At the March 2021 Annual General Meeting SPELD NSW Chair Rhonda Filmer presented three long-standing members with honorary Life Membership.
SPELD NSW conferred Honorary Life Memberships to Dr Lin Meeks, Vernon Winley and Dr Don Gillies who have worked tirelessly for the needs of individuals with specific learning difficulties for many years.
A Life Membership acknowledges the significant contribution members dedicate to support children, families and professionals. Life Members have often held positions on the SPELD NSW Board and advocated at the highest levels on behalf of students and families.
SPELD NSW Honorary Life Members are recognised for their outstanding achievements to help the organisation reach significant milestones. Our appreciation extends to all Life Members for your knowledge, time and expertise, so freely and kindly given.
Lin Meeks joined the SPELD NSW Board in 2010 and made seminal contributions during this time. In 2011 Lin held the first Certificate Course for Teachers of students with Specific Learning Difficulties. Lin was instrumental in writing the course and presenting it to the first 20 attendees. As the course grew over the next decade Lin updated the course content and found new lecturers to present the course. By 2018 most presenters had PhDs as well as practical teaching experience.
Lin travelled to Orange to deliver the Teachers Certificate Course in the early days spearheading our outreach into regional New South Wales. Today the SPELD NSW Teachers’ Certificate Course is a highly regarded Professional Learning program and continues to receive excellent reviews.
“This Life Membership acknowledges your contribution to this organisation that is significant, profound and, as I said before, seminal. It took SPELD NSW into a whole new level of educational quality and services. It also acknowledges that we can never know how many hours you have dedicated to SPELD NSW. It is patently obvious the number is immense and immeasurable,” said Rhonda Filmer Chair SPELD NSW.
Thanks to Lins expertise the Teachers Certificate Course and the NESA accreditation were very important achievements for SPELD NSW
With a background in HR, Vernon Winley has been instrumental for the organisation in writing policies and procedures and sharing his legal knowledge of staffing matters. Vernon played a pivotal advisory role for the SPELD NSW Chair and Executive Officer and helped facilitate the move to the new Parramatta premises.
“My recollections of Vernon’s place and role in this organisation is personal. When I took the role of Chair in March, 2018 I did it knowing that Vernon would be there to help. He seemed to hold the knowledge of this organisation’s governance history and in many ways, felt like my mentor. I cannot thank him enough for this role so kindly applied,” said Rhonda Filmer Chair SPELD NSW.
The current Board has been assembled with Vernon’s assistance and your legacy, Vernon, is deep and ongoing. As you watch this organisation grow you can be content that you laid the foundations strongly indeed. It is an absolute pleasure to thank you in this way and welcome you to SPELD NSW as a Life Member for the quiet and thoroughly effective contribution that you have made,” added Rhonda.
Don Gillies was always available for meetings with the Department of Education and played a key role with SPELD NSW advocating for those with specific learning difficulties and juvenile offenders. Don was also a great advocate for TAFE, the place where so many young people “get a second chance”. Don was an ex-serviceman and when going to meet with Mrs Hurley, who became our Patron, Don Gillies was given a salute as we entered Government House as he was a past Lt. Col.
“Thank you, Don, for the gentleman you are and how you brought a sense of deep respect for, and knowledge about, children and adults with disabilities. You served them well by diligently contributing to the public domain in support of their needs. This is a constant, ongoing battle for us and it is a privilege to confer this Life Membership on you today.”
A few of the more recent submissions Don was involved in on behalf of SPELD NSW include:
- The Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG) 2014
- The Review of the Disability Standards of Education 2015
- The Inquiry into Students with a Disability or Special Needs in NSW Schools 2019
Driven by the vision that all individuals with specific learning difficulties will have every opportunity to achieve their full potential, our heartfelt thanks goes to all our Members and Life Members for their ongoing dedication and support.
Thanks once again to our newest Honorary Life Members:
Dr Lin Meeks
- Vice President in 2012 and 2013
- Founder Teachers Certificate Course
Dr Don Gillies
- Management Committee Member and Board Member 2009 – 2019
- Secretary 2013/14
- Treasurer in 2015/2016
- Vice President 2009
- Secretary 2011