Our team is a rich melting pot of passionate, highly skilled professionals from diverse backgrounds and faiths.
Rabbi Zalman Kastel AM - Dean and Founder
Rabbi Kastel was raised in the ultra-orthodox Hasidic tradition in the racially divided Crown Heights area of Brooklyn, New York. He saw the world through the lens of his absolute tradition and the narrative of his community. This changed in 2001 when encounters with Christians and Muslims transformed him. Rabbi Kastel has had a lot of laughter, surprises and dilemmas on his journey of interfaith cooperation and bringing positive experiences of diversity to young Australians. He is still a Hasidic Rabbi teaching bible study at Chabad House North Shore in Sydney. He was ordained as a Rabbi after study in the UK, Australia and the US, and completed a Graduate Diploma in Education with the University of New England, Armidale. In 2020, he was made a Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of his work on interfaith and intercultural understanding.
Dr Phil Lambert - Chief Executive Officer
Dr Phil Lambert PSM is an internationally recognised education expert. He has extensive experience in education as a principal; inspector; Regional Director (Sydney) and General Manager, Australian Curriculum where he led the development of Australia’s first national curriculum. He is Adjunct Professor at the University of Sydney and National President of the Australian College of Educators and has received a number of honours and awards. In the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours he was awarded the Public Service Medal for his outstanding contribution to education. In 2013 he was the recipient of the Australian College of Educators’ prestigious award, the Sir Harold Wyndham Medal and in 2020 he was the recipient of the NSW Teachers Guild’s Phyllis Evans Medal. Phil contributes to the community in various ways. He is Deputy Chair of Our Watch, the national foundation to prevent violence against women and their children and is the NSW Attorney General’s appointee on the NSW Children’s Court Advisory Committee. He has served as a Director on the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board, the Australian Children’s Television Foundation Board and recently Chaired the National Respectful Relationships Education Expert Group and the National Expert Group on the Financial Wellbeing of Young People.
Andrea Hogg - Education Officer
Andrea has a passion for education, administration and business management. She has extensive experience as a secondary Business Education teacher and as a tertiary enabling course lecturer. Andrea has held a variety of administration, coordination and leadership roles, including Head of Department. Andrea worked as Chaplaincy Coordinator for UnitingCare Queensland where she coordinated projects and supported the work of aged care and hospital chaplains. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Education, and is working towards a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration. Andrea explored her journey as a caring teacher through an autoethnographic paper, published in the International Studies in Widening Participation Journal in 2021. Based in Queensland, Andrea enjoys music, movies, reading and spending time with her husband and two young children.
Steve Barnett - Education Program Coordinator
Steve stems from a mix of Presbyterian, Mennonite and European Jewish ancestry. Having enjoyed a broadly secular upbringing, he was somewhat shocked to call himself a Christian in his mid-twenties. Since then, Steve has sought to embody his faith through principles such as living simply, prioritising relationships, peace building, creation care, Indigenous recognition and reconciliation, community engagement and global citizenship. Steve has had a varied career, with beginnings in geology followed by youth work, secondary school teaching, school chaplaincy, community engagement and international development. His role at TFH draws on his breadth of experience, and reflects his love of deep conversation, multiculturalism, faith and lifelong learning. Steve is married to Diana, and together they have raised three now adult children and dozens of chickens.
Tanja Hagedorn - Queensland Education Coordinator
Tanja has over 20 years’ experience in health, youth development, community and volunteer engagement in the US, South Africa and Australia. A skilled facilitator and mediator, she is committed to building inclusive processes in community settings, with a special interest in interfaith and intercultural dialogue. Her experience as a facilitator confirms her belief in the transformation of individuals, families and communities through authentic dialogue, creative and spiritual processes and quality education. She is passionate about challenging biases and societal norms, encouraging critical thinking and empowering people to use their voice to journey through conflict to find peaceful and lasting resolutions. Tanja loves travelling, reading historical fiction and spending time with her husband and three children. When she has a moment to herself, you can find her sweating in her local community boxing gym.
Aamon Sayed - Community Engagement Officer, Victoria
Aamon was born in South West Sydney. A community worker and educator, he has worked with at-risk youth, people struggling with addiction, victims of domestic violence and those who feel alienated because of their culture, faith or economic situation. Since 2013, he has strived to provide impactful grassroots programs that challenge and motivate young people to become their best selves. Energetic, passionate and actively involved in the community, Aamon hosts a popular podcast. He is currently completing a Bachelor of Social Work at Western Sydney University.
Nicky Sandler - Head of Communications
Nicky is a professional communicator whose areas of expertise span marketing, communications and writing. She has over 15 years’ experience designing marketing and communication strategies, managing large scale projects and producing compelling content. A passionate teacher, Nicky has taught communications and management at several universities as well as English as a Second Language. Nicky holds a Bachelor of Arts (English and French), Masters in Communication Management, Cambridge CELTA and Certificate IV in TESOL. She is inspired by working with bold organisations and crafting authentic, engaging stories that touch people. Bilingual in French, Nicky loves French language and fromage in equal measure.
Kathleen Gordon - Curriculum Advisor
Based in Queensland, Kathleen has taught in primary, secondary and tertiary sectors and worked on diverse curriculum projects including the United Nations Environment Programme (Teacher Education Project), and advised the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) on its development of the Australian Curriculum: History. Kathleen has considerable experience presenting at conferences, facilitating workshops and writing student and teacher materials for education and curriculum authorities, NGOs and professional associations. Most recently, she authored two chapters in the 8th edition of the university text Teaching Humanities and Social Sciences (Cengage Learning, 2019).
Marilyn Snider - Education Consultant
While she was with the Global Education Project, Marilyn delivered a framework for global education to universities, schools, organisations, teachers associations, and not-for-profit agencies. Marilyn now manages her own consultancy, writing, advocating, and delivering global education, leadership and curriculum advice to government and non-government organisations.