Board Members 2019/20

Susan Fleming – President

I have worked as an Educator for over 38 years as a Special Education Teacher, Behaviour Support Teacher, Guidance Officer and was Principal of Tennyson Special School a facility for students with Behaviour and Adjustment difficulties for 16 years. I am also a trained family therapist and counsellor.

I have been involved with the WGIA for over 17 years. I was introduced to Choice Theory when I completed my first basic week in 1999. It made a profound impact on my personal and professional life. It gave me the tools to take more personal responsibility for my life and allow others the opportunity to do the same. My learnings about Lead Management helped me be a better and more effective leader. I am a Basic Week Instructor, Advanced Practicum Supervisor, a Faculty Program Consultant and Take Charge of Your Life Facilitator.  In 2011 I completed the William Glasser Institute’s Advanced Certification developed by Joan Hoogstad. It is one of my passions to work with a group of us to gain accreditation for this course again.

I have worked as Regional Coordinator for Glassesr Australia SE Qld and have been a member of the board since 2006. I am the current President and have carried out the role of Fifth Director and previously two terms as Training Officer. I am passionate about providing quality training and exploring with others innovative ways to promote CT/RT/LM to the wider community and in courses that meet industry standards. I love connecting with our members as I am always inspired hearing about people’s personal journeys and the work that is being done to promote CT/RT/LM, the commitment to Glasser’s ideas and creative ways they are applied.

I have a strong commitment to promoting RT/CT/LM not only in the educational and Mental Health settings but also as a way to improve people’s quality of life and happiness.

John Cooper – Fifth Director

John began teaching in 1963, becoming a head teacher in 1966. Following NSW postings from 1963 (North Star, Goodooga, Bass Hill, Asquith, Goolgowi and Mullengandra) John spent eight years in Papua New Guinea in a range of schools. On returning to Australia, John became Principal at Darwin Primary School, then opened Jabiru Area School followed by a year at Bradshaw Primary before becoming the first Principal of the new Anzac Hill High School in Alice Springs.

John began his Choice Theory journey while completing his Bachelor of Education at Flinders University in 1985. That work gave him the vision to create Anzac Hill High School (1987) based on Dr William Glasser’s work in “Schools Without Failure”; schools are designed for failure, punishment versus discipline defined, Glasser’s classes and the Classroom Meeting Model). John learned about the WGIA Institute in 2001. By 2009, before John’s retirement, all staff (including canteen person, gardener, front office) had completed at least Basic Intensive Training – three Certificated. Thanks to Faculty Judy Hatswell, Jean Suffield, Maggie Bolton and Sylvia Habel.

Proudest moments for John were; his school being recognised as one of 100 “Innovative and Best Practice” schools in 1998 and winning the John Laing Professional Development Award in 2005. John focused on the holistic wellbeing of his school’s community incorporating cultural understandings with Choice Theory and adopting a bilingual vision statement in the local language, Arrernte and English. National awards for parental engagement and literacy success were significant successes.
John was Vice President then President Northern Territory Principals’ Association and Member of Australian Secondary Principals’ Association Executive during the period 1998 to 2005.
John completed his Master of Education, majoring in Performance Management and gained Certificates in Reality Therapy and Investigations whilst working as a principal. John is currently a Practicum Supervisor and works occasionally on short term contracts with Indigenous college students and teaches in the local juvenile detention centre.

John has seven children and so far, seven grandchildren. John describes one of his happiest times being when partner Rae organised a family 70th birthday party at Cairns.

To show he is “balanced”, he is currently President of the Eagles Rugby Union Football Club, Alice Springs Town Band, Eisteddfod Council, and a member of a motoring club and a youth arts body.
John is most proud of the opportunities presented to play rugby union (and rugby league) wherever he was posted as a teacher and being a founding member of the Goondiwindi Emus, South Darwin Bunnies, Jabiru Bush Rats and The Todd Tavern Eagles in Alice Springs. He played in his last competition game for Eagles in 2013.

Sheryl Matwijkiw – Treasurer

Sheryl has been involved with Glasser Australia for a number of years in varying capacities: Regional Co-Ordinator, Secretary and currently,Honorary Treasurer. “Choice Theory changed my life. I have built lasting friendships and learned skills to manage my life and an understanding of want I want, why I behave the way I do and how to better get what I want. Knowing that the only person I can control is myself is very powerful and freeing.”

Sheryl is a book keeper and currently works for a Not for Profit Community Centre and Registered Training Organisation managing the finances and payroll. It is a culturally diverse centre offering English classes to refugees and migrants and Lifestyle classes for the local community, along with Aged Care and Disability courses. This is a great working environment for modelling choice theory.

Sheryl has been involved in a number of National Conferences (Cairns, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Alice Springs, Adelaide) and International Conferences (Sydney and Los Angeles), with the latest being the WGNZ conference in Cambridge, NZ. These are times of fun, learning, travel and connecting with other like minded people in wonderful parts of the world.

Maureen Sansom –  Secretary

With the support and encouragement from inspirational leaders such as Nancy Snow, Judy Hatswell, Ivan Honey, Liz Tham, Garry Garnaut and Bette Blance, it has been an absolute honour for me to become Certified in Choice Theory, Lead Management and Reality Therapy as well as a facilitator of the Take Charge of Your Life program.

