It’s time to celebrate teachers, including those early in their career.

It is an absolute pleasure to celebrate our sixth cohort of teachers and school leaders at the 2022 Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards. This year’s 12 Teaching Fellows join an impressive group of now over 70 of Australia’s most inspiring educators, working across states, subject areas and sectors to forge a bright future for their students.

We are especially thrilled to introduce our 10 inaugural Early Career Teachers. These dedicated and passionate teachers, all with less than 5 years in the profession, represent the next generation of educators who are pushing the boundaries in classrooms across the country.

From urban centres and remote communities to island territories and everything in between, our Teaching Fellows and Early Career Teachers are a diverse group of educators, but they all share the same passion – helping their students reach their full potential.  

Watch the Awards ceremony in full here.


Adrian Casten


Burnside State High School (Qld) – Gubbi Gubbi Country

With a background as a mechanical engineer, Adrian has given his Burnside State High School students a flying start in STEM by establishing unique courses in aviation and using drones. Deeply committed to advancing STEM education, Adrian’s engaging programs have earned Burnside State High School recognition as a leader in this field throughout Australia and is one of only a few schools globally who offer similar courses.

When Adrian joined Burnside, STEM subjects attracted low student numbers. With his expertise and drive, the school now boasts a dedicated STEM Drone Engineering Makerspace where students design, build and fly drones and became the first in Australia to introduce a Certificate III in Aviation – Remote Pilot for their students.

Adrian’s courses have seen interest in STEM subjects take off, especially amongst female students, while the skills his courses promote – critical thinking, problem solving, experiential learning and collaboration – have had an impact across other learning areas. Student engagement has measurably increased and behavioural issues for students taking his courses have dropped by 80%.

Committed to collaboration and sharing knowledge, Adrian has run conferences for teachers looking to establish an aviation curriculum, instigated the Holey Moley drone competition for schools, and created invaluable partnerships with industry, leading to new career pathways for students. Last year, 20% of his students progressed to university or trades related to careers in aviation. Adrian’s collaborative drive led four high schools to co-construct a Vans RV12 two-seater sports aircraft, with project management and engineering support from industry experts and Burnside students are now constructing another two aircraft.

Trent Cowley


Kingston State School (Qld) – Yuggera Country

When Trent became Principal of Kingston State School two years ago, the school had been identified as a Priority Support Review school characterised by extreme disadvantage, trauma, drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness, and unemployment. With an exceptional commitment to transformation and the needs of his diverse community, Trent has driven a cultural shift centred on collaboration, lifting expectations, and innovative programs to deliver wrap-around support for his students.

To build staff capacity, Trent developed a system of Knowledgeable Others so his teachers could share their strengths and capabilities. He also fostered a professional learning culture focused on improving student engagement and attendance through building a network of principals from neighbouring schools. The result has been the introduction of a case management system, where every teacher provides feedback to students and ideas for improvement during structured meetings with school leaders.

Not only have staff focus and morale improved, but Trent’s strategies have also led to a 20% improvement in English levels within a year, with sustained improvement also evident across other key learning areas.
Beyond the classroom, Trent is pioneering work to support students and their families. Under his leadership, Kingston State School will be Queensland’s first FamilyLinQ School Site, with a new $15 million facility housing visiting medical specialists and drug and alcohol counsellors. Parents will also be able to undertake VET certificate courses to upskill as well as better support their children’s learning at home.

Through visible leadership, effective use of data to focus on key outcomes, and holistic support for his students, their families, and the local community, Trent has been a transformative force for his diverse community.

Jenna Cullen


Marsden State High School (Qld) – Yuggera Country

Jenna has been instrumental in shaping Australia’s next generation of teachers as Head of Teaching and Learning, Staff Development, and Performance at Australia’s largest high school – Marsden State High School.

Jenna is responsible for designing and managing the pre-service teacher education program at Marsden, which hosts up to 500 trainee teachers each year. To support the professional development of such a large number of new teachers, she co-created the ‘Marsden Institute of Teacher Development’ – an online community of practice providing targeted support and professional learning, designed in consultation with leading academics from Australian universities, education organisations and Harvard University. Over 900 pre-service teachers have now learned from the Institute.

