about us
Share this page:

Help raise awareness for this campaign by sharing this widget. Simply paste the following HTML code most places on the web.

Embed Code

Three Australian Teachers in running for $US1 million Global Teacher Prize

Three Australian teachers in running for $US1 million Global Teacher Prize

Schools Plus is delighted to announce that three recipients of the 2017 Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards have been named in the top 50 finalists for the $US1 million Global Teacher Prize.  

The recognition of three Australian educators as among the best in the world follows a partnership struck this year between education charity Schools Plus, which co-presents the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards, and the Varkey Foundation, which runs the Global Teacher Prize. Under the partnership, recipients of the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards are specifically invited to apply for the coveted prize. 

 The three educators who have been named today in the top 50 finalists are:

  • Wilbur (Charlie) Klein, the principal at TjuntjuntjaraRemote Community School in WA 
  • Dr Sarah Mathews, science and mathematics teacher at Brisbane Bayside College in Qld
  • Eddie Woo, head mathematics teacher at Cherrybrook Technology High School in NSW

Sarah Eddie Charlie










Dr Mathews, who turned to teaching after a 17-year career as a research scientist and became one of the first Master Teachers in Queensland, said she was honoured to be recognised in the top 50 finalists. 

 “The journey I’ve been on as a Teaching Fellow with Schools Plus and the Commonwealth Bank has been inspiring and incredibly rewarding. To be named in the Global Teacher Prize’s Top 50, amongst some of the best teachers in the world, is an incredible honour,” Dr Mathews said. 

 Schools Plus CEO Rosemary Conn said the agreement between Schools Plus and the Varkey Foundation reflected the outstanding quality of Australia’s teachers and principals and the high regard in which the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards were held.  

“More than 30,000 teachers and school leaders from 173 countries were nominated or applied for the Global Teacher Prize this year, so to have our Teaching Fellows recognised as among the top educators in the world is incredibly exciting,” Ms Conn said.  

“We already know how talented and dedicated Charlie, Sarah and Eddie are, and the difference they are making to their students’ lives. We’re thrilled their hard work is now being brought to global attention. The partnership between Schools Plus and the Varkey Foundation will shine a spotlight on the work that goes on in Australian schools every day, to transform the future for individual students and their communities.”  

 The 2018 Global Teacher Prize will be awarded in Dubai in March at the Global Education and Skills Forum. Representatives from Schools Plus, the Teaching Fellows and the Federal Department of Education will also be invited to participate.  

 Vikas Pota, the Chief Executive of the Varkey Foundation, said: “We are delighted to partner with Schools Plus and the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards to ensure Australia’s great teachers are recognised on the world stage.”  

 For interviews with Rosemary Conn, Charlie Klein, Sarah Mathews or Eddie Woo, please contact Dee Gunasekara at Schools Plus: 

(02) 8880 0296    |    0413 310 527    |    dgunasekara@schoolsplus.org.au 


The Teaching Fellows:

Wilbur (Charlie) Klein: At the end of 660km of dirt road east of Kalgoorlie, Charlie Klein leads one of the most remote community schools in Australia. Challenged with high staff turnover, a transient student cohort, behavioural management issues and his own professional isolation, Charlie developed long-term strategies for students and staff to learn in different ways. His approach has given students, teachers and the broader Aboriginal community remarkable opportunities to engage in learning outside the school. An articulate advocate for Indigenous learning excellence and a devoted professional, Charlie is having a positive impact on the whole school community.

Sarah Mathews: In 2008, Dr Sarah Mathews took a big risk, leaving behind her 17-year career as a scientist to become a high school maths and science teacher at Brisbane Bayside State College. Through her analysis of NAPLAN trends, Sarah observed that many students had limited numeracy ability. This led her to develop a numeracy committee that introduced the evidence-based practice of ‘numeracy moments’ – a program that enriches mathematical thinking by incorporating mathematics into real-life situations. Since the launch of the initiative in 2013, there has been a marked improvement in students’ problem-solving and reasoning skills and a significant improvement in the College’s NAPLAN numeracy results.

Eddie Woo: YouTube sensation Eddie Woo is an inspiring teacher at the forefront of school-based integrated science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. Eddie has been instrumental in innovation and inclusion at the school by developing mentoring programs, facilitating grants and developing community initiatives and is also reaching out to regional and remote students. As a result, the school has quickly gained a reputation as one of the most innovative and successful comprehensive high schools in the state. Now in his fourth year at the school, Eddie has significantly improved the learning performance of his students in the suite of mathematics courses offered and transformed the subject into one of high attraction and excellence. His WooTube videos of his maths lessons reach thousands of students across the world.


About Schools Plus 

 Schools Plus is a charity that connects donors with schools in disadvantaged communities, to give students the opportunities they need to fulfil their potential. It was established in 2013, bringing to life a recommendation in the 2011 Review of Funding for Schooling (Gonski Review). More than 4,600 schools across Australia are eligible for tax-deductible donations through Schools Plus. 

About the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards 

 The Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards are run in partnership with Schools Plus, to recognise and reward excellence in teaching and school leadership. Launched in 2016, the annual Awards celebrate the achievements of 12 teachers across Australia with a $45,000 Teaching Fellowship. The majority of the recipients are teachers or school leaders working in schools in disadvantaged communities. The 2018 Teaching Fellows will be announced in March following a rigorous assessment process that involves educators and education experts. For more information on the Teaching Awards, visit teachingawards.com.au.   

 About the Global Teacher Prize 

The Global Teacher Prize is part of the Varkey Foundation’s long-standing commitment to improve the status of teachers. Established in 2015, the $US1 million award is the largest prize of its kind, and was set up to recognise one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to highlight the important role teachers play in society. 

Support a school

Your generosity will help schools provide the opportunities students need and deserve to fulfil their potential. Explore the much-needed initiatives on our Projects page and support a school today.

Donate now