Our People

Our Team

Shiron Kirkman

Centre Manager

Shiron holds a degree in Library and Information Science with a major in marketing through Charles Sturt University. She has spent over 20-years as a marketing and project management professional; with a host of transferable skills, drawing on diverse experience in the public and private sectors and specialising in strategy, digital marketing and management. After completing her Certificate IV Training and Assessment, Shiron gained experience in adult education through teaching foundation skills after hours.

In 2021, she joined CUC Western Riverina as an Academic Advisor and as Communications/Business Support before accepting the Centre Managers role.

Maddi Ramponi

Centre Support & First Year Advisor

Maddi is not only our First Year Advisor and admin extraordinaire; she is a high achieving student at CUC Western Riverina studying a double degree from the University of New England in Law and Criminology. Maddi was the first School Captain at Murrumbidgee Regional High School, and also doubles as our University of Wollongong Future Me Student Mentor. She is passionate about ensuring regional and rural students are able to access equitable education and understands the challenges associated with studying online.

Maddi joined the CUC Western Riverina team in 2022 as an Administrative Assistant, and transitioned to the role of Centre Support in 2024. Her duties also encompass establishing and driving the implementation of the First Year Advisor pilot program in the Western Riverina region.

Filomena Pingiaro

Widening Participation Officer

Filomena brings a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of regional communities to her role as the Widening Participation Officer. With her background in various fields including agriculture, employment, disabilities, and the carer sector, she is well-equipped to address the unique challenges faced by individuals in regional areas. Having lived and worked in regional areas, Filomena is passionate about ensuring that location and individual circumstances do not act as a barrier to accessing educational opportunities. Her commitment to supporting parents, carers, and young people in navigating higher education reflects her belief in the importance of education as a pathway to fulfilling career goals.

In her role, Filomena will work closely with local schools and community groups to raise awareness about educational opportunities and provide support to parents and carers. By building aspirations and providing guidance, she aims to empower young people to pursue their academic and professional ambitions.

Amy Brown

Academic Advisor

Amy Brown completed a Bachelor of Science & Nutrition at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, finishing in the top 2% of her university, before going on to work as a food Product Developer. She has studied in Sweden, as well as by distance for many years, and is passionate about connecting with and supporting students in their learning journey. Along with her role as an Academic Advisor here at CUC, Amy works part-time with her local church and is mum to four beautiful young children.

Oumi Karenga-Hewitt

Academic Advisor

Oumi Karenga-Hewitt holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Language & Literature (with Film Studies) and is currently studying a Master of Teaching - Secondary, specialising in English and Drama. Oumi is extremely passionate about the arts and supporting the local community – she is Chair of Western Riverina Arts, and an active member of theatre group GRAPA. In 2023, she coordinated the Griffith Screen Industry Forum which brought screen professionals to Griffith and was a local teaching artist for NIDA Connect Regional Outreach Program, where she delivered Acting and Writing for Performance workshops.

After over a decade in Marketing, Oumi joined the CUC Western Riverina team as an Academic Advisor, and has also held roles as Business Support and Centre Coordinator.

Christie Talbot

Academic Advisor (Leeton)

Christie Talbot holds a Bachelor of Law/Arts (Honours) from the Australian National University and has worked in various roles in the Australian Parliamentary Library, National Library, and education sector. She completed a Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary) at Charles Sturt University through studying by distance and continues to work as an English Teacher at a local school. Christie is passionate about the arts, agriculture, and contributing to community development.

Luke Wright

Postgraduate Academic Advisor

Luke Wright embarked on his academic journey at the University of New England, where he completed his Bachelor of Psychological Science in 2023. He is currently pursuing a Master of Neuroscience at the same esteemed institution, with an expected completion date in early 2025. Throughout his academic career, Luke has consistently maintained a high standard of excellence, as evidenced by his impressive GPA of 6.75. His engagement in the field extends beyond theoretical knowledge, as he actively works within the domain, applying his understanding and skills in real-world contexts.