To provide continuous learning for Marsden’s 257 teachers, 91 of whom are in their first three years of service, Jenna has pioneered several programs in the school. She co-led the school’s Professional Learning Communities of Practice, designed with Griffith University, to provide research-based learning and training. She also leads the school’s Focus Team – a leadership team of 25 teachers who conduct classroom observations and coach staff.

During lockdown, Jenna provided invaluable support to the school by designing and tailoring a remote learning guide containing strategies that helped teachers and students adapt to remote learning. These strategies were embedded into parent-teacher interviews and school plans, enabling students to collaborate with their teachers and families to achieve higher student agency over their own learning.

Through her innovative training programs, Jenna has been at the centre of learning for hundreds of new and trainee teachers, not only at Marsden State High School but across Queensland.

Daniel Edwards

Daniel Edwards

Montello Primary School (Tas) – Tommeginni Country

Transitioning from a general classroom teacher to become a STEM Specialist Teacher, Daniel has led a transformation in science and STEM education for students at Montello Primary School in Burnie. In a low socio-economic area with high unemployment, Daniel’s passion has helped to generate a cultural shift in Montello’s student engagement and achievement.

Daniel created a STEM Makerspace room at the school to provide new opportunities for students to engage in STEM activities. He has since coached teams from the school to the finals of prestigious state, national, and international STEM challenges, including teams that were crowned champions in the Australian Tech Girls Competition and another as Asia-Pacific winner of the Micro: Bit Do Your: Bit competition.

These successes have generated widespread acclaim and driven new interest in STEM learning throughout Montello Primary School and in the community. With Daniel’s leadership, the school has received awards for greatest participation and overall commitment to the TSTS STEM Challenge and the Tasmanian Science Talent Search competitions.

An outstanding feature of Daniel’s impact is his collaboration and sharing of knowledge with other schools. He has hosted STEM Expos, volunteered as a judge for the National STEM Video Game Challenge and international MakeX Spark robotics competition, and presented on best practices in STEM education at state and national conferences.

Daniel’s impact in education has been recognised by the 2021 Tasmanian STEM Primary Teacher of the Year Award and selection as the 2022 Tasmanian Finalist for the BHP Science and Engineering Teacher Awards.

Toni Hatten-Roberts


Mastery Schools Australia (Qld) – Bundjalung Country

When Toni saw a lack of educational opportunities for students struggling in mainstream schools, she set out to fix it by founding a new, independent, special assistance school where, as Director of Teaching and Learning, she could structure the school’s entire learning agenda.

The school’s mission is to provide quality educational alternatives for students who are disengaged or at-risk due to learning difficulties or external factors. With a passion for equity and a belief in the ability of all students to fulfil their potential, Toni is working to give her students the academic foundations and resilience that will enable them to resume mainstream schooling.

The impact of Toni’s work can be seen in her students’ outstanding improvement in standardised reading and maths scores within remarkably short time frames, in addition to a significant increase in student self-confidence, self-esteem, and engagement.

Toni has spent her career sharing her knowledge and experience in schools within Australia and across the globe. She has run workshops at national conferences and led professional development for over 1000 teachers, working in contexts ranging from Indigenous communities in the NT to large, urban K-12 schools. Her impact extends across the Pacific, where in 2016, she was recognised by the US National Institute for Direct Instruction as Educator of the Year, the first ever international winner of that award.

Toni is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Queensland on effective teaching methods and Mastery Schools Australia has grown to two campuses, with its success seeing an increasing demand for enrolment.

Michael Hornby


Mabel Park State High School (Qld) – Yuggera Country

Over the last seven years as Principal of Mabel Park State High School in Logan, Michael has transformed the school’s learning environment through a series of innovative interventions focused on supporting student wellbeing and engagement.

Recognising the critical needs of his community, Michael developed a cross-disciplinary team at the school comprising youth workers, guidance officers and a psychologist to create wrap around support for his students. He also pioneered an innovative on-site GP program, the first in Queensland, which has since been rolled out in 50 other schools. Partnering with a local settlement organisation to support Syrian refugees who attended his school, Michael’s initiative brought housing, education, and social services together to support students and families.

