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Peter Blatch

QASEL Life Members Hall of Fame

QASEL is a professional association made up of special education leaders across the state. While the contribution of all members is valued and appreciated, some members go above and beyond in their service.

At times, these members are honoured with life membership. Below is the QASEL Hall of Fame, which recognises and honours our life members, their contributions to QASEL and their broader impact on special education in Queensland.

It is a work in progress and we are continuing to add profile information about our life members. So, check-in on this page regularly for updates.

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Peter Blatch

Life Member Since:

Peter commenced his teaching career in 1974. In 1979 as a Teacher in Charge, he joined the Special Educators Teachers in Charge Association as a member of the Management Committee.  He joined the Qld State Special Schools Principals’ Association in 1982 and left in 1988 on becoming a senior officer of the department.  From 2003 while still on the Public Service payroll, and as Acting Principal at Geebung Special School, he was invited to return to QASEL.  Peter has been a QASEL conference convenor also. He was appointed a Life Member for his contribution to the association and commitment to special education.

Leadership Achievements: Teacher in Charge, Senior Teacher in Charge, Principal, Senior Education Officer, Principal Education Officer, Coordinator, Assistant Region Director.

Career Highlights: Transfer of Endeavour Foundation programs to Department of Education; establishment of State-wide Special Education Support Centre and low incidence programs; returning to school as Acting Principal at Geebung Special School after 14 years in Central Office, mentoring aspiring leaders.

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Patricia Thiedeman

Life Member Since: 2014

Trish commenced her Special Education Leadership journey in 1991. She joined QASEL (ASEAQ) in 1997, and as a member of the management committee was an ardent advocate for early special education. In 2009 she became the secretary of the association and continued in this role until 2014. Trish continues to be an active member of the association and a member of the annual conference committee. Trish was awarded her life membership in 2014 for her contribution to the association.

Leadership Achievements: Teacher-in Charge, Head of Special Education Services, Project Officer, State Prep Curriculum Facilitator, Deputy Principal, Principal, Principal Lead/Peer Reviewer.


Career Highlights: Working within early special education and implementing evidenced based pedagogies which remained a key priority across her leadership journey; Principal Claremont Special School.

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Jenny Horchner-Wilson

Life Member Since: 2014

Jenny started teaching special education at the Queensland School for the Deaf in 1983. From there she moved to the Hearing Impaired Unit at Kedron State High School for 10 years. She worked for a few years as the State-wide Hearing Impairment Advisor, and the Special Education Officer at the Queensland Schools Curriculum Council for about 8 years.

She also had the privilege of being the Minister’s nominee for Special Education on the Queensland Studies Authority Governing Body 2005 – 2009.

Jenny’s first leadership position was as HOSES at Caboolture State High School.  It was at this time that she also joined ASEAQ as a full member after being an Associate member for a couple of years. Since then she has held the positions of Minutes Secretary (2004 – 2006); Secretary (2007-2008); Management Committee member; Treasurer (2010 – 2013); Vice President (2014-2015).  Throughout these years Jenny was on the Annual Conference Committee, co-convening the Conference with Trish Thiedeman in 2011.

She was honoured to receive QASEL Life Membership at the Annual dinner in 2014.

Leadership Achievements: Head of Special Education Services, State Wide Advisor, Curriculum developer, Deputy Principal, Principal.


Career Highlights:  Seeing students develop to become independent individuals.

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Mary Davis

Life Member Since: 2011

Mary joined QASEL(ASEAQ) in 1995 as Teacher-in Charge, Kenmore South SEDU to advocate for the needs of early special education. She was a member of Management Committee (2005-2009) and represented ASEAQ on the NSO funding committee (2007-2008).  She was a presenter at the AFSEA conference in 2000. Mary continued her membership of QASEL until her retirement in 2010. She was awarded life membership in 2011.

Leadership Achievements: Teacher-in-Charge Kenmore South SEDU 1994 - 2005; Head of Special Education Services Mount Ommaney SEDU 2005-2010.

Career Highlights: Working across a variety of settings within early special education: Royal, Mater and Ipswich Hospital schools(1978 - 80); as an EEC teacher Mission Beach SS (1980-82); Ipswich Central SEU (1982 - 85); Montrose Special School (1985-1988) and Goodna Special School (1991-93).

