Deb McPherson taught English in NSW government secondary schools for twenty-eight years as a classroom teacher, Head Teacher and Deputy Principal. She gained a Master of Educational Studies from the University of Newcastle in 1991. She served on the Board of Studies committee selecting texts for the Higher School Certificate for over fifteen years. As Senior Curriculum Officer, English, at the (then) Board of Studies she worked on the development of the 2002 English Years 7-10 Syllabus from 2001-2002. Deb became the Chief Education Officer for English for the NSW Department of Education and Training from 2003-2006 and was responsible for ministerial briefings and Curriculum Branch support for primary and secondary English teachers.
Deb is an author of four anthologies of Australian non-fiction for Oxford University Press, Lives and Observations, Images and Reflections, Attitudes and Experiences and Passion and Persuasion. In 2009, with Helen Sykes and Ernie Tucker, she co-authored Choices for English, a collection of recommended texts for the 7-12 English classroom. She co-authored Oxford HSC English, with Jane Sherlock and Karen Yager, which won the Best Secondary Single title at the Australian Publishing Awards in 2010. In 2013, with Jane Sherlock, she wrote the Oxford online Enriching Literature series, for secondary English teachers, which provided comprehensive units on recommended texts for Stages 4 and 5.
Deb has lectured and tutored at the University of Newcastle (2007-9) and at the University of Wollongong from 2010-2012 and continues to guest lecture at UNSW and UOW. From 2013-2019, together with Jane Sherlock, she conducted a series of workshops in rural and regional NSW on the 2002 Years 7-10 English syllabus for the Australian Curriculum and on the HSC Standard and Advanced syllabuses. Deb has regularly presented at the NSW ETA Annual conference on texts recommended for the English classroom. Since 2013 she has been a foundation presenter, together with Professor Jackie Manuel and Jane Sherlock, at the NSW Teachers Federation’s Centre for Professional Learning’s annual English conference. From 2010 to today she continues to review texts for teachers for the AATE journal, English in Australia, in her column, Reading and Viewing with Deb McPherson.