Coupled with these support services, the introduction of new and engaging programs such as a Malaga Polynesian Pathways group, Gaming Club and Girls in Engineering and Maths (GEMS) saw student engagement and achievement improve significantly. Michael also established a STEM Partnership Program with Queensland University of Technology to provide mentoring for his students. In 2022, 42 students are enrolled in the program and will receive direct entry into the university upon successful completion of Year 12.

Michael’s inspirational leadership has also generated impact beyond his school. In partnership with fifteen local schools and Griffith University, Michael established the 50,000 Futures Project, showcasing outstanding local teachers at an annual conference attended by more than 450 teachers and community leaders.

Recognising Michael’s remarkable impact, enrolments have tripled since he joined the school, which is now seen as the ‘school of choice’ in Logan.

Brendan Kenna


Wilmot Road Primary School (Vic) – Ngurraiillam Country

As Deputy Principal at his regional Victorian school, Brendan has combined his passion for social justice and interest in neuroscience to create a unique culture of support for the students at Wilmot Road Primary School. Through an innovative, evidence-based sensory program and trauma-informed interventions, Brendan is helping to shape new education practices for students who have additional needs.

Chairing the school’s paediatric program, Brendan manages 30 multidisciplinary clinics each year and leads the development of ‘sensory profiles and sensory diets’ for students. In one of the most disadvantaged schools in the state, his initiative and leadership has led to the establishment of a purpose-built sensory room and a flexible indoor-outdoor program that has helped to transform his students’ learning and the school’s capacity to support wellbeing.

Promoting a culture of wrap-around support for his students, Brendan’s impact has extended beyond the classroom. A key focus of the program’s efforts is engagement with families to upskill them in ‘Zones of Regulation’ – resulting in higher levels of confidence for parents and an increased ability to support their children at home. He also works with teachers at other schools and presents at conferences to share the insights and impact of his ground-breaking work.

With an eye to his students’ futures, Brendan also coordinates the school’s scholarship program. His commitment to equity and social justice has unlocked new funding from local businesses to assist children’s access to a quality education and provide pathways into careers in local industry.

Peter Langham


Monterey Secondary College (Vic) – Boonwurrung Country

When Peter was appointed Acting Principal of Monterey Secondary College in 2019 – the school’s third leader that year – he was confronted with extremely low staff morale, high turnover, declining enrolments, poor student achievement, and children disengaged from learning. With a long history of intergenerational disadvantage and a clear need for transformative change, Peter has brought about a rapid and remarkable shift in the school’s culture and student learning.

Peter introduced individual case management for students and trauma-informed practice using the Berry Street Education Model, and student engagement and achievement dramatically improved. In 2021, the school recorded their best VCE scores in over 10 years and completion of senior certificates was 100%, up from 65% a few years prior, and they now exceed the state average on all measures of student engagement.

By empowering teachers to drive improvement in learning, Peter has created a culture of collaboration and shared knowledge both within and beyond his school. Staff perspectives between 2018 and 2021 have shown a 72% increase in ‘collective responsibility’; an 83% improvement in ‘trust in colleagues’; and a 68% increase in ‘teacher collaboration’.

Peter’s leadership and the school’s remarkable progress is now inspiring and influencing others. They have been widely recognised, including by Berry Street for successfully embedding their model. Peter’s commitment to inclusiveness and equity in education has meant the school’s reengagement program is now at its heart. With such transformational improvement, it is no wonder Year 7 enrolments at the school are up 50%.

Fransina Norval


Tennant Creek High School (NT) – Warumungu Country

As Senior Teacher – Inclusion at Tennant Creek High School, Fransina has combined new practices with her wealth of experience teaching in special education across three continents, to revolutionise her school’s support for students with additional learning needs.

After serving as Inclusion Adviser for sixteen schools in the Barkly region, Fransina returned to university to learn new trauma-informed education practices. This helped inform her evidence-based, high impact interventions in her remote school where many families face high levels of disadvantage, and a substantial number of students have additional learning needs.