Our Board

David Martin

Chair

David Martin is Executive Officer of Western Riverina Community College and Western Riverina Community School, Through additional board roles with Community Colleges Australia, David has also helped to develop and strengthen the contribution of community colleges across Australia.

David is a graduate of Queensland Agricultural College and holds a Master of Education Leadership and Policy, in addition to a Bachelor of Adult Learning and Development, both from Monash University. He also holds various qualifications in business and accounting a. Also known for his involvement in the community,

David received the Governor-General’s Award for services provided to Scouting Australia in 2011 and was named ACT Rugby Volunteer of the Year. A keen sailor in his leisure time, David completed a two-week sailing voyage from Australian to New Zealand aboard HMB Bark Endeavour (replica) in 2019.

Brett Stonestreet

Non-Executive Director

Brett Stonestreet was appointed as Griffith City Council's General Manager in August 2011.

Brett has over 40 years of experience in local government and has spent a significant period of that time as a CEO, Group Manager and General Manager in Moyne Shire (Victoria), Gunnedah Shire, Cobar Shire and Barraba Shire councils.

Jackie Kruger

Non-Executive Director

Jackie commenced as General Manager of Leeton Shire Council in August 2015. Jackie came to the Riverina from Tamworth where she held the position of Director Planning and Community Services.

Jackie holds qualifications in natural resource management, a Bachelor of Applied Science in Forestry/Conservation from Stellenbosch University, and a Masters in Environmental Education from Rhodes University.

Elijah Ingram

Non-Executive Director

Elijah Ingram joined the CUC Western Riverina board in 2022, is the Creative Officer for Western Riverina Arts, and is co-founder of local Aboriginal Production company, Miil Miil Productions. Elijah is a proud Wiradjuri man, Digital Artist and a NSW Aboriginal Land Council Youth Advisory Committee member who has represented First Nations youth at the United Nations’ twelfth session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He also recently attended the Initiatives of Change, Caux Forum in Switzerland, as part of Global Indigenous Dialogue.

As Creative Officer for Western Riverina Arts, Elijah develops digital arts initiatives and ways to fund, partner, and create projects that can lead to long-term employment outcomes and economic sustainability of the digital arts in the Western Riverina.

Dr. Mohammed Mofreh

Non-Executive Director

A distinguished figure in the medical fraternity, Dr. Mohammed Mofreh brings a rich tapestry of experience and cultural insight to his role as a Non-Executive Director. Born in Cairo, Dr. Mofreh's graduated in 1972 with a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery, coupled with Islamic Studies, followed by a Master of Surgery in 1983 from Al-Azhar University.

Dr. Mofreh's worked in Egypt for over 20 years, after which he extended his expertise to Namibia and South Africa, serving as a Senior Medical Officer and Medical Superintendent in various hospitals. In 2003, he relocated to Australia, working at Griffith Base Hospital as a Senior Medical Officer and later as the Clinical Director of the Emergency Department until his retirement in 2015. Under his leadership, the hospital achieved remarkable accreditation milestones.

Dr. Mofreh completed a Diploma of Child Health from the University of Sydney in 2013 and served as a lecturer at the University of Sydney and the University of Wollongong between 2010 - 2015. Post-retirement, Dr. Mofreh dedicated himself to community service, particularly interested in closing the gap between Muslim and non-Muslim communities in and around Griffith.

Duncan Taylor

Non-Executive Director

Duncan Taylor is the founder of Country Universities Centre, and has served as the voluntary CEO. Duncan was the inaugural Chair of the original Cooma Universities Centre which later became the Country Universities Centre Snowy Monaro.  

Duncan is a former Member of the TAFE NSW Commission Board and former President of the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association of New South Wales, and previously sat on the Rural and Remote Education Advisory Group that advises the NSW Government and Department of Education on strategies to improve educational outcomes in rural and remote areas.