The SALT Approach Team

Team members bring their skills and experience together to achieve SALT’s objective – to promote the knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith through hands-on educational materials and doctrinally anchored programs.

Bringing Christ to Children

Dr Anne-Marie Irwin
Chief Executive Officer
Cathy Willis
Chief Operating Officer
Mary English
Production Manager
Miguel Zaragoza
Creative Content Manager
Julia Herrenberg
Office Manager
Virginia Scott
Production Assistant
Dr Pamela van Oploo
Consultant
Rachel Lavallee
Consultant
Mary-Anne Meyer
Consultant
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Dr Anne-Marie Irwin

Chief Executive Officer

Dr Anne-Marie Irwin is the Founder of The SALT Approach. 

Having taught in Catholic and independent schools for over 35 years, she is currently an adjunct lecturer at the University of Notre Dame in Australia and a religious education consultant.

The development of The SALT Approach began in 2012 with Anne-Marie’s doctoral studies relating to religious education in Catholic schools. The six-year study, based on the work of Montessori, Cavalletti and O’Shea, produced many exciting moments as she captured the experience of children encountering Christ through the materials.  The wonder and awe of those moments, together with the realisation of how they were created, became the catalyst for SALT as it is today.

In essence, the idea was simple and was brought to life by the natural spirituality and openness of the children themselves.  Their imagination and senses were bursting with colour and creativity.  They learned as they engaged with the materials.

Other vital elements became increasingly clear.  Teachers are time-poor and need to have resources on-hand, ready to complement their lesson plans.  It also became apparent that varying levels of RE knowledge needed support.

SALT has therefore evolved to combine both hands-on resources and presentation booklets incorporating clear doctrinal pointers and explicit guidelines for successful implementation.  Importantly, the “I wonder” questions, anchored in the physical presentations, create deep levels of engagement as the children ponder through independent ‘choice’ activities. 

All of this has also opened a way for sacramental coordinators, catechists, parents and grandparents to confidently pass on the Catholic faith.

Currently Anne-Marie spends her time managing the development of materials and programs tailored for schools,  pre-schools and parishes.

She has a passion for recognising the good, the true and the beautiful as manifested in history, art, music, literature and film.

Cathy Willis

Chief Operating Officer

Cathy is Chief Operating Officer of SALT, having joined in December 2022.   Her business background includes board level and strategic management roles in the employment placement and recruitment services field across a broad range of industries. 

Cathy oversees the operational activities of SALT, including establishing production and supply chains for the resources and meeting the requirements of local and international markets.

Current projects managed by Cathy include the introduction of resource libraries and cost-saving improvements to increase accessibility. 

As a mother and grandmother, she is particularly interested in the potential SALT has to empower non-teachers with the means to create deep memories in children as they discover their faith in an experiential way.

Mary English

Production Manager

Mary oversees the production of all SALT materials and plays a key role in managing the co-ordination of suppliers, raw materials, artists and manufacturers.  Being one of the earliest employees, she has worked closely with Anne-Marie to help develop products from concept through to production and plays a key role in establishing supply chains and volume manufacturing.

Mary has a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts from Campion College Australia, majoring in theology and literature.  She sees the effectiveness of using tangible, intricate materials in the teaching of the faith to expand the opportunities for religious experiences available to children.

Miguel Zaragoza

Creative Content Manager

Miguel has responsibility for the design and delivery of our online and digital capability.  A key focus for him is The Learning Hub, visual product development and printed materials.  He has an extensive background in film and media having worked with Parousia Media and EWTN in Australia for the past 8 years.  He has also taught animation, editing and visual effects at the Australian Film, Radio & Television School.

Miguel is married and has recently become a father.  He is an experienced catechist and passionate about the power of “story”.  He sees that power strongly demonstrated through SALT’s approach and the way it creates experiences for children, leading them closer to God.

Rosanna Abrams

Accountant

Rosanna manages the accounting functions and regulatory compliance for SALT.  She holds a Bachelor of Business and was a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia and NZ for 40 years.

She is a catechist with 30 years experience and volunteers in the public school system in Australia.  She is a mother of eight and grandmother of five.  

Rosanna enjoys using the SALT materials with her grandchildren, watching their faith develop and grow.

Julia Herrenberg

Office Manager

Julia has a long standing history in the educational field having worked with large independent schools since 1997 and the operation of family day care centres prior to that.  Her background includes the establishment of systems and procedures, quality assurance and reporting standards.  As Office Manager at SALT she ensures our efficient operation and is our key person in administration. 

Julia has found that the Christocentric and scriptural focus of The SALT Approach has a transformative impact for teachers and children alike.

Julia is a mother of four and a busy grandmother of fourteen.  She splits her time between family in Sydney and at her family’s farm in country NSW.

Virginia Scott

Production Assistant

Virginia started her relationship with SALT as a volunteer in the art room, and later joined in a formal capacity as a Production Assistant.  She is trained in fashion, pattern making and grading, and is responsible for overseeing fabric-based resources, mould making and many of the other hands-on materials.  

Virginia is a mother of four and soon to be a grandmother.  She has experience as a catechist at both primary and senior school levels and sees the effectiveness of the hands-on way SALT engages children.

Dr Pamela van Oploo

Consultant

Dr Pamela van Oploo is a university lecturer at the University of Notre Dame, Australia who teaches in the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Education.  Her academic interests lie in religious education and educational philosophy, with a specialisation in Thomistic educational philosophy.  

She is intensely involved in a variety of teaching activities at the parish, diocesan and tertiary level and draws on her experience as a former secondary school teacher and catechist to primary school students in the research and production of many religious teaching resources.

Pamela works collaboratively with Dr Anne-Marie Irwin in the development of SALT programs and materials.  This currently involves the development of the SALT Sacrament Series for parishes and the design of materials suitable for tertiary students preparing to become primary school teachers.  Together with Anne-Marie, she conducts SALT Professional Development courses such as the Sacraments Professional Development course which qualifies as an advanced standing course for post graduate teachers at the University of Notre Dame Australia and Campion College.

Rachel Lavallee

Consultant

Rachel holds a Bachelor of Arts in Clinical Psychology and Theology, and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Franciscan University of Steubenville.

She was introduced to SALT while tutoring Theology courses at the University of Notre Dame, Sydney.  Through engaging with the SALT resources herself and guiding students in their use, she saw the effectiveness of the SALT Approach in drawing students into a state of wonder, which leads to contemplation of God.

She has experience catechising students ages 6 to late adulthood and has been involved in both youth ministry and campus ministry.  She is an avid write and is currently seeking publication for her first novel.

Rachel currently assists in the development of the Sunday Liturgy curriculum.

Mary-Anne Meyer

Consultant

Mary-Anne has a Bachelor of Education, majoring in music.  She has worked in pre, primary and high school education.

Mary-Anne has much experience as a religious education teacher and as a catechist in parishes and state schools.

Mary-Anne is particularly interested in how the SALT Approach provides an avenue, not only for the gifted and talented, but also for children with special needs, in their journey towards God.

She values the way that the SALT Approach fosters a sense of wonder and awe and the way that music and art can play a part in this.