Fransina designed and implemented a Flexible Learning Space at the school which creates a circle of safety around students with a disability, as well as providing opportunities for coordinated interventions for all students. The impact has been remarkable, with attendance increasing to over 90% for previously disengaged students. She has also helped build teacher confidence and capacity in this area, through creating a collaborative professional learning culture and developing an innovative Whole-School Trauma-Informed Professional Development Plan.

Fransina’s sincerity, drive, and unwavering passion and commitment to assist students with special needs has connected her to educators across NT. She conducts online training courses for teachers at other schools, and her current initiative to establish a ‘Barkly Collaborative Learning Community’ will help schools in the region build their expertise in trauma-informed practice. As testament to her impact, Fransina was selected as the Northern Territory Inclusion Educator of the Year in 2021.

Ian Preston


Murrumbidgee Regional High School (NSW) – Wiradjuri Country

During his time as Deputy Principal at Murrumbidgee Regional High School, Ian has championed STEM education and established himself as a leading teacher in this field across NSW, Australia and internationally.

Ian established the Murrumbidgee Academy of STEM Excellence, linking two local high schools with 19 partner primary schools in a collaborative venture to enhance STEM learning opportunities. The program has achieved outstanding outcomes, with higher engagement, participation and student achievement, geared toward providing students with a range of skills for study or employment in future industries.

Through Ian’s initiative, students have gained exposure to the latest developments in STEM education from around the world, and students in partner primary schools have been given a clear path to high school-level STEM subjects. There has been a 320% increase in students studying physics at his school, and similar rises in student engagement in mathematics, software design and engineering subjects.

In 2020, Ian was instrumental in initiating the Australia New Zealand STEM Education Alliance, which has developed into an extensive network of collaboration with other STEM educators from Queensland, Northern Territory and New Zealand. This has provided STEM opportunities for students throughout Australia and across the Tasman. In 2022, Ian is part of the team working to introduce and implement the Australian Virtual STEM Academy. Last year, he was awarded the NSW Department of Education Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in recognition of his initiation and leadership of high impact learning initiatives.

Stephanie Salazar


John Purchase Public School (NSW) – Eora Country

Stephanie is the Assistant Principal and Instructional Coach at John Purchase Public School in western Sydney, where her expertise creating a network of teachers focused on professional development has transformed her school’s teaching and student learning.

Stephanie instigated and now manages an instructional coaching program at the school, hosts workshops focused on Instructional Rounds, and has developed a high-impact strategy playbook that enables staff to monitor and evaluate their own teaching against best practice. To engage parents, she designed and led Parent Masterclasses to support students’ at-home learning – over 118 parents took place in a recent Spelling Masterclass that received glowing feedback for the strategies she introduced to help them with their child’s spelling at home.

Stephanie’s Principal lauded her ‘incredible impact’, with staff surveys in 2020 giving the school’s teaching strategies the highest rating since 2014.

Stephanie has helped develop an impressive network of teachers beyond her school focused on Instructional Coaching. She founded the New Teacher Tribe, an initiative to support early-career teachers by connecting them with more experienced counterparts. The project has already connected more than 900 teachers across Australia. She has also helped to establish the Connect, Collaborate, Grow network that showcases teachers’ professional learning journeys.

With an abundant level of enthusiasm, passion, and plans to produce a series webinars titled The Heart of Coaching, Stephanie is poised to grow her impact even further and help shape the future of education practice across Australia.

Shane Wilson


Marble Bar Primary School (WA) – Nyamal Country

As Principal of the small, remote Marble Bar Primary School, located about 200km from Port Hedland, Shane has transformed the school into a state leader in culturally responsive STEM education.

With a commitment to two-way, collaborative leadership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Shane has led the alignment of the CSIRO’s Two-Way Science Integrated Program with the local Nyamal community and the Australian curriculum and developed the school’s Virtual World Gallery. The Gallery uses virtual reality and drone technology to preserve and showcase endangered Indigenous languages and is being shared by the CSIRO across Australia.

