When it comes to creating opportunities for young Aboriginal people, Yamatji woman Cheryl Lennox Bradley is a tireless crusader.
Coordinator and Aboriginal Liaison Officer at Mater dei College in
Edgewater, Cheryl is also a member of the Catholic Education Aboriginal
Committee (CEAC), as well as the chairperson of the state Aboriginal
Teaching Assistant Network.
Part counsellor, part teacher, part family support worker is how Cheryl describes her work at Mater Dei.
‘I could be sewing a button on someone’s uniform one moment, talking
about health issues the next, arranging a NAIDOC event in the morning
and heading out to visit a family in the afternoon. You’re not just
working with the Aboriginal kids at the school, you’re working with the
While she loves her work in the school context, Cheryl also relishes
the opportunity to be part of the bigger picture of Catholic Aboriginal
education through her work on the CEAC.
‘It’s a role where you’re at the
cutting edge of policy. You can have an input and you’re kept in the
loop in a close way about what’s going on in the local and national
contexts,’ says Cheryl.
Mentoring Catholic Education’s growing crop of Aboriginal Teaching
Assistants is another aspect of Cheryl’s work that gets her excited.
ideas and resources, making new friends and receiving advice and
support are key benefits of the network that Cheryl chairs.
Aboriginal Teaching Assistants are expected to hit the ground running in
a school and often they’re way out of their own cultural realm,’
Cheryl. ‘They absolutely love the support and friendship they get
through the network.’
While there is always more work to be done, Cheryl is proud of the
achievements of Catholic Aboriginal education: ‘We’re really leading the
here in WA. We have great networks, commitment from the top down,
good communication and real parental involvement.