Who We Are
Dr WJ (Bill) Martin – Registered Psychologist
Originally, Bill was a NSW Department of Education teacher and District School Counsellor. He taught in many Infants, Primary and Secondary schools. In 1969, he was promoted to Special Master at Granville Boys High School. In that same year, he and his wife Alexia Martin, also established Cumberland Education.
Also at this time Bill began his academic career, culminating as a Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Western Sydney (UWS). During that time, until he retired in 1991, he was responsible for the introduction and teaching of undergraduate and postgraduate programs and courses in Education, Educational Administration and School Counselling. He also taught different Educational Administration units within the university’s Nursing and Business schools.
Bill’s interest in education also led him for a period of time to teach literacy to prisoners at Parklea Correctional Centre.
Concurrent with his academic career, Bill co-founded SPELD, a national charity catering for the needs of children and adults who have Learning Difficulties. For the following 28 years he was a member of the Management Committee and for many years the Vice President of SPELD. He is an honourary life member of this now national charity.
During these years, Bill also went on to complete his PhD at the University of Utah, graduating Magnum cum Laude. It was at this university, where Bill accepted the position of Director of the Competency based Learning Laboratory. He is a widely published author in a variety of Australian and international journals, writing on various educational topics.
Over his many years working in education, Bill has been asked to present at many educational institutions, conferences and workshops, both domestically and internationally including Canada, The united states, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Hong Kong. In addition, in Papua New Guinea, Bill was asked to assist the University of Port Moresby to help restructure their Faculty of Education. He also lectured school administrators and assisted policy advisers on different aspects of school and education administration.
Bill has been an active member of the Australian Psychological Society since 1970.
Of note was Bill’s involvement in the Australian Army 12th Psychology Corps. Here he co-authored and developed the Australian Army Officer Selection and Training Program.
Bill’s personal strengths lie in his passion, commitment and tenacity when fighting for the rights of students who have learning difficulties. In particular, throughout his career, he has fought for the term Dyslexia to be understood and recognised in Australia, as it is in the United States and United Kingdom, and for students to receive appropriate and effective diagnosis and treatments.
Mrs Alexia Martin – Literacy Specialist/Educational Consultant
Alexia began a teaching degree at Westmead Teachers College NSW in 1974.
With her husband Dr Bill Martin, she opened the first ‘Cumberland Education’ Centre in Granville NSW known as “Cumberland Reading School”. At that time Alexia and Bill Martin, and a team of teaching specialists, offered group literacy programs for students with learning difficulties, special education classes for students who have intellectual disabilities, and speed reading programs for those who had reading fluency difficulties.
In the mid 1980’s Alexia moved offices to Westmead NSW, opposite the newly built Westmead Hospital, where rooms were shared with an audiologist. However, as her business was constantly growing, Alexia then moved the centre to Oatlands NSW, which had the space to accommodate the many students who attended the individual 1:1 lessons and assessment services. The business then became known as the “Cumberland Reading and Education Centre” which was a title that recognized the need in the community for a service that caters for students who not only had literacy issues, but who also needed a more holistic focus on broader education difficulties.
Alexia has presented at many conferences and workshops. She has trained hundreds of teachers in many best practice teaching techniques and strategies. She continues to work collaboratively with schools, and with all levels of staff, to achieve best outcomes for her clients. Her expertise in this field is often called upon by other special educators, allied health workers, and medical professionals.
Over the years, Alexia has taught thousands of students. The majority of these students had significant Specific Learning Difficulties (SLD) manifesting in Dyslexia. Her wealth of experience means that there is little she doesn’t know in terms of teaching students who have learning difficulties specifically, and those who have special learning needs more generally.
Alexia’s expertise lies in knowing what practical and evidenced based strategies need to be taken to ensure students achieve to their full level of learning potential.
Alexia’s personal strength lies in her warmth and compassion, and her desire to do everything in her power to help students develop and learn as effectively as possible.
Nicole Martin – Registered Psychologist
Nicole began her academic studies with a Bachelor of Education in 1994 majoring in Educational Psychology. Early in her studies, Nicole also began tutoring in primary and high school mathematics and literacy at Cumberland Education.
Nicole continued her academic studies and finished her Master of Education (Spec Ed) degree at the University of Sydney in 1998 and went on to teach in both mainstream and special education settings such as ESL, Intensive Reading, and Special Education classes.
In 2000, Nicole established and managed education centres in Campbelltown, Penrith and Ballina. During this time, she also taught in a satellite class for the Autistic Association in Minto NSW. Here she gained invaluable skills in working with children on the Autism spectrum.
In 2002 she completed her Post Graduate Diploma in Science (Psychology) and then undertook a 2 year psychology registration program. During this time, Nicole was also employed by the Catholic Education Office as a Guidance Officer, conducting assessments on students in the Parramatta diocese to assist with identifying student cognitive, learning and behavioural difficulties, and in turn assisting schools access appropriate support. She was also responsible for delivering professional development to Special Education teachers within the Diocese.
