Management Team

Tina Holtom


Tina is the Chief Executive Officer at Child Australia and has worked in various senior positions within the Education and Child Development sectors for more than 20 years. Tina is a strategic leader dedicated to innovation, continuous improvement and growth.

Prior to working for Child Australia, Tina owned and operated her own Early Learning Services and consulted widely on best practice models throughout the Education and Care sector, Schools, and various agencies. Tina also worked extensively with children and their families in various therapy settings.

Her career background has also included senior business management roles, teaching, and lecturing positions. Tina has tertiary qualifications in Business Management, Education, and most recently has completed a Masters in Mental Health Science (Child Psychology). Tina is a ferocious advocate for the education and well-being of children of all ages, and strives to nurture and support the parent – child relationship.

As a mother to 2 young boys, Tina has a strong desire to help keep childhood fun, carefree and full of wonder for as long as possible.
Tina is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
For keynote and speaker presentations, Tina’s areas of expertise include:
(across all age groups 0 to 18 – early childhood, childhood & adolescence)

• Childhood Development
• Engaging Families
• Enhancing quality relationships with children and/or families
• Childhood Anxiety
• Toxic Stress and Trauma
• Leadership & Management
• Professional Development


Sara Hinchley

Executive Director of Programs & Services

Sara has worked with Child Australia since 2006 and her executive role oversees the Service Delivery and Programs activities throughout Western Australia and the Northern Territory. She has extensive experience in the Early Childhood Sector as a Qualified Educator, Director, and National Childcare Accreditation Council Validator.

Sara has international experience developing and managing play schemes and sponsored children’s services in the United Kingdom. Her professional interests lie in quality care provision and pedagogical leadership. Sara holds a Diploma in Children’s Services, Cert IV (TAA) and post graduate Qualifications in Business Leadership


Maria Miller

Executive Director of Corporate Services

Maria is a highly experienced finance manager with particular expertise in the not-for-profit and childcare sectors. Maria’s role at Child Australia is to provide financial expertise and guidance, and is responsible for driving and administering the finance activities enabling the organisation to fulfill its mission.

Maria is a qualified accountant and is one unit away from attaining her CPA qualification. She is a strategic thinker with a ‘big picture’ focus who can question the status quo, generate new ideas and always strives to achieve best practice.

Maria volunteers her time and expertise to school and community causes, having young children herself she is passionate to contributing towards improving outcomes for children.


Carren Ford

Executive Director of Professional Learning & Transformation

Carren has worked in the Early Childhood Sector for more than 20 years in various roles. Prior to working at Child Australia Carren's previous role was in Workplace Training and Assessment working within the VET Sector delivering the Early Childhood qualifications. In this role Carren delivered the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care to Year 11 and 12 students completing the General Pathway at school completing a qualification as per the WACE requirements as well as traineeships within the sector to educators completing the Certificate III as well as the Diploma of Early Childhood.

Carren's career background has included Senior Lecturing roles within training and assessment, Director and Early childhood educator. Carren has extensive experience within the Early Childhood sector and hold a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care, Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

As a mother to 2 children, Carren is passionate in ensuring to continue to advocate for the Early Childhood sector and encourage the next generation of educators to continue the passion growth and innovative thinking to the next generation of children.


Michelle Dolby

Manager of Practice Improvement NT

Michelle recently moved from Victoria to Darwin with her family. Michelle has two boys aged 14 and 11 and is looking forward to seeing all that Darwin has to offer. Michelle holds an Advanced Diploma in Community Sector Management and has been fortunate to work across different long day care services in the NT, NSW and Victoria, and has previously opened a new service with an inspired philosophy adapted from Reggio Emilia.

Michelle's passion lies with building respectful relationships with her team, families and children. She holds a strong belief for the rights of children and sees each as an individual. Michelle believes that every child has the right to be heard, and not just seen, and shown the respect we value as adults.


Casey Girdlestone

Manager of Practice Improvement WA

Casey has previously Directed both of our WA Early Learning Services and achieved an Exceeding rating while the Director of our Lockridge Campus.

As an Aboriginal woman Casey strongly believes in championing the rights of all children and providing families a culturally safe environment to engage in. Casey spends time advocating for the rights of First Nations People and working towards universal access of Early Education for all children.

Casey oversees and supports our Lockridge Campus WA, Harrisdale Early Learning WA and Nightcliff Campus NT and project work within WA.


Susan Murray

People and Culture Manager

Susan has Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management and brings over ten years of HR experience to the role of People and Culture Manager.

Originally from Canada, where she worked across various industries, she moved to Australia with her husband and three kids in 2016. For the last few years, she has mainly worked in the not for profit sector in Aged Care prior to joining the team at Child Australia.

Susan is passionate about ensuring that the employee experience is positive. She feels strongly that employees should look forward to going to work each day and she likes to embed programs and processes that help create a positive work environment.


Arlette Bruggeman

Marketing & Communications Manager

Arlette comes with a diverse background of national and international experience. Her home country is the Netherlands, and she gained her community marketing, engagement and project experience all around the world; Italy, Rwanda, South Africa and Australia.
Arlette arrived in Australia in 2012 and first resided in Tasmania for 5 years before moving to WA, Perth. Arlette has worked in several NFP organisations related to the Local Community, Education and Early Childhood Sector.
She has a Bachelor and Master degree with specialisation in marketing, management and city placemaking around sport, culture and tourism from the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands. She has further developed herself in Australia by completing a Diploma in Project Management and a Certificate in Community Engagement. Recently Arlette has started her Master in Early Childhood Teaching at ECU.
Arlette has two young daughters, who have sparked and continue to raise her interest in the Early Years Sector, a sector which she strives to make an impact in.


Dale Wright

Manager of ICT and Digital Transformation

Dale is a experienced Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Digital Transformation Manager with a demonstrated history of working across a broad range of sectors including the Education, Not-For-Profit, Government and private sector throughout the UK and Australia.

Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Open Information Technology Systems, Dale also holds a Higher National Diploma in Software Engineering, a Higher National Certificate in Business Information Systems and PRINCE 2 project management formal qualifications.

Dale has recently completed his under graduate certificate in Management and Leadership from the Deakin University and is looking to commence the masters program at the start of 2022.