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Our History

From humble beginnings in 1956, the Modern Star Group has grown into Australia’s leading partner and supplier of educational resources to early childhood centers and primary schools. Our presence has expanded and our reputation as a trusted partner in education solidified.

Modern Teaching Aids, Zart, Kesco, and CleverPatch have become integral to the teaching community in Australia and New Zealand. Each brand is renowned for its innovative product range, exceptional quality, reliable delivery, and outstanding customer service.

Modern Brands has grown to be a trusted suppler and partner to Australia’s largest retailers and independent toy stores alike. Representing some of the worlds leading toy brands including Schleich, Ravensburger, Sylvanian Families, Melissa & Doug, Plan Toys, Eurotrike and many more.

Modern Star has embraced the digital era, complementing our extensive range of physical resources with a robust selection of digital tools. We are committed to continuously evolving to meet the changing needs of educators and students and whether through our own products or by partnering with the like of Lego Education we seek to bring the best digital tools to the classroom.

Our People

Mal McHutchison

Chief Executive Officer

Mal joined Modern Star as CEO in 2021. He has 25 years’ experience leading organisations in the technology, finance, education and services sectors combined with a notable track record growing businesses.

Jim Craddock

Chief Education Officer

Jim has worked at Modern Star since 1998. He is world renowned within the education sector for his extensive knowledge of products and suppliers, and his deep understanding of customers in the education space.

Eva den Haan

Group ESG & Compliance Manager

Eva starter her career at Modern Star in 2012, developing and sourcing the best products for our STEM and AV range, and working closely with our suppliers. Since 2022, she is driving sustainability in ESG & Compliance across the Group.

Gab Chambers

General Manager – People and Culture

Gab Chambers has worked for Modern Star since 2007. As General Manager – People & Culture she strives to provide leadership in fostering an open, positive, and inclusive workplace culture.

John Story

Chief Finance Officer

Michelle Kelly

Group General Manager, Curriculum and Category

Michelle has over 30 years of experience in the education sector, from teaching and professional learning to publishing and product development.  She has worked in Australia, NZ and North America, giving her deep insights into both curriculum and the global educational resource market..

Matt Arecco

Chief Operating Officer

 Matthew has worked at Modern Star since 2005. For the past 9 years he has been Chief Operating Officer of the group overseeing warehouse operations, customer service & accounts and supply chain management.

Matt O’Halloran

Chief Technology Officer

Matt is a passionate leader with deep expertise in technology and business, and is focused on leveraging  cutting-edge technologies to drive business growth and innovative solutions that deliver value to Modern Star’s customers and stakeholders .

Tim Clarke

General Manager, Modern Brands

Ainslie Turner

CEO, Clever Patch

Ainslie has extensive experience in the design, sourcing and distribution of specialist products for the education, childcare and aged care sectors across Australian and international markets. 

Henry Foster

Group GM, Strategy & Transformation

Henry has 20 years experience working in finance, strategy and transformation. He has lived and worked across Australia, the UK and North America. His focus at Modern Star is developing growth strategies, driving business transformation, and identifying and executing M&A opportunities. 

Allan Fletcher

Group GM, Marketing

Allan (or Fletch as we like to call him) has significant experience building teams and go to market strategies across sales, marketing and product. He has worked both agency and client side, and has substantial experience marketing in the education space.

Moving Forward

Our history is marked by key milestones, including acquisitions that have strengthened our portfolio. We acquired Empowered Learning in November 2019, expanding our audio-visual offerings to primary and high schools. In September 2019, Educating Kids joined the Modern Star Group, enhancing our provision of educational resources for early childhood centers. We also acquired Serrata in May 2019, further strengthening our science resources for schools.

Investments in Zart, Genie Educational, CleverPatch, and Kesco Educational have deepened our expertise in art and craft, mathematics, and overall education resources. These strategic moves have solidified our position as the go-to partner for schools and early childhood centers.

Since our inception, Modern Star Group has been committed to delivering exceptional products and services to the education community. We are proud to have played a pivotal role in shaping the educational landscape and providing teachers and students with the tools they need to thrive.

As we reflect on our journey, we remain dedicated to innovation, quality, and fostering learning environments that empower the next generation. Modern Star Group will continue to lead the way, driving positive change in education through our unwavering commitment to excellence.