Our team

Leanne Gibbs

Senior Manager Engagement and Translation

PhD, Master of Politics and Public Policy, Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood),  Post Graduate Diploma- Teaching Gifted Children, 

Leanne’s  early childhood professional roles have included early childhood teacher, director, local and state government adviser, researcher, lecturer, manager of professional development and also CEO within early childhood programs, educational institutions and peak organisations. Leanne is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and serves on boards. She is an author, podcaster and researcher investigating the emergence and development of leadership in ECE.

Engagement Centre team member, Leanne Gibbs

Kim Stouse-Lee

Community Engagement Coordinator

Bachelor of Education Early Childhood (Honours); Graduate Certificate in Autism (UOW); Certificate IV Training and Assessment, PhD Candidate University of Wollongong

Kim has over 20 years’ experience working in the early childhood education (ECE) sector as an early childhood teacher and centre director. She is expert in working with staff teams to develop quality programs and learning environments, whilst managing the logistical challenges of operating an ECE service. Kim has also worked as a Professional Development Facilitator with Community Child Care Co-Operative NSW. Kim holds a teaching role with the University of Wollongong Early Years team as a Language and literacy tutor. Her PhD research focus is the role of the educational leader in early childhood settings. 

Engagement team member Kim Stouse-Lee

Jo Grimmond

Community Engagement Coordinator

Jo has over 25 years’ experience working in the early childhood education sector as an Early Childhood Teacher and Centre Director, and brings essential skills and experience to the ESDM program at Early Start. She currently delivers the ‘ESDM for the Team’ workshop and is directly involved in working with early childhood education and care (ECEC) services to support and build capacity to effectively embed the ESDM into the centre environment. With a great passion for early childhood mathematics, Jo’s current PhD research focus is the development of a numeracy assessment tool for educators to use with children in ECEC settings. She has been involved in many Early Start research projects including the Fostering Effective Early Leaning (FEEL) study and the PRSIST validation study. 

Elizabeth Aylward

Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) Program Manager and ESDM Certified Trainer
Early Start, University of Wollongong

Elizabeth is dedicated to educating and supporting children, families and professionals in developing socially inclusive early childhood settings. Specialising in how child development is impacted by neurodevelopmental disorders, she is a passionate advocate for building workforce capacity in staff working with children challenged by developmental delays, challenging behaviours and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Elizabeth is an Australian-based ESDM Certified Trainer.  Her work providing training and support to a global audience has resulted in the prestigious approval by Emeritus Professors Sally Rogers and Geraldine Dawson to acknowledge Early Start, UOW as an official ESDM Training site. Elizabeth has also completed her PhD studies in Autism Intervention and published papers in peer reviewed journals

Engagement team member Elizabeth Aylward