting along with the Financial Systems, Treasury, Financial Accounting and Management Accounting. Darren holds a joint Executive MBA from the Universities of Sydney and New South Wales (AGSM), a Bachelor Degree in Business (Accounting), is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Justice of the Peace and a member of CPA Australia. Darren is a Director of Western Sydney University Early Learning Child Care Centre and an independent member of the Penrith City Council's Audit Committee. Darren is an experienced Finance and Accounting practitioner and has been instrumental in leading structural and cultural change throughout his career specialising in integrating Finance functions as strategic partners within organisations.


Jane McMaster - Director

Appointed as a member of the Board of Western Sydney Early Learning Ltd, as from 1st June 2018.

Jane has more than 20 years experience in the field of Education and Care.

From working as a teacher and Director in Long Day Care settings in rural and remote areas across Australia, Jane moved into community engagement roles with local government in Sydney. One of her most rewarding and notable roles during this period was establishing the before and after school program amongst others at the City of Sydney, Redfern Community Centre.

Jane has a broad and thorough knowledge of the Law and Regulations relating to Education and Care services. From 2010 – 2016 Jane held the position of the Regional Operations Manager Western Sydney for the Early Childhood Education and Care Directorate. During this time Jane was responsible for overseeing the compliance and quality ratings of all Education and Care Services throughout the greater Western Sydney Area.

Most recently, Jane held the position of Development Officer with the NSW Department of Education. During this time she was appointed Lead Assessor for assessment and rating in NSW   Jane was one of the architects behind the introduction of the revised Quality Improvement Plan template for NSW and also in the development of the evidence based reporting format which was adopted nationally. Jane played a key role representing NSW throughout the COAG review of the National Law and Regulations, chairing and participating in numerous inter jurisdictional committees and working parties.

Jane is particularly interested in the areas of influencing behavioural change and system improvements, as well as sector and community engagement.


Conjoint Associate Professor Linda Newman - Director

Doctor of Education; Master of Education (Honours); Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood); Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood).

Appointed as a member of the Board of Western Sydney Early Learning Ltd, as from 1st June 2018.

After teaching as a Director, teacher and early childhood intervention teacher in early childhood centres for approximately 15 years Linda commenced teaching adults in the vocational education sector (TAFE) and university. She commenced university lecturing in 1989 at the University of Western Sydney and commenced at The University of Newcastle in 2009. Throughout Linda’s teaching career she has led innovations including the establishment of one of the earliest early childhood intervention services in NSW for children with disabilities in the early 1980s. Since joining the higher education sector she has jointly led several large projects to introduce blended and flexible learning practices into teacher education programs and the introduction of a community-of-practice based approach to professional experience for pre-service early childhood educators. Linda is the co-author of a widely used text Working with Children and Families: Professional, Legal and Ethical Issues and the widely used ethical thinking process the Ethical Response Cycle. She is also co-editor of Practitioner Research in Early Childhood: International Issues and Perspectives and more than forty journal articles, chapters and professional publications.

Recent research has included membership of a team working in Chile to build capacity in literacy learning with early childhood educators, families and communities called Futuro Infantil Hoy (Children’s Futures Today). Linda has also led a project to examine and improve literacy environments in children’s services in Newcastle, and Research Connections: Practitioner Research Engagement Network in Early Childhood Education. This project was awarded the European Early Childhood Education Association award for practitioner research in 2017. In 2018 Linda joined with Western Sydney University to co-lead the Collaboration for Learning project in Mt Druitt to engage children’s services in designing their own literacy and numeracy based research projects to plan change in their centres.


Michele Simons

Professor Michele Simons - Director

Ph D, BSoc Sc, Non Executive Director

Appointed to the Board of Western Sydney Early Learning Limited in 2016.

Michele has over 20 years experience working across the vocational and higher education sectors. Prior to this Michele worked for a variety of non-government agencies providing family services to communities in South Australia. In her role as Dean of Education, Michele is responsible for leading the development of education programs to support the initial and ongoing professional development of teachers, educators and leaders for the early childhood, schooling, tertiary and community education sectors. Michele has extensive experience as a researcher. She has conducted research in community-based organisations, workplaces and formal education settings and has particular expertise in understanding the development of education workforces and learning in non-school settings. Michele holds a PhD from the University of South Austalia and a Bachelors degree in social science with majors in adult and community education. In addition to her position on the Board of Western Sydney University Early Learning Limited, Michele fulfils governance roles for a number of organisations including the Australian Association for Educational Research, Engagement Australia, and the Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association. Michele is the current President of the NSW Council of Deans of Education and serves on the Board of the Australian Council of Deans of Education.