Linda Kowarzik has been an EPAAs judge for the past five years and has chaired the Secondary panel for two. We spoke to her about her experience judging the work of her peers and what the awards mean to her for the next installment of our Meet the Judges series.

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Linda Kowarzik, Publishing Director, Education, Cambridge University Press
Linda Kowarzik has worked in the educational publishing industry for 18 years and has been with Cambridge University Press for nine years. She completed a Graduate Diploma in Publishing and Editing in 2003 and, after working in sales and professional development, moved into publishing in 2005. 
 Linda, how do you feel about being asked to judge the EPAAs?  I am honoured to be asked again to judge the Educational Publishing Awards. I enjoy collaborating with my peers and the opportunity to analyse and evaluate recent publications. 
Why do you think the EPAAs are important for our industry? Educational publishing is a noble occupation as we supply resources to students and teachers to assist them with their education outcomes. The EPAAs are important to our industry because they recognise the work that goes into providing these resources. Education publishing is highly competitive and a lot of hard work. Many of our authors are practicing teachers with full-time jobs and the market and general public demand the highest quality material for our schools.
Are there any challenges specific to educational publishing that you enjoy as part of your role? There are many challenges specific to educational publishing. One such challenge is the timing and release of our products. We publish to curriculum documents that are constantly evolving and changing. Often our expectations are that authors write to draft documentation that may change after a book has gone into production and so relationships with authors and providers can at times be strained.
What do you value when reviewing an educational resource? I particularly value the pedagogical features on offer when reviewing an educational resource. As a publisher I am aware that initial planning of these features is critical to the success of a product. In the educational environment it is a consideration of the reading age, the subject, the understanding that a classroom has a variety of student abilities and the need for a resource to cater to these different levels. Pedagogical features can assist in achieving this.
What’s the product or series you are most proud of having worked on in your career? The series that I am most proud of having worked on in my career is our Checkpoints series. Checkpoints is a series of study guides for Year 12 students with a special emphasis on their end of year examination. I am proud of this series because although I only took it over from my predecessor at Cambridge, I have been able to maintain and continue a highly regarded series. I particularly enjoy the relationships that I have with my authors and enjoy the challenge of nagging and encouraging over 50 authors to supply material in a two week period at the end of each year.