MEET THE SQUAD
After 16 years working in top advertising agencies, this Eastern Suburbs mum realised that her heart was in a different place. So she took a deep breath, quit her job and set out on a new storytelling adventure.
She began studying creative writing, and developing her debut novel (which she may actually finish one day). Fast-forward to 6 years and two kids later and what she’s learned is that the value of lessons learned on the journey of writing are more important than the destination of finishing it.
It’s these lessons that she wants to share with kids, to inspire them, to build their confidence, and to make them believe in the ideas in their imagination and their power to connect.
After a decade of working in advertising agencies, Emily completed a Masters of Teaching at Sydney University and has spent the last 4 years teaching years K-6 in schools around Sydney.
A passionate educator, Emily thrives on learning from, and helping, students to feel confident and to become enthusiastic learners. Her passions lie in great stories via quality children’s literature, using drama to bring imaginations to life, public speaking as a strong means of communication, and in immersing students in their own learning to encourage them to become curious and proud curators of their own imaginations.
Working with story squad whilst on maternity leave awaiting the birth of her third child allows her to enjoy all of her passions in a role that drives and excites her to inspire all 21st century learners that she meets, both inside and outside of the classroom.
Natalie joined Story Squad in early 2017 and is currently in her final year of a Bachelor of Education, fulfilling her dream of becoming a primary school teacher. She has spent the past 5 years working as an educator facilitating after school programs, where she curates learning opportunities, drawing from her studies in art & design, kids yoga, dance and inclusive education.
Natalie is most passionate about literacy, which she believes is fundamental to accessing all other curriculum subjects and for promoting self-expression and confidence. She finds teaching is most rewarding when helping students become engaged and independent learners and enjoys being continually inspired by children’s sense of wonder and imagination.
Natalie seeks to inspire children to embrace their ideas and to build their confidence as little writers.
Tina has been writing and illustrating picture books since 2007, winning several awards along the way.
Before that Tina worked as a puppet maker and writer in children’s theatre and television for 25 years, including ABC TV’s Bananas in Pyjamas and Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, starring David Bowie. She continues to teach puppetry at NIDA.
Tina has written and illustrated six books and these days likes nothing better than reading and writing and making simple books and puppets with kids.
“I think writing workshops are a great alternative to the standardized testing approach we have adopted in so many schools. An emphasis on imagination and flights of fancy offers something to all kids. The workshops leave them satisfied with the places they have been in their head – and in addition they have a small book in their hand as a reminder of how to get there again.”
Olatundji first found his passion for poetry and performance over 20 years ago while attending weekly open mic series in the fertile poetic landscape of Boulder, CO USA. He studied at The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics and Graduated with honours from the University of Colorado in Boulder with a degree in creative writing and a passion for spreading the message of poetry. He has had work published in journals all over the world and still performs regularly at poetic events in and around Sydney.
Olatundji firmly believes in the power of self-expression to validate self worth, build confidence, create connection, and inform fun exploratory educational opportunities. He has seen poetry open minds and hearts to the inquisitive nature that is fundamental to learning and growth.
Olatundji seeks to inspire and be inspired by all those he works with so that they too may be able to learn something new about themselves.
All our team members have WWC checks.