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Peter Davis

Life Member Since: 2011

Peter's connection with ASEAQ goes back to before the establishment of our Association when in 1988 - 89 in the role of  President of Special School Principals Association, he worked in partnership with Jo Minchinton (President, TIC Association) and the two executives to amalgamate  the two existing Associations. He remained on the management committee until his retirement in 2011. During that time, Peter held the position of President (1996 - 97), Past President, Secretary and Committee Member. Peter was awarded Life Membership of QASEL in 2011.


In 1997, in his capacity as President, Peter led the ASEAQ delegation to the Glenelg National Conference of Special Education Leaders. It was from this conference that a new Australian Association of Special Education Leaders grew and flourished - so began the Australian Special Education Principals Association(ASEPA). Peter became the second President of ASEPA (2003- 2008) following the retirement of the founding President, Margot Radford from South Australia. He held the position of ASEPA Secretary from 1998 to 2003. During this time, the focus was on the development of ASEPA as a credible leadership organisation equivalent to the national Primary and Secondary Principals Associations. Peter was awarded Life Membership of ASEPA in 2011.


Leadership Achievements:

Peter originally trained and taught as a primary teacher and then undertook further study in the area of students with disabilities. He taught and worked in indigenous communities (Palm Island and Woorabinda), integrated and special school settings. For 33 years Peter held special education leadership roles as Teacher in Charge of Kingaroy SS - SEU (1978-79), Principal of Gympie (1980-81), Ipswich West (1982-84), Montrose(1985-88) and Ipswich(1989-2011) Special Schools. Following his retirement in 2011, Peter worked as a Consultant Special Education Principal Coach in Central Queensland and the south east corner of Queensland.


Career Highlights:

Peter regards his early experiences as a beginning teacher at Palm Island as a career shaping experience. It required you "to think outside the box" - the essence of special education teaching and leadership.

In 1979, Peter received a Rotary Group Study Exchange to Italy to look at education for students with disabilities in Italy. At this time, the Italian education system had become totally inclusive.

Peter has presented at State, National and International Conferences. In 2007, he was the Australian delegate and presenter to the UNESCO sponsored 27th Asia- Pacific Seminar on the Education of Individuals with Special Needs in Yokohama, Japan.


Vicki Sykes

Life Member Since:

Vicki was the inaugural President of ASEAQ from 1990 to 1996 while still working fulltime as the Principal of the Mater Hospital School.  She remained a member of the Management Committee from 1997 until her retirement in 2009.

Leadership Achievements:

Education Qld (EQ):

  • Principal Band 9, Mater Hospital Special School 1999 – 2009

  • Principal Band 8, Mater Hospital Special School 1986 - 1998

  • Principal Class 2 Mt Isa Special School 1984

  • Principal Class 3 Eight Mile Plains Special School 1980 - 1983

  • Principal Class 4 Murgon Special School 1978 - 1979

  • Teacher-in-charge Biloela Opportunity Classes 1976 - 1977

Queensland Teacher’s Union (QTU):

  • Branch President 1987 – 2009

  • QTU Executive Member 1992 – 2009

  • QTU Trustee 1997 – 2009

  • QTU rep on Australian Education Union (AEU) 1990 – 2007

  • AEU Executive Member 1998 – 1999; 2008 – 2009

  • Chair QTU Special Education Committee 1989 – 2009

  • Member QTU Educational Administrators Committee 1996 – 2009

  • QTU State Council Representative 1996 – 2009


Held a range of positions in Guides Qld; The Treatment and Rehabilitation Unit for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (TTRUSTT); Australian Association of Special Education (AASE).


Career Highlights:

  • Order of Australia Medal (OAM)

  • Life Member Association of Special Education Administrators

  • Life Member Australian Education Union

  • Life Member Qld Teachers’ Union

  • Emma Miller Award Qld Council of Unions

  • Playground named in my honour at Mater Hospital School

  • The Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital School Tribute Medal

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Dr John Enchelmaier

Life Member Since:

John was admitted to the Special School Principals Association (forerunner of ASEAQ/QASEL) by virtue of promotion to Deputy Principal (secondary) Queensland School for the Deaf in 1974, and subsequently served as member of the Management Committee and remained on Executive until October 2007. He was Treasurer on two separate occasions and President for the then two-year term of presidency in 1998-99.

He was, and remains, a strong advocate for the professional development of leaders and teachers in education generally, and in special education in particular, and for the leadership credibility of QASEL

He actively encouraged the benefits of learning clusters for such major areas as curriculum and student transition from secondary school, and took leading roles in organising, with colleagues, numerous state and national conferences and professional development activities, particularly for QASEL/ASEAQ and ASEPA. The importance of parents and caregivers as educating partners was promoted constantly.