In 2005, Nicole began working at the Ministry of Education New Zealand, with children who were described as having “severe and challenging behaviour”. Here she worked collaboratively with many stakeholders in a multi-disciplinary way, with the goal of measuring and improving student behavioural outcomes. She was also responsible for the case management of students who had special needs within mainstream school settings, including transitioning students who had special needs and/or severe and challenging behaviour, into and out of mainstream school settings. This required collaboration across early intervention, school and post school settings, with many government and independent agencies.
Nicole is trained in:
- Level 4 & 5 Positive Parenting Program (PPP) – Triple P is a program that gives parents simple and practical strategies to help them confidently manage their children’s behaviour, prevent behaviour problems from developing, and build strong and healthy relationships.
- Seasons for Growth – a school based program for helping children cope with grief, loss, separation, and divorce.
- FRIENDS – a school based program for helping students cope with Anxiety and Depression.
She has also completed the course work for the Graduate Diploma in Systemic Therapy, run by Relationships Australia.
Since her registration, Nicole has worked collaboratively in Cumberland Education, as a registered psychologist. Her strengths lie in her ability to use assessment tools to accurately understand how students learn best, what they find difficult and why, and then devise educational programs and strategies to achieve maximum student improvement.
She has presented at various conferences, staff in-services and educational expos. She has also attended many Individual Educational Program (IEP) and Individual Behavioural Program (IBP) meetings as part of working with her students.
Nicole’s personal strengths lie in her empathy as well as her unique ability to blend educational psychology with 20 years of hands-on teaching/classroom experience.
Julia Martin – Speech & Language Therapist
Julia’s academic and vocational background is unique in that she trained and worked as a registered pharmacist and practicing lawyer at Baker & McKenzie (top 5 international law firm), part completed her MBA, and had organisational management roles at Gilbert & Tobin (Australia’s leading IT & communications law firm) and Reed Elsevier (the world’s largest international publisher). This experience culminated in Julia being subsequently headhunted for an overseas senior leadership position for an American consulting organisation.
Whilst Julia’s senior leadership role had her living and working in many international cities, with great focus on London, New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong, she decided she wanted a sea-change and to return to Australia. Additionally, like the rest of her family, she wanted to experience the rewards gained by working with children and adults who experience difficulty in learning. To this end, Julia permanently relocated to Sydney and has several years studying full time in Sydney to realise her ‘sea-change’.
Whilst now working across a range of speech and language issues, Julia has an interest in and has subsequently developed a practice that focuses on developing literacy, and assisting children to achieve their full potential in learning.
Having Julia join the business has transformed what was ‘Cumberland Reading and Education Centre’ into a truly multi-disciplinary practice. The centre is now known as ‘Cumberland Education’ which is a name that recognizes its broad educational objectives, including educational psychology, speech and language, occupational therapy and literacy and learning specialists.
Throughout her career, Julia has undertaken pro bono work. For example:
- Whilst at Baker & McKenzie Julia provided pro bono work including being a member of the Management Committee of SPELD NSW, a now national charity her father Dr Bill Martin co-founded which catered for the needs of children and adults who have Learning Difficulties.
- Julia also assisted the then newly established National Children’s and Youth Law Centre (being jointly funded by the University of Sydney, University of NSW and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre). Julia was particularly active using her legal skills endeavouring to achieve justice for children who were not being provided with the educational support services they were entitled to receive under the law.
- She has worked pro bono as an alternate legal member of St Vincent’s Hospital Research and Ethics Committee (REC) supporting the permanent legal member, a globally recognized pre-eminent medico-legal barrister.
- Julia used her international corporate skills and was able to work pro bono for STARRTS (an organisation that provides services to refugees that have been tortured and/or traumatised). STARRTS initiated a pilot program combining the resources of individuals from ‘Corporate Australia’ with various community based refugee support services.
Julia is passionate about encouraging and empowering others to learn and question. Consequently she was privileged to accept a role as Course Facilitator with the Department of Medicine at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). This role required Julia to work as part of a multidisciplinary team where she wrote course materials, implemented and delivered both lectures and seminars and set and marked the examinations for the administrative law component of the post graduate pharmaceutical degree. Today the course has developed into the Master of Medical Sciences Drug Development.
Julia is currently working on a NSW Department of Justice initiative, being trained and accredited as a Witness Intermediary. The role is to reduce trauma and facilitate communication, with children who are required to give evidence in sexual assault criminal matters. Witness intermediaries are independent and are Officers of the Court, initially working with the NSW Police and subsequently if the matter goes to trial, appearing in the District Court.
Julia’s personal strengths lie in her honesty, caring nature and ‘legal eye’ for detail– this teamed with her knowledge of cutting edge, current Speech & Language practices, make a powerful combination.
Cumberland Education currently uses a variety of Occupational Therapy based assessments and treatment methods. Where applicable, we refer to several well respected Occupational Therapists for more intensive interventions, however at all times continuing to work with a multi-disciplinary approach.
Other Staff at Cumberland Education
Our tutoring staff is pooled from a diverse range of backgrounds. However, our focus at Cumberland Education is on employing individuals who display excellent teaching/tutoring skills, but who also are warm, encouraging, patient and positive people, who have the right personality for working with students who often have issues of low self-esteem, anxiety, and learning or language difficulties.
All staff are trained in our evidenced-based programs, and receive ongoing supervision and guidance from our clinical professionals.