Geraldine Atkinson is a Bangerang/Wiradjuri woman who has devoted her career to expanding the possibilities available to Koorie people through education. For over 30 years Geraldine has been a significant presence in the Koorie and wider Victorian community, beginning as a Teacher’s Aide in 1976 to her current role as President of the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Incorporated (VAEAI) since 1999.
Geraldine has an important role to play in contributing her direct experience of what works in community combined with her extensive policy knowledge. Geraldine regards this ability to act as a link between policy and community as her principal function. As a community leader Geraldine has worked hard to ensure that real progress is made for Koorie people. Geraldine has made a significant impact in the area of Early Childhood, and has always regarded education as being the best instrument of progress.
As IECB representative for Victoria, Geraldine has worked with counterparts in IECBs from all States and Territories in providing advice to the Education Council (formerly Standing Council on School Education and Early Childhood).
Geraldine has added her expertise in Early Childhood to committees at the local, State and National level including: the Premier’s Advisory Council Childcare (under Premier Steve Bracks, from 2003-04); National Childcare Accreditation Council 2005-2011; National Children’s Services Forum (Early Childhood Australia); Early Childhood Australia Reconciliation Committee.
Geraldine is the Deputy Chair of the Secretariat National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) and the Chair of Lulla’s Children and Family Centre in Shepparton.
In all of her roles in early childhood Geraldine has continued to assert VAEAI’s position that child care and kindergarten for Koorie children should be culturally appropriate, welcoming of Koorie families, and accessible to boost participation of Koorie families in early childhood settings and support the transition of Koorie children into school.