To scale and amplify these creative strategies, Shane is developing a Virtual Teacher Development Centre for other educators and creating vocational employment and training STEM pathways for students through collaborative partnerships with industries in the Pilbara region and around Australia.
Under Shane’s leadership, the school and these innovative STEM programs have garnered awards and recognition across the State, as well as from the CSRIO and at the WA Resources Technology Showcase. However, it is Shane’s impact in the school’s remote area of WA that is most impressive. With a focus on nurturing student leaders to share their Nyamal culture with other intercultural groups and schools, he has helped language to flourish and sparked newfound pride, respect, and engagement in his students and the local community.


Justin Betts


Sunnybank State High School (Qld) – Yuggera Country

Justin has initiated and led incredibly successful esports programs introducing new career pathways for his students, as well as increasing enrolments and engagement in cutting-edge STEM subjects.

At his previous school, Forest Lake State High, Justin introduced an extracurricular Esports Club to give disenfranchised students a community at the school. Over 200 students became involved in weekly training and internal competitions, and students achieved victory in several state-wide esports competitions.

This remarkable success led Justin to develop an esports elective for Year 9 students. Learning about computing networks, video production, gameplay strategy and coaching, the subject gained excellent student feedback and led to significant improvements in school engagement, including for several students who previously had very poor attendance rates.

Interest in digital curriculum and STEM subjects has spiked since Justin’s innovative subject was introduced, and the school is now planning to expand access to other year groups.

Justin is helping other Queensland schools set up esports clubs and curriculum – including implementing a Primary School Esports Cup for local schools. Through a partnership with Queensland University of Technology, Justin is expanding the school’s curriculum so students can complete term-long work experience in their esports department and access mentoring from QUT’s Esports Elite Athletes. Justin is currently Acting Head of Department Technologies at Sunnybank State High.

Kylie Chatfield


Christmas Island District High School (WA)

As a Science teacher at the remote Christmas Island District High School, Kylie’s passion for ‘all things science’ has helped to transform her students’ learning, through studying and developing an appreciation of the special place where they live.

Centred around the Island’s unique ecology, Kylie has designed innovative classroom and extracurricular programs to inspire and engage her students. She collaborated with Christmas Island National Park to plan and develop a remarkable nature-based school-wide Junior Ranger Program, combining immersive learning opportunities with activities in the classroom.

The program aims to support students to take an active and leading role in preserving their local environment for future generations and is built around four key community focus areas: sustainability, conservation, rehabilitation and tourism. Students earn badges and certificates for completing activities and with an embedded school curriculum component, students are eligible to earn credits toward their senior school graduation requirements, a first in WA for similar run programs.

Previously working as a Marine Officer with the WA Department of Fisheries, Kylie has brought a wealth of skills and knowledge to her new career as a teacher. She has introduced unique hands-on learning activities for her students such as fish identification treasure hunts and coral bleaching simulation models; and plays a key role coordinating Seaweek – a week-long annual community event, providing her students further opportunities to learn about and celebrate the unique environment of Christmas Island.

Jessica Cridland


Monterey Secondary College (Vic) – Boonwurrung Country

As a teacher and the Year 7 Coordinator at Monterey Secondary College, Jessica has integrated trauma-informed practices and introduced innovative sporting programs to transform her students’ wellbeing and engagement in learning.

Central to Jessica’s practice is her commitment to inclusion. She is passionate about providing learning pathways for each of her students who count amongst the most marginalised young people in Victoria. Through incorporating trauma-informed practices derived from the Berry Street Model into her Physical Education classes and using ‘ready to learn’ plans, she has helped students identify and implement strategies that de-escalate their stress response. By increasing on-task learning time and teaching emotional intelligence skills, her senior students have achieved significantly improved outcomes in their final year exams and shown increased engagement in other classes.

Jessica’s focus on working to bring out the best in her students has also played out in her development of the school’s partnership with the St Kilda Football Club and Frankston District Netball Association. Since founding the partnership in 2021, she has worked closely with the clubs on the vision and aims of the program while constantly refining it with student feedback. With very high rates of student engagement, the program is considered an overwhelming success by her school and the partner clubs.

