Team in focus: Jo Ritson - Professional Learning Coordinator

Jo Ritson joined the ACHPER Victoria team as Professional Learning Coordinator in July 2021. Many of you will be familiar with Jo, proud winner of the 2019 ACHPER Victoria Primary HPE Teacher of the Year, and facilitator at a number of our professional learning events, both online and in person.

Jo’s been instrumental in developing and delivering engaging professional learning for our HPE teachers and in her spare time away from work, Jo is an absolute weapon on the triathlete circuit.

We sat down for a chat recently; here’s how it went:

Share a funny work-related story

Oh there’s laughs every day, so that’s a tricky one and it’s usually something stupid or too openly shared on my part!! I don’t think I can go past though that when I first started, a member of the team (best not identify) asked if I’d like to go out and grab a bite to eat; of course this was a novelty in its self-coming from teaching where the can of tuna on yard duty was the staple, so of course I jumped at this! So, there we went on a little walk across the campus and again shocked, so many options for lunch on a workday! I was second to order my toastie, of course just following what the member of the team ordered (no risks taken here with getting to know each other). Then came the awkwardness as they didn’t pay and walked off, so I thought ok “my shout” (Dam, I had little cash flow at the time), never did I mention it until the confidence grew over time and the member of the teams response was “oh really, I didn’t even think of it, really?”….I’m still waiting for my toastie…

What element of your role do you find most rewarding?

The proverbial saying ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’ could not be truer in the teaching profession and as a former teacher myself I know that working in primary PE can be quote isolating along with feeling overwhelmed to even find time to share challenges. Therefore, in my current role here at ACHPER Victoria, it gives me huge satisfaction to reach out, listen and support teacher’s challenges! There is never a truly ‘right’ answer, but experience and perspective can all be that’s required to assist. Along with collaborating with our fabulous HPE community, I love that every day I am provided with the opportunity to dive deeper into my own learning and expand my knowledge in this space, surrounded by such a wealth of knowledge. I encourage all teachers to connect with each other and us as this truly adds sunshine to each of my days.

What are your goals for 2022 (professional or otherwise)

Where do I begin? For those that know me, would know that I like to do many things at once and move quite quickly…


  • To spend some quality time with my UK family and friends in Melbourne, particularly over Christmas at our wedding.
  • To travel and re-connect with all the amazing opportunities we are grateful to have around us and beyond. 
  • To continue to challenge my body to be the best it can be and hopefully take the tape and win a few targeted triathlon A races – Noosa Olympic Triathlon and Ironman Melbourne 70.3.


  • How much can I absorb and learn from the experts I’m surrounded by and impart this knowledge with our community?
  • Expand the opportunities of how we can further support our community – Is this some new events? In-school workshops? Opportunities to meet? …..forever thinking about our growth as an organisation.
  • I am passionate about my professional growth and completing courses in governance and leadership, to maybe one day lead and a CEO position is appealing….lol
What professional growth have you experienced during your time with ACHPER Victoria?

As we learn something new from everyone everyday, this is a challenge to pinpoint the professional growth I have experienced in just over a year with the team. It’s non-stop and I’m fortunate to have a great PL team around me!! To focus specifically, I feel my greatest growth has certainly been in the HPE content. Challenged to write a TOTW within the first few weeks of being in the job and then continue to write them, lead me down a huge rabbit hole of over 100 TOTW’s which was a library of learning. I’m pretty sure I’m across each one of them now. This knowledge, coupled with the time available to engage with key stakeholders, our community and tertiary academics, is littered with copious amounts of opportunities to ask questions and learn instantly. Facilitating our Back-to-Basics Program and delivering many in-school workshops over the year has just been awesome to really fine tune and share the pivotal content and support.

What is one piece of advice you would be lost without?

For those who know me and particularly the team, we have become very adept at sharing motivational snippets to support each other. My fan fav personally is Ben Crowe (Mojo Crowe) who just hits the spot for me with useful words of wisdom, so here’s a culmination of my favs: embrace your weird, we connect through our imperfections, energy is the quality of the week not the quantity (time), comfort zone is where we grow and particularly useful for us:

Learning = vulnerability + questions

And of course, another winner: “No one said it would be easy, they promised it’d be worth it” Dr Seuss.

Check out some of the awesome work Jo has been involved in here. And if you need support to deliver quality HPE, please don't hesitate to get in touch!