I will also be forever grateful to my wonderful mentor Joan Hoogstad who taught me how to love and accept myself whilst participating in training for the Advanced Certification in the Clinical Practice of Reality Therapy.

During 2017, I was the co-ordinator of the William Glasser Institute Australia – ‘We know ……. could we know better?’  conference held in Newcastle. It was an honour to be connected to those who attended the conference and to those who continue to teach Choice Theory to help the people of the world to be happier by having need-satisfying relationships.

I am fortunate to have lived near Newcastle in the beautiful Hunter region of New South Wales all my life. As a child I lived on dairy farms and as an adult I have lived in the tourist region called Port Stephens.

I have worked in Administrative roles all my working life and have been employed by the Department of Education for the past 22 years. I commenced my Choice Theory journey in 2007 when I was employed at special educational setting for students with challenging behaviours.

Not only was it a privilege to work in this environment, it was the beginning of a life-changing ‘born again’ type of excitement when I was introduced to Choice Theory psychology. Little did I know of changes I could and would make to my inner self – I hardly recognise myself as being the same person I was 10 years ago!

Having worked in an environment with children who have been subjected to all types of trauma, I have found I have a great sense of empathy for them and their families. I feel very connected to them and have had a sense of urgency to build better relationships whilst sharing my stories and presenting the Take Charge of Your Life program. As my wise mentor Joan Hoogstad taught me – “Our experience may be different, but our struggles are the same”.

My focus is on relationships, not only the relationships we have with others, but equally the relationship we have with ourselves. It is encouraging to know that science is proving that we can stimulate our brains for more fulfilling relationships, a greater sense of self, inner confidence and self-worth by simply changing our thoughts to enable us to ‘re-wire’ our brain. Imagine a world where everyone operated from a place of love, rather than from a place of fear and control.

Denise Landers – Newsletter Editor

Dee (Denise) Landers has worked in Education in Australia for thirty years in both Victoria and Queensland. For more than fifteen of these years she has worked as a School Guidance Counsellor in Far North Queensland, working with students with disabilities, learning difficulties and students experiencing disengagement and cultural and locational marginalisation. Denise was introduced to Choice Theory over ten years ago and in 2011 she completed the William Glasser Institute’s Advanced Certification with Joan Hoogstad.

Denise gains most satisfaction from promoting Choice Theory, self-management and positive relationships among colleagues and students. She fully supports and practices Dr William Glasser’s philosophy, that if you teach Choice Theory to people they can learn to help themselves and improve the quality of their lives. Denise recently coordinated the WGI Australia conference held in October 2015 at the Ramada Marcoola on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

The role of the Training Officer is to organise Accredited Training for Glasser Australia to meet the needs of both those requesting training and also the Instructors and Supervisors who are Faculty of Glasser Australia, in a fair and equitable way, while maintaining a strong focus on quality. As a member of the Board, the Training Officer provides written reports of training activity and supports the broader work of the Board as directed in the Strategic Plan.


Sue Berry – Training Officer

I am currently a semi-retired Clinical Counsellor in Port Lincoln, South Australia, having moved into counselling after leaving teaching in 2010. Originally from Adelaide, I have lived on Eyre Peninsula for 43 years. I have 25 years’ experience in education on in both the State and Catholic system, firstly as a mathematics teacher and then mainly in creating, coordinating and supporting programs for secondary age students with special needs in a mainstream setting.

While at St Joseph’s School in Port Lincoln I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend a Basic Intensive Training with Joan Hoogstad a Senior Faculty member of the WGI-A, in 2003. A life changing moment or two! In 2010 I was part of the group which completed the Graduate Diploma in Reality Therapy, also presented by Joan – more life changing moments!

I am a Practicum Supervisor and a Basic Intensive Training Instructor. Since 2014 have been very involved an exciting, local community-based project called Mentally Fit EP whose overall vision is to “flip mental illness on its head” and to create a mentally fit, connected community. My role is to deliver mental health education by presenting Take Charge of Your Life courses to interested community members.

I am passionate about CT/RT/LM and particularly about challenging the status quo around mental health by creating ways to encourage people to have the opportunity to learn about Dr Glasser’s ideas, particularly the focus on relationships. I enjoy thinking and learning about the ways new knowledge in neuroscience fits in with the existing Choice Theory model and I am especially interested in ways CT can be used to understand the impact of childhood trauma to further inform RT counselling approaches. I have met so many inspiring people during my 15 year CT journey and I count myself very fortunate to have these connections in my life.


Jeff Steedman – Publicity Officer

Jeff Steedman has been involved in counselling, teaching and consulting for over 30 years. He is CEO of Choice Practice Institute, owner of Riviera Counselling Service and a faculty member of William Glasser Institute International.

Jeff has devoted his life to helping people in all walks of life to take charge of their lives. He lives and breathes choice theory, using it in his personal life as well as delivering training and program development in schools, businesses and organisations throughout Australia.

Jeff has previously been Secretary of Glasser Australia and Victorian Regional representative. He started the world’s first ever “Take Charge of Your Life” meetup group in Melbourne Australia.

He continues to work with industry, schools, organisations and individuals, helping take Choice theory to the world.