Jessica’s inspiring leadership has contributed to a cultural shift that has seen a huge increase in school enrolments and restored community faith in the school.

Stella Ding


The Ponds High School (NSW) – Kur-ing-gai Country

In just four years of teaching at The Ponds High School, Stella has designed new and innovative STEM opportunities for her students and made impressive contributions to student wellbeing and her colleagues’ professional development during lockdown.

With a drive to make STEM fun for her students, Stella founded an after-school STEM Club, which now attracts over 50 students every week. Through coding and design challenges, she introduces her students to real-world applications of STEM – the latest project saw the club launching native beehives to help educate the entire school about the important role of bees in our ecology. She has also coached several student teams to success in competitive STEM competitions, with one of her teams winning the 2021 IBM Edtech Youth Competition.

During lockdown, Stella built several innovative online courses to maintain student engagement. For her Year 9 class, she developed an entirely gamified unit of work called Project Medical School, where students role-played as medical students and then applied their newfound skills to solve mock scenarios in online clinics. Her work is having increasing impact – she has delivered workshops on gamified learning to a STEM teachers conference and at seminars for other teachers at her school. This year, Stella founded the Science Faculty Skills Team to improve the consistency of STEM teaching across all year levels.

Liudmyla Kovalev


Loganlea State High School (Qld) – Waka Waka Country

Luda credits her grandfather, who only had four years of schooling, with fostering her strong belief in the value of education when she was growing up in Ukraine. Since moving to Australia fresh out of university, she has used her passion for teaching to find new ways of engaging her students’ and inspiring their passion for learning.

As a Maths and Science teacher at Loganlea State High School, Luda has implemented new technologies to transform her students’ learning experiences. She introduced Apple TVs into her classrooms to enable innovative ways for students to collaborate and learn and integrated augmented and virtual reality technology to teach visualisations such as the layers of the Earth and the human digestive system.

Luda’s commitment to building an innovative learning environment has seen strong improvement in students’ engagement. Through coaching teams in STEM competitions, she has also fostered a culture of high expectations and achievement. Her student teams have won maths competitions and presented at Griffith University’s STEAM into STEM competition.

Beyond her classroom, Luda mentors new and pre-service teachers and shares insights into the potential of new technologies at Loganlea’s Professional Development Café sessions. She has been invited to mentor other teachers in her region and the school has doubled its resources for VR teaching because of the impact of her work and training.

Holly Millican


South Grafton High School (NSW) – Gumbainggir Country

Holly’s dedication as a Maths teacher has inspired countless students at South Grafton High School and across NSW.

Among her efforts to lessen the stigma and difficulty many students experience with maths, Holly’s founding of the Annual Mathematics Olympics stands out. Now in its third year, the inspiring program is run at five high schools in the Coffs Harbour and Clarence Valley regions, and its digital resources have been accessed by over 30 schools across NSW. Through tasks that seek to inspire, student engagement and confidence have shown consistent and impressive improvement after each competition.

Within her school, Holly has also developed digital resources for all junior programs in her faculty as Acting Head Teacher; helped to transform professional development as a founding member of the school’s Lesson Improvement Team, and – perhaps most significant of all – led the school’s Tech Help Team across the 2020-21 online learning period.

Holly has also worked with a range of professional development bodies to share her passion for Maths teaching. She is a founding member and current Chairperson of the Mathematics Association of NSW Beginner Teacher group that provides development opportunities for over 200 early career teachers. She has worked with Eddie Woo’s Mathematics Growth Team to develop modules for teachers across NSW and her inspirational work has been recognised through numerous awards, including the 2021 Australian Education Rising Star of the Year Award.

Kathleen O’Rourke


Cootamundra Public School (NSW) – Wiradjuri Country

At Cootamundra Public School in regional NSW, Kathleen has pioneered new data and research-informed teaching in her classroom to help her students on to greater levels of achievement.

