As Deputy Principal, Instructional Leader, Chantel Mirzai has collaboratively led a change process that has completely transformed Auburn North Public School, elevating it from a school with declining outcomes to one of the state’s most outstanding performers.

Chantel has inspired a culture of academic success while supporting the wellbeing of her western Sydney primary students – almost all from language backgrounds other than English, including many who have been refugees.

She began in 2015 by emphasising collaboration among teachers, backed by coaching and videos to improve classroom practice. Students were prompted to extend their understanding and received specific feedback, while literacy and numeracy concepts were introduced in more orderly sequence. Finally, she set aspirational student and school performance targets.

The transformation worked. In 2018, Auburn North outpaced practically every Australian school with similarly disadvantaged students, with growth in students’ achievement in the top 5 per cent for NSW.