"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
— Winston Churchill
Justine Abell is a regional strategy support officer — DER. It is her job to design, develop, and deliver ongoing professional learning opportunities to teachers and nonschool-based staff members across the region to support them in the authentic integration of technology into teaching and learning activities.
She commenced her teaching career in 1987 at Barraba Central School where she taught 7–10 English/history, drama, and music before moving into the K–6 section of the school as a support teacher (Learning Difficulties). In 1999, Abell became assistant principal at Ben Venue PS in Armidale NSW, a large school consisting of nearly 30 staff members and around 740 students from K–6. During this time, she helped her staff integrate technology into both classroom and administrative offices.
In 2002, Abell became the computer skills assessment consultant for the Armidale and Clarence/Coffs Harbour Districts. In this position, she supported pilot schools across both districts in implementing the Computer Skills Assessment tests in Stage 3 (Year 6) and Stage 5 (Year 10). During these two years, she began to provide technology training and development workshops for both teaching and nonteaching staff.
During a department restructure at the end of 2003, Abell moved back to Newcastle as a deputy principal for Irrawang PS. She moved from there to a relieving principal's position at Gateshead West PS, helping the school staff with frequent in-service training in 21st century skills.
In 2005, Abell moved to Wallsend PS as assistant principal and computer coordinator for three years before relocating to Swansea District Office as drug education consultant for the Hunter Central Coast Region, a role she held for nearly four years prior to moving across into the DER. Throughout her career, Abell has always maintained her passion for using technology to engage students, enhance learning, improve systemic processes, and promote administrative efficiency.