Leanne Bell

A teacher is more than a teacher; they are also a mentor, a friend and at times like family.

Leanne Bell, the Faculty Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies at the Cairns Campus of the Tropical Institute of TAFE, knows exactly how this feels.

Starting out as a high school PE teacher, the Ganggalida (Burketown) and Birri Gubba (Cherbourg) woman taught for a number of years all around central Queensland before she secured a job with the former Sport and Recreation Queensland in Brisbane where she grew up.

It was while working for Sport and Recreation Queensland that Leanne was then given the opportunity to be seconded to Cairns' Tropical North Queensland Institute of TAFE in a position that was funded by Sport and Recreation Queensland.

Her love for teaching has been proven by the number of years that she has been with TAFE in Cairns which amounts to over 15 years now.

"Our students come from all over Queensland," Leanne says.

She also is proud to see students' confidence develop once they have settled in to the TAFE environment.

Even though Leanne loves what she is doing now, there was a time and space towards the end of school that she did not know what she wanted.

"I ended up speaking with Eddie Watkin, who was working at Education Queensland, and he encouraged me to enrol at university in a Diploma of Teaching," she beams.

"I've had a number of people around me from good friends to relatives who have encouraged me and influenced my life.

"My plan for the future is getting to know my new position at TAFE as the Faculty Manager for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies," she says.

At times Leanne has to pinch herself and is surprised that she is in the position she is in at this time in her career.

"I always tell people that if you want to get somewhere in life, then you have to do whatever it takes for you to get there," she advises.

"In order to achieve your goals you have to make sacrifices."