Welcome to LSA

The Legal Studies Association provides assistance to its Members to support them in their teaching and learning of Legal Studies. Membership gives you many benefits. Our highly acclaimed professional development opportunities are only available to Members. These events are designed by experienced teachers, to meet the needs of teachers and their students, and provide a mix of pedagogy and practical advice, aligned closely to the syllabus. These events also provide invaluable networking opportunities and the LSA Committee are always on-hand to provide additional information and support.

Our mission is to provide professional development for teachers, to enable them to engage and inspire their students, and support them to achieve their potential in Legal Studies.

Committee Bio

Keith Thomas


Keith Thomas

Keith Thomas has been a teacher of Legal Studies in four public high schools. He marked the HSC for 21 years, including 12 years as a Senior Marker. He has served as President and Deputy President of the LSA and is presently the editor of Legal Briefs. 

Keith is currently the Head Teacher of Administration at Cumberland High School.

  • Jennifer Venhuizen

    Deputy President - Community

    Jennifer Venhuizen

    Jennifer has been teaching Legal Studies since 2008. Prior to joining the teaching profession, Jennifer worked in law firms and the workers’ compensation industry. Jennifer is Head of Humanities at William Clarke College, Kellyville. Jennifer enjoys all parts of the syllabus and this year she taught the options of Workplace and Family. Jennifer gains great satisfaction from hearing that former students have pursued careers in the legal profession. 

  • Teresa O’Dwyer

    Deputy President - Operations

    Teresa O’Dwyer

    Teresa is the Head of Social Science at St Luke’s Grammar School in Dee Why on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. The teaching of Legal Studies is her passion. She has been teaching the subject since 2004 and marking the HSC since 2006. Teresa joined the LSA Committee in 2014. She has been involved in designing and delivering pedagogy, giving student revision lectures, and contributing to the LSA exams and Legal Briefs and helping to curate the LSA Facebook page.

  • Kate Kempthorne


    Kate Kempthorne

    Kate has been teaching since 1992, working in both state and independent education, but always teaching Legal Studies. She is a Life Member of the LSA and has been a Committee Member and the Secretary. Kate is passionate about legal education for young people and appreciates the opportunities that the LSA provides to students across the state. She enjoys supporting the professional development of teachers across NSW and meeting so many interesting people.

    Kate is the Legal Studies Coordinator at Barker College.

  • Judith Macdonald


    Judith Macdonald

    Judith Macdonald has been a teacher of Legal Studies in Victorian and NSW schools for over 40 years. She marked the HSC for 29 years for Legal Studies, as a marker, Judge Marker and Senior Marker. She is currently the Treasurer of the Legal Studies Association.

    Judith was the HSIE Co-ordinator at St Patrick’s College Sutherland for a number of years and retired at the end of 2019.

  • Natasha Isbel

    Committee Member

    Natasha Isbel

    Natasha has been an LSA Committee member since 2014 and began teaching Legal Studies in 2012 as a second career. She likes to share her passion for contemporary legal issues and building the literacy capacity of both students and teachers.

    Natasha currently teaches at Wenona in North Sydney and teaches the Family and Workplace options.

  • Erin Carney

    Committee Member

    Erin Carney

    Erin has been an LSA Committee Member since 2019, and has been teaching Legal Studies since 2015. Erin currently teaches at Freshwater Senior Campus in Sydney and has previously taught at Dubbo School of Distance Education. Her favourite topics are Crime, Consumers and contemporary law reform issues. Erin grew up in country NSW and has a particular interest in making the LSA’s offerings accessible to regional teachers and students.

  • Brian Elliott

    Committee Member

    Brian Elliott

    Brian was one of the founding Deputy Presidents of the LSA and was President from 2001 to 2009. He has been an HSC Marker, Senior Marker and the Chief Examiner for Legal Studies. Brian is proud to have worked with the Association to organise high quality conferences, workshops and student lectures, and to have had a leadership role in revising the syllabus. Working with many fine educators through the LSA has been a highlight of his professional career. Brian is a Life Member of the LSA and received the Professional Teachers Council NSW Outstanding Service Award in 2008 and Exceptional Service Award in 2018. Brian is the Treasurer of the Professional Teachers Association NSW.

  • Nick Fernandez

    Committee Member

    Nick Fernandez

    Nick joined the LSA Committee in 2020. He has taught Legal Studies since 2012, prior to which he worked in private practice as a lawyer in Sydney. He has also worked as a casual academic teaching young people at both the University of Sydney and the University of Western Sydney. Nick is a member of the HSIE Staff at Sydney Girls High School. He has a particular interest in teaching the Workplace, World Order and Indigenous Peoples options.

