I'm originally from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
I grew up in Devon Meadows, outside Cranbourne, ~40km south east of Melbourne. Dad (Ray) had bought 3 acres of scrub, and built a house. It was a bit tough on Mum, (Carole), with three boys under 5 years old, plenty of black dirt, tank water, and no car or licence. Stephen, Mark and I had a wonderful childhood playing in the bush.
I went to Devon Meadows Primary School, followed by Doveton High School. When Stephen and Mark were zoned to Koo Wee Rup High School, I switched there for Year 10. I went on to study Applied Science at Melbourne University and did a Diploma of Education at Melbourne Teachers' College. In the 1990's, I completed my Master of Education back at Melbourne University.
I've been a teacher for all my working life. I began, as a foundation staff member, at Cranbourne High School, where I met my former wife in 1976. After 8 years there I had one of the opportunities of a lifetime, to be one of the foundation staff members at the new Langwarrin Post Primary School.
I had a fabulous year there, and learned more about teaching and education than in the previous eight years. Then, after a free trip to the U.S. and Brazil, courtesy of Rotary, what appeared to be an incredible school in Hiroshima lured me away. However, it turned out to not live up to the publicity, and my family and I were back within a year. I loved Hiroshima and Japan, and still have friends there.
After 8 years (with a 6-month stint at the Narre Warren School Support Centre) I moved to Ballam Park Secondary College and had some very successful experience managing change. In the aftermath of the merger to create Karingal Park Secondary College I picked up a job as Professional Development Coordinator at Springvale Secondary College.
After a year and a half, I had personal problems, and took advantage of another opportunity to teach overseas, at Bali International School. I worked with some wonderful people there. After one of the many upheavals, for which the school is well known, I did a range of things, including freelance writing, editing for the Bali Echo magazine, being the National Trainer for the Indonesian Cricket Foundation (and Captain of the Bali International Cricket Club) and selling advertising space in the East Timor Sun newspaper.
Helen and I had met, as colleagues, in Bali, and we were offered jobs as teachers at Sekolah Ciputra, in Surabaya. Helen successfully applied for the vacant primary principal job before we actually began there, and, after 8 months, I was offered the newly-created secondary equivalent in the High School. We both loved seeing the way the school developed into an International Baccalaureate (IB) World school. In particular, we were continually amazed at the enthusiasm of our Indonesian colleagues and their development into professional educators.
We then did a year in Guangzhou, which is a really nice place to live, particularly with all the work that went into the preparation for the Asian Games. From there, we returned to Indonesia to work a small school in Jakarta. As too often happens on the international education circuit, things did not go as expected. We took the plunge and established MV Education Services, which provides us with some really interesting experiences and enough income to more than get by.
After three and a half years in Jakarta, even though we were finding plenty of work, throughout Asia and in Dubai, we decided to return to Australia. We had bought a house in Sawtell, a lovely seaside village just out of Coffs Harbour. The property was pretty much a blank slate, so we've spent the first year painting, renovating and gardening. It is pretty much up to our exacting lifestyle standards, but there is always something that can be improved.
At the end of September, 2014, I had a health scare, and had two heart valves repaired. I didn't expect to feel quite so bad or take quite so long to recover. My doctor reckons I've made the best recovery she has ever seen (touch wood). I had another set back with a close shave with a burst appendix, on a work trip to India, early in 2015. However, we cycle, walk and get to the gym regularly and I generally feel pretty good.
We both do a fair bit of international travel for work, particularly Helen, with her new role as one of the main mentors for IB primary educators in the Asia Pacific. I'm at the stage where I am happy to stay home and hang out with Machiato, our cat, but there are still a few irons in the fire.
Life in Sawtell is very, very nice, and one does not need to be wealthy to enjoy it. The airport is 10 minutes away, and gives us quick access to Sydney, and then the rest of the country and the rest of the world. I intend doing enough to keep me sane, including writing for the Coffs Coast News Of The Area, but not so much that I forget how to enjoy life.