John represented QASEL/ASEAQ on numerous EQ committees, reviews and taskforces, QTU and QCCA committees. Alongside Peter Davis, he represented QASEL as delegate to ASEPA during ASEPA’s formative years. Awarded Life Memberships of QASEL/ASEAQ and ASEPA.

Leadership Achievements:

John’s first promotion to a leadership position was as TIC (forerunner of HOSES) at Qld School of Deaf Junior Day School, Gladstone Road Annerley in 1970. In 1974, he was promoted to Deputy Principal (Secondary -the second person to be appointed to this relatively new position). John opened Calamvale Special School in 1983 as Principal.

He was recalled as Principal to lead a rapidly changing decentralising Queensland School for the Deaf. After a three year process of relocations to new metropolitan primary and secondary Special Education Units for the Hearing Impaired, he closed the school in 1988.

He was subsequently Principal at East Brisbane Primary School, Newstead Special School (which he closed in 1997) and Aspley Senior Special School in 1998 from where he retired in October 2007.


 Career Highlights:

John’s first appointment with EQ was in 1966 when he was recruited by Director of Special Education Bill Wood, to commence as an untrained teacher of students with special needs at the Queensland School for the Deaf (one of Queensland’s first schools, established 1893, and at its peak, was one of the largest and most complex of Early Childhood, Primary, and Secondary Special schools.) Educating students with hearing Impairment seen as an exciting educational challenge.

Major involvement in reforms of policy and teaching practice for students with hearing impairment in 1970s (e.g. introduction of AUSLAN). Acting positions at Central and Regional Office. Participated in research with Mt Gravatt CAE - later to become Griffith University.

Awarded a Post Graduate Fellowship permitting study to gain M Ed then PhD at the University of Illinois USA (1981-82) then continuing PHD study again in 1990). Undertook a consultancy to the Saskatchewan Education Department, Canada in 1990. Assisted in leading the decentralisation of education services for hearing impaired services in Queensland from 1969 onwards finally closing the School for the Deaf in 1988.

Successfully closed Newstead Senior Special School after many very innovative and successful years.

His final years at Aspley Senior Special School saw the commencement of a growth phase that continues to the present day.

Post retirement worked as a consultant to ACARA and the Tasmanian Education Department and returned to the classroom as a supply teacher of the hearing impaired.

Above all, highlights have always involved learning and working with like minded professionals in Queensland and more broadly, in Australia and around the world.

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Andrew Hawke

Life Member Since: 2016

Andrew commenced his teaching career in Special Education in 1977 and had his first leadership experience in the Teacher-in-Charge (TIC) role in North Queensland in 1980.  Andrew joined the TIC Association in 1986 and in 1989/90 became a foundation member of ASEAQ (QASEL) when the TIC Association and the Special School Principal’s Association joined forces to become ASEAQ. He was a member of Management Committee almost continually from 1990 until his retirement in 2016.   He was the treasurer for three years from 2006-2008 and vice president from 2009 to 2015 with the exception of one year during this period. Andrew was awarded Life Membership of QASEL in 2016.


Current Role: Retired


Leadership Achievements: Teacher-in-Charge, Senior Teacher-in Charge and Special School Principal in Darling Downs and Southwest Region; first Teaching and Learning Auditor for Special Schools (2010); Acting ARD; Lead/Peer Reviewer; Chair of SECC (Special Education Curriculum Cluster) 2006 -2015.  Principal of Clifford Park Special School nominated by DET to trial the General Capabilities (Australian Curriculum) for ACARA, Lead Principal for Special School’s 2016.


Career Highlights: Principal Clifford Park Special School 1994-2016, advocate for inclusive curriculum and pedagogy for students with disabilities including chair of SECC 2006-2015, Lead Principal 2016, supporting Special School Principals across the state.

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Alwyn Green

Life Member Since: 2017

Alwyn started working in Special Education in 1979 with his first leadership appointment occurring in 1988 as a Teacher-In-Charge, and the first appointment as Principal in 1990.  He joined QASEL (ASEAQ) in the early 1990s and became a member of the Management Committee in the mid 1990s.  During his time on the Management Committee, he represented QASEL on a range of facilities’ committees in Central Office advocating for the development of a Facilities’ Standard as a base requirement for all Special Education facilities to alleviate school leaders providing the sole advocacy themselves.  He also worked as one of the QASEL representatives on various Teacher Aide Enterprise Bargaining Committees.  Alwyn was awarded his life membership in 2017.  


