In our next Meet the Judges article we talk to the last (but not least) Primary sector judge, Carmel Heron, and one of our Secondary sector judges, Daniel Aspinall, both seasoned judges for the EPAAs.

Carmel_Heron
Carmel Heron, Primary Publisher, Macmillan Education 
Carmel fell into publishing, landing a job as production secretary (yes, secretary) at Penguin. Who knew a 9–5 office job could be fun? After working as a production controller for a bit, she thought editorial looked a pretty good gig! After completing the Graduate Diploma in Editing and Publishing at RMIT, she worked as a trainee editor at Cengage, learning the fundamentals of literacy editing on the PM reading scheme. Editing, commissioning and publishing roles at Macmillan Education and Harcourt Education followed, and for the past six years, Carmel has worked as a primary publisher at Macmillan Education across library and literacy portfolios.
Carmel, how do you feel about being asked to judge the awards? It’s a good opportunity to have an up-close look at the cream of our industry’s work from the past year or so. For me, it affirms why we do what we do. It’s a time-consuming task because you need to properly immerse yourself to do it justice, but I think it’s ultimately very rewarding.
Why do you think the EPAAs are important for our industry? It’s really important to acknowledge good work and congratulate peers. We know what’s selling well, but it’s not necessarily the best sellers that demonstrate true excellence in publishing.
Are there any challenges specific to educational publishing that you enjoy as part of your role? Grappling with ways to harness technology to assist with the enhancement and maybe even transformation of teaching and learning experiences – albeit working with tight budgets and timeframes. Not always a joy, but definitely interesting.
What do you particularly value when reviewing an educational resource? I value products with that magic combination of sound pedagogy, content presentation that appeals to students and then inspires their own creativity, and features that enrich the everyday teaching and learning experience.
What’s the product or series you are most proud of having worked on in your career? I think it will always be the one I’m working on ‘right now’!
______________________________________________________________________Daniel_Aspinall
Daniel Aspinall, Content Development Manager, Secondary Division, Oxford University Press
Daniel’s career in educational publishing spans more than 12 years and follows a successful stint as a secondary school teacher. He has worked on many market-leading print and digital resources for both primary and secondary markets. Daniel’s experience combines an in-depth knowledge of curriculum and pedagogy with a detailed understanding of market needs. He is committed to the development of teaching and learning resources that bring about real and measurable improvements in student performance.
Daniel, how do you feel about being asked to judge the EPAAs? To be honest, I generally feel a bit stressed because judging always takes place at such a busy time of year. Once the judging is all over though, I always feel quite chuffed to have had a hand in selecting and recognising the best our industry has to offer.
Why do you think the awards are important for our industry? The EPAAs are the only opportunity we have to come together as an industry to celebrate and promote all of the great work we do. It’s also a great opportunity to see what other publishers are doing, share experiences and catch up with some familiar faces.
Are there any challenges specific to educational publishing that you enjoy as part of your role? I enjoy healthy competition in the market. Competing with other publishers ­ – big or small – to provide the best resources for teachers and students is what motivates me to come to work every day.
What do you particularly value when reviewing an educational resource? Great content, design and useability are all must-haves for me when reviewing any educational resource, but what really separates a winning product is its uniqueness in the market. A product that take a new angle or innovative approach in order to engage students and support teachers will always win my vote.
What’s the product or series you are most proud of having worked on in your career? It hasn’t come out yet… ask me again in 12 months’ time when I’ll hopefully be holding a shiny new award!