  • Lisa Smith

    Committee Member

    Lisa Smith

    Lisa came to teaching ten years ago from a business background. She has taught Legal Studies in Sydney schools for most of that time, including marking the HSC examination on multiple occasions. Lisa has a passion for serving our teachers and students outside of the Sydney region and exploring new opportunities for collaboration in the post-COVID era. She is currently at Canberra Grammar School teaching NSW HSC and IB programs in law, politics and business.

  • Jennie Mater

    Committee Member

    Jennie Mater

    Jennie has been teaching for over 30 years and is currently the Director of Teaching and Learning (Acting) at Our Lady of Mercy College, Parramatta. She is a Life Member of the LSA, having been a member of the Committee since its inception in 1994. She has facilitated workshops, presented student lectures, and has been responsible for coordinating the preparation of the Preliminary and Trial examination papers for many years. Jennie was President of the LSA from 2017 to 2019. 

  • Sophie Mynott

    Committee Member

    Sophie Mynott

    Sophie has been an LSA Committee Member since 2013. She served as the Deputy President (2015 – 2017) and President (2019-2021). Sophie has been teaching Legal Studies since 2000, and marked the HSC Exam for 16 years, including as the Supervisor of Marking. She has a particular passion for World Order and Human Rights, having done her Masters thesis on miscarriages of justice in international criminal law. Sophie is committed to improving Members’ access to and engagement with the work of the LSA Committee.

  • Keira Nightingale

    Committee Member

    Keira Nightingale

    Keira Nightingale joined the LSA Committee in 2022. She has been a specialist Legal Studies teacher within the public and catholic education contexts since 2015. She is a HSC marker, specialising in the Indigenous Peoples option and has a keen interest in the development of pre-service and new scheme teachers. Drawing on her experience as a Careers Advisor, Keira enjoys bringing the legal world into her classroom by using guest speakers, NGO presentations and past students who are now studying law to provide her current senior students with a rich Legal Studies experience. 

  • Helen Preketes

    Committee Member

    Helen Preketes

    Helen is an experienced, dedicated teacher whose goal is that all her students have confidence that, with appropriate effort, they will experience success. She enjoys working collaboratively to assist teachers to develop their craft and skills, and aims to build the capacity of teachers to enable students to raise their expectation of what they can achieve. With a passion for Legal Studies, particularly Indigenous Peoples and Shelter, Helen enjoys raising student understanding through literacy and higher-order tasks. She embraces a fun yet focused approach to develop her students’ appreciation for justice.

  • Maria Tatsis

    Committee Member

    Maria Tatsis

    Maria is a longstanding Committee Member, and an experienced HSC Marker and Judge. She runs lectures and workshops for Legal Studies and Commerce throughout NSW. Maria completed her Bachelor of Historical Studies and Bachelor of Teaching at UWS. An experienced classroom teacher, who previously taught at Plumpton High School, for the last 11 years she has been the Head Teacher of Social Sciences at Arthur Phillip High School in Parramatta. The newly opened high-rise high school afforded her the opportunity to transition other teachers and herself in teaching in open spaces using innovative technologies. In recognition of her significant and continuous contribution and support of Legal Studies teachers and education, Maria was the co-recipient of the Outstanding Professional Service Award in 2020.

  • Brent Waters

    Committee Member

    Brent Waters

    Brent has been Head Teacher HSIE at Kincumber High School since 2013, having previously worked at Brisbane Water Secondary College on the Central Coast. He has taught Legal Studies for twelve years and is also well-versed in teaching other humanities courses. Brent is an experienced HSC marker, with particular experience marking Crime and the Indigenous Peoples Option. Between 2018-2020, he presented at LSA Teacher Conferences and Student Lecture Days, providing additional guidance for HSC students and their teachers. His favourite syllabus areas include the criminal trial process, contemporary world order issues and understanding the challenges facing Indigenous people globally. He loves the contemporary nature of the Legal Studies course and how it inspires student awareness of politics, human rights and perspectives around justice, domestically and internationally.

Outstanding Teachers

  • Keith Thomas

    Deputy President

    Keith Thomas

  • Erin Carney and Wendy Campbell

    PTC Outstanding Teacher 2021

    Erin Carney and Wendy Campbell

  • Natasha Isbel

    Deputy President

    Natasha Isbel

Life Members

  • Steve Ethridge   Steve Ethridge
  • Wayne Gleeson Wayne Gleeson
  • Kerrie Lindsay Kerrie Lindsay
  • Brian Elliott Brian Elliott
  • Vicki Andrews Vicki Andrews
  • Kate Kempthorne Kate Kempthorne
  • Nicholas Cowdery AM QC Nicholas Cowdery AM QC
  • Tracey McIntosh Tracey McIntosh
  • John Andrews John Andrews
  • Joanne McFarland Joanne McFarland
  • Jennie Mater Jennie Mater

LSA Constitution