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Our People

Management Committee

President: Jennifer Star

Jennifer StarOriginally trained as an archaeologist, Jennifer changed her career to teaching after a 3 month volunteer stint living and working in the slums of Jaipur. Since founding Tara.Ed in 2008, Jennifer has qualified as a teacher and undertaken a Masters in International and Comparative Education at Oxford University; she is currently undertaking a Doctorate in Education. Jennifer’s contribution to education has been recognised on multiple occasions; she was the NSW Young Australian of the Year in 2012, and was named as one of Australia’s 100 Most Influential Women in 2014.

Vice President: Carolyn Dorrian

Carolyn is both a lawyer and entrepreneur. She is the Principal solicitor at DorrianCarolyn & Co, a boutique Sydney law firm that n provides innovative legal and Advisory advice to start ups and small businesses. Prior to establishing Dorrian & Co, Carolyn worked for PwC Legal and Ashurst as a lawyer specialising in tax and corporate law. Carolyn is passionate about India and is the Vice-Chair of the Australian India Business Council NSW Young Professionals Chapter, as well as the Vice-Chair of the NSW Young Lawyers Human Rights Committee.

Secretary: Geetha Bhat

Geetha BhatBorn and brought up in India, Geetha was a Mathematics and Physics teacher before migrating to Australia in 1982. She began her professional life in her new country at the Australian Taxation Office and then served over 25 years at Metcash Trading, initially as an accountant before becoming the IT Client Services Manager. Geetha is now the Service Centre Team Leader at Mission Australia. A dedicated member of the community, alongside her role with Tara.Ed, Geetha has been a volunteer for Telecross, Neighbourhood Aid and Karabi Community Services.

Treasurer/Public Officer: Sylvia Purcell

Sylvia PurcellSylvia has been involved in education for over 20 years in permanent, casual and volunteer classroom teaching positions in primary schools in NSW. Completing further tertiary qualifications to become a homeopath in 1993, Sylvia is now employed as Natural Therapist and Vitamin Consultant in a pharmacy in Goulburn. A successful private practice in homeopathy continues to be managed in amongst participation in the community in a variety of roles on committees and advisory boards, the most recent of which being the evolution of Tara.Ed.

General Committee Member: Shaun Star

Shaun StarShaun is an Australian lawyer, working as an Assistant Professor & Assistant Dean (International Engagement) at OP Jindal Global University in Delhi/NCR. He holds an undergraduate Law degree from Macquarie University and a Masters in Law (BCL) from Oxford University. Alongside his contribution to Tara.Ed, Shaun is a Co-Founder of the Australian Indian Youth Dialogue (AIYD) and Editor of a law volume “India and Australia: A Comparative Overview of the Law and Legal practice”.

General Committee Member: John Macpherson 

John MacphersonAfter a career spanning over 20 years, John retired from the Australian Regular Army in 1981, to take on senior executive management roles in the not for profit sector; first, The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, then the Building Owners and Managers Association until 1995 when he retired a second time.He joined the Rotary Club of Sydney in 1985 and transferred to the Rotary Club of Berrima District in 2002. As a Rotarian he has been involved with Tara.Ed since its inception, and was instrumental in the creation of the Tara.Ed Teaching Ambassadors programme, arranging financial and administrative support from the Rotary Club of Berrima District, a special grant from The Rotary Foundation (Rotary’s Charity), and establishing links with the Rotary Club of Pune Katraj in India.

Webmaster: Arun Neelakandan

arun-is-awesomeBorn in Bangalore, India, Arun moved to Australia when he was 9 years old. He joined the Tara.Ed Team when he was still an undergraduate student, and a Bachelors and Masters of Information Technology later, he continues to design & manage Tara.Ed’s online presence alongside his role as a Software Engineer at Macquarie University. Arun’s talents fly far beyond computers – he is the current Australian Paper Plane Distance Champion, and represented Australia at the Red Bull Paper Wings World Final in Salzburg in 2015!

Supervising Teachers

Josh Garretson

Josh GarretsonA Secondary Maths-Science teacher from the ACT; Josh is Tara.Ed’s resident Science Guru. Since joining Tara.Ed in 2013, Josh has developed and implemented Tara.Ed’s interactive science teaching modules. Josh is particularly passionate about teacher collaboration and team teaching, and has successfully integrated this into the Tara.Ed projects he leads. Josh has lived in India for the past three years and is responsible for the Tara.Ed partner schools in the Pune District.

Peter Malone

Peter MalonePeter brings a wealth of knowledge to the role of Supervising Teacher; in his 40+ year teaching career, Peter has been a HSIE teacher, taught at a behaviour school, as well as held the position of School Principal. Prior to joining Tara.Ed in 2012, he worked with a number of schools in Cambodia, and developed a sister-school relationship between Bowral High School in NSW and a school in Cambodia. He is particularly passionate about mentoring the pre-service teachers on Tara.Ed Teacher Tours, and when not in the classroom, can be found cycling through the rice paddy fields surrounding the villages!


Lara Curtis (UNSW)

Lara CurtisLara is in her Honours year of a five year Bachelor of Arts/Education degree. Lara is an outstanding student; she ranked first in a number of her undergrad courses, was awarded the prize for the Best Essay in Australian Literature and has been named on the Faculty of Arts Dean’s List. She balances her studies with volunteering, bringing a wealth of experience to her Tara.Ed Ambassadorship. In 2009, she volunteered at a boarding school in Ireland, and currently volunteers as a mentor for Indigenous students through the Nura Gili Aboriginal Mentoring Program.

Kahli Dawkings (UQ)

Kahli DawkingsIn her final year of a double B.Arts/B.Ed, Kahli brings extensive volunteer experience to her role with Tara.Ed. She is heavily involved with Rotaract as a key member of the Rotary Youth Program Of Enrichment, a project which aims to build the confidence, communication, teamwork & leadership skills in adolescents. As an indigenous person Kahli is passionate about improving the educational outcomes of Indigenous Australians and has been involved in school-based Indigenous programs such as ARTIE Tutoring, Indigenous Pathways programs and homework club.

Madigan Mackenzie (UTS)

Madigan MackenzieIn her final year of a four-year Education Degree, Madi has travelled to India multiple times as a part of the Tara.Ed team, as well as speaking on her experiences in multiple schools and universities in Australia. She is particularly passionate about Maths and Science education, and is a keen advocate of teacher collaboration and team teaching. Madi was selected as an Australia-India Youth Dialogue Ambassador in 2014.