Noticing how often students struggled to follow instructions on new learning tasks, Kathleen began a journey of discovery that revolutionised her teaching. Implementing practices informed by cognitive load theory that incorporated direct instruction, she noticed a marked improvement in student understanding and confidence grappling with new material. She pioneered new methods using visual prompts aimed at reducing student’s cognitive load that has helped to reduce disruptive behaviour and increase engagement.

To better measure and share the impact of her new insights throughout her school, she is now using NAPLAN scores and Department of Education surveys to benchmark students and tailor interventions to individual needs. Kathleen is using her data-driven approach to drive professional development in her school as well. As her school’s Digital Classroom Officer, she has helped to deliver data literacy workshops for colleagues and led an analysis of the school’s literacy practices to improve student outcomes.

With an inspirational drive to help her students succeed, Kathleen is pursuing a Master of Education with a focus on language and reading to gain new insights into literacy education.

Alys Tipler


Browns Plains State High School (Qld) – Yuggera Country

Taking on key roles beyond her classroom, Alys has helped shape her school’s literacy strategies and established herself as a leader in her school community.

As Literacy Coordinator, Alys implemented a system of tracking test data to monitor students’ achievement across different literacy skills. This led Alys to creating of a series of resources designed to improve students’ comprehension of specific literacy skills and enabled teachers to tailor their approaches to different classes and individual students. This targeted, data-based approach has achieved significant improvements in literacy levels, as well as increased student engagement in their own learning.

To connect students to their community and deepen their understanding of Indigenous perspectives, Alys has forged connections with local Indigenous groups. As English Subject Coordinator, she secured theatre company Grin and Tonic to perform their acclaimed work ‘7 Stages of Grieving’ and included Indigenous community members in Q & A sessions with senior students.

Alys has also strengthened her school’s connections with local primary schools by implementing and leading a ‘Future Teachers’ Program.’ With a strong moral purpose to providing an environment where all students can flourish, Alys has been successful in easing transition anxieties and barriers by connecting with Year 6 students before they enter high school.

Claire Vogan


Minyerri School (NT) – Ngalakan Country

In three years at the remote Northern Territory school of Minyerri, Claire has had remarkable success in engaging the community to lift educational goals. With 100% of students at her school speaking Roper River Kriol as their first language, Claire has been inspirational in lifting attendance and had a significant impact on student learning in challenging circumstances.

As educational leader in the preschool, Claire has helped raise attendance levels to the highest seen at the school. As well as collecting children in the school bus each morning, Claire has introduced frequent local excursions and made a concerted effort to increase engagement with elders and the community. She created a newsletter and visual learning diary to show parents the connection between their children’s play and learning and dived into community events to forge connections with families.

Claire has also supported learning throughout the primary school as Literacy Intervention Leader, identifying and supporting children who are falling behind and using the data from this role to inform the reading and writing programs introduced in preschool classes.

With a keen understanding of the importance of community, Claire has also reached out to connect other early years educators working in her region. She set up a group which now has over 80 members who celebrate, inspire, and learn from each other by sharing their professional journeys.

Lauren Walters


St Agnes Catholic High School (NSW) – Dharug Country

Lauren has an enthusiasm and passion for innovative learning that has greatly assisted the students at St Agnes Catholic High School in western Sydney, particularly her pioneering work in helping to develop the school’s online learning programs.

In 2020, Lauren started posting her Maths lessons on YouTube to help students revise for exams. As lockdowns hit and resources for remote learning were needed, she filmed a series of instructional videos for her classes and shared these with the whole school. Encouraged by positive feedback from parents and students, Lauren has since created an extensive range of online lessons – planning, filming, and editing the videos in her spare time.

During lockdown in 2021, Lauren and two colleagues stood up to spearhead the school’s approach to remote learning. Lauren developed a structure to help lessons be delivered online via zoom, designed and implemented programs to help students struggling across core subjects and created custom remote learning timetables for over 500 students to make the process as easy and accessible as possible. Her efforts made a significant contribution to positive learning outcomes for St Agnes’s students over a particularly difficult period.

Lauren is committed to furthering her own learning and is currently pursuing a Masters in Leadership and Management in Education at the University of Newcastle.

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