Current Role:  Retired


Leadership Achievements:  Teacher-In-Charge, Principal, Coach and Mentor


Career Highlights:  Being a part of the growth and development of students from prep to graduating seniors.  As Principal of Currimundi Special School, and being part of the journey of the school from a very small school to a large organisation.  The improvement of facilities’ standards in Special Education.  The exploration, development and implementation of leadership structures in large special schools.


Roselynne Anderson

Life Member Since:

Roselynne has been a member of QASEL (and formerly ASEAQ) for almost twenty years. Her leadership and networking abilities have contributed to the growth of QASEL’s profile, especially QASEL’s role as an ‘equally’ valued and contributing professional leadership association, and now seen as one of the three ’main’ contributing sectors representing school leaders alongside our secondary and primary association colleagues.

She has also been a passionate contributor as President, Vice President and Management Committee member, promoting in all of these roles the profile of special education across Queensland.


Current Role: Roselynne is currently the immediate past President of QASEL supporting the transition of the new president, and supporting the work of the association as a member of QASEL EMC, QASELCon planning committee, and previously ASEPA Board Director and ASEPA National Council/Management Committee member.


Leadership Achievements: Senior Resource Teacher of the Deaf (NZ); AVT - HI, II, ASD; A/Teaching Principal at Old Yarranlea SS at Griffith University, DoE Curriculum Branch senior policy office; QTU Officer Special Education, Industrial Relations and Curriculum; A/DP in primary and special education; manager at Disability Services Support Centre; DP Special School; Principal Beenleigh Special School; President QASEL.


Career Highlights: Passionate educator/leader for 50 years; teacher early, primary and middle years education in New Zealand; Disability Education of the Deaf post-graduate year at University of Canterbury; Senior Resource Teacher of the Deaf (NZ); national networking to support volunteer roles and work as an ASEPA Board member, National President of AWE- the Association of Women Educators (for over twenty years), and current Chair of Economic Security 4 Women (a National Women’s Alliance for five years and a member for 21 years); supporting developing aspirant and successful leaders through mentoring and coaching (30 plus years) and including working in partnership with organisations through ASEPA, QASEL, NESLI (National Education and School Leadership Institute) and WLA ( Women in Leadership Australia) to develop many of the recent, past and present professional learning offerings around leadership development.

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Michael Brett

Life Member Since: 2012

Michael commenced his teaching career in Special Education in 1978 at Narbethong School for Visually Handicapped Children. After working as an AVT and classroom teacher in a number of locations across the state, Michael was appointed as Teacher-in-Charge of Bundaberg West SEU in 1988. He joined ASEAQ in the early 1990s and was elected onto the Management Committee in 1997. He held the positions of Assistant Treasurer and Treasurer prior to being elected as President in 2003. He was the first President of ASEAQ to leave their school and work full-time in the role of President. The ASEAQ (QASEL) State Council was established during Michael’s time as President. He completed his tenure as President at the end of 2007. He then fulfilled the role of Immediate Past President for the next six years and he has been re-elected onto the Management Committee each year until 2021.

Current Role:  Principal of Bundaberg Special School


Leadership Achievements:  Teacher-in-Charge; Assistant Co-ordinator - Social Justice; Principal of Rockhampton, Goodna and Bundaberg Special Schools; President of ASEAQ; Principal Coach in Metropolitan Region; Lead Principal for State-wide Special Schools.


Career Highlights:  Life Membership of QASEL awarded in 2012; Rotary Foundation Paul Harris Fellowship awarded for his work at Goodna Special School.

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Jenny Spence

Life Member Since: 2019

Jenny commenced her Special Education leadership journey in 1996. She joined QASEL (ASEAQ) in that year. While in QASEL, Jenny has been a State Councillor, member of the Management Committee and Vice President. During this time Jenny has been the Special Education representative on several Education Queensland and QSA committees. Jenny was awarded a life membership in 2019.

Current Role: Retired

Leadership Achievements: Teacher in Charge, Head of Special Education Services, Principal Policy Officer Student Services, Deputy Principal.

Career Highlights: Working with others to create an inclusive culture and awareness of diversity within a range of settings. Building networks, mentoring and supporting colleagues. Assisting to run the first regional ASEAQ (QASEL) conference in Bundaberg.

Jenny was awarded a QTU life membership in 2021 having been involved with the QTU Special Education committee and a QTU Promotion Selection Panel Nominee in the Wide Bay/North Coast Regions.

Patricia Theideman
Jenny Horchner-Wilson
Mary Davis
Peter Davis
Vicki Sykes
Dr John Enchelmaier
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