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2017 award winners and finalists

To see winners from previous years, visit the past winners page.

Teachers Health Leadership Award

Winner – Margot McDougall

Principal, Hospital School SA

Hospital School SA is a unique preschool to year 12 school assisting students with complex needs, and their families, in 2 hospital sites and a secondary school. Margot leads a multi-disciplinary team, working in partnership with health professionals and educators to support vulnerable young people to continue their learning programs until they can successfully re-enter school or other education pathways.

Finalist – Fleur Roachock

Principal, Grant High School

Seeking to influence culture at Grant High School, Fleur has introduced a structure of student communities to improve relationships, wellbeing and decision-making. The restructure was supported by the establishment of an innovative new learning space, ‘The Hub’. This space positively impacts student wellbeing by creating a safe place to connect students.

Finalist – Gordon Combes

Director, Stirling District Kindergarten

Gordon’s leadership has positioned Stirling District Kindergarten as an innovative early childhood site with national and international recognition. His practices in developing learning environments to positively influence children’s behaviour, attention, and engagement in the classroom have been emulated by peers across public and private sectors. Attendance at the kindergarten is highly sought after, evidenced by a significant increase in enrolments.

Secondary Teacher of the Year

Winner – Tammy Cane

Campus manager Independent Learning Centre, Naracoorte High School

Tammy leads the Naracoorte Independent Learning Centre, which takes a holistic approach to health and wellbeing for disengaged and at-risk students, combined with a focus on improving educational outcomes. Tammy’s work on cultural change within the centre has resulted in significantly improved attendance and SACE completion rates, and has facilitated student success through timely connections to relevant services and resources.

Finalist – Cendall Slattery

Cendall is an innovative, passionate, award-winning English and history teacher from Lock Area School. Through networking and scholarship opportunities she has developed local, national and international relationships with teachers and world-leading experts. This has helped create a rigorous, engaging, and integrated curriculum, which has assisted several students to win overseas study tours to further their passion for history.

Finalist – Emma Phillips

Emma encourages student engagement with the community through experiences such as touring wineries, abattoirs and the largest livestock exchange in South Australia. By fostering relationships with local business, Emma has secured additional support for the school’s agricultural programs and varied opportunities for student learning, combining strengths in literacy, numeracy, science and technology with enhanced social skills and community awareness.

Credit Union SA Primary Teacher of the Year

Winner – Clint Beard

Teacher, Poonindie Community Learning Centre

Clint teaches the year 5/6/7 class at Poonindie Community Learning Centre. He places high importance on the value of student voice, and creates opportunities for students to provide regular feedback on his teaching. Clint facilitates a safe environment for rigorous learning by developing individualised learning programs and attainable goals for all students. His success is demonstrated through improved learning outcomes.

Finalist – Rodney Zivkovic

Teacher, Fregon Aṉangu School

Rodney’s philosophy of teaching is that behavioural relapses do not erase the growth and successes within self-development, relationships, learning and wellbeing. The learning environment needs to be perceived as safe by each and every student and these perceptions of safety vary from student to student. Rodney believes learning should be culturally responsive, engaging, supportive, challenging and visual.

Finalist – Sally Inglis

Assistant principal, Kimba Area School

Sally supports the emotional, social and academic wellbeing of all the children in her care, while investigating different approaches to improving learning outcomes. She is working to embed STEM subjects at Kimba Area School. Her approach to learning influences, motivates and inspires students to learn. Sally collaborates broadly and uses a growth mindset approach to improve resilience and to build student efficacy.

Early Years Teacher of the Year

Winner – Sandra Kelly

Teacher of the deaf, Klemzig Auslan Bilingual Preschool

Sandra is a passionate early childhood teacher and teacher of deaf children. By being committed to building reciprocal trusting relationships with families, she has the opportunity to provide deaf and hard-of-hearing children with the best language outcomes to become successful future citizens. Sandra has achieved this by developing learning programs, using appropriate curriculum, developmental learning assessments and reflective teaching strategies.

Finalist – Kerry Moosha

Preschool director, Flinders Children's Centre and Tji Tji Preschool

Kerry has embraced a continuum of change in curriculum and programs at Flinders Children's Centre and Tji Tji Preschool. As an educator in a globalised world, she is passionate about exposing the centre's children to a broad spectrum of learning so their journey is a positive experience of respecting cultural diversity. She infuses these throughout the curriculum, grounding the children in the importance of self-identity, culture and country.

Finalist – Susan Sandow

Early childhood sducator, The Nest, Alberton Primary School

Susan has influenced environmental design at The Nest through developing a learning space that creates a more fluid transition from home to school and reduces anxiety for young children. Susan is inspired by the educational philosophies of Waldorf Steiner, Reggio Emilia and Aboriginal ways of learning, and intends to undertake research to explore common ground between these principles.

School and Preschool Support Award

Winner – Hannah Dayman

Trade schools support officer, Kadina Memorial School

Hannah supports students to stay engaged with school and proactively plan for the future by connecting them with school-based apprenticeships, traineeships and work experience. By giving students the knowledge and confidence to explore opportunities to successfully establish and operate their own businesses, benefits are provided for both students and the local community.

Finalist – Matthew Hubber

Youth worker, Grant High School

Mathew believes that a dynamic approach is important in supporting students at risk of disengaging from school. Using a strength-based approach within a flexible case management framework, Mathew enables students to identify pathways to personal goals while strengthening their understanding of self and learning. This has enhanced the wellbeing and learning experiences of students.

Finalist – Michael Jenkinson

Laboratory manager, Christies Beach High School

Michael is passionate about delivering exciting and innovative experiences for young people in Adelaide’s south. He strives to reduce the gap between the highest and lowest achievers by being inclusive and providing unique opportunities for learning. A significant achievement has been the development of learning spaces for the school’s Environmental Learning Centre, which has had a positive impact on student wellbeing and attendance.

System Excellence Award

Winner – Suzie Cottle

Early childhood leader, Mount Gambier Regional Office

Suzie’s work highlights the impact of inquiry and reflective practice on pedagogy and professional capacity in early childhood educators. Sustainable change happens when educators are supported to engage in rich dialogue, informed by current theory and research. As a result, sites have reported increased engagement and motivation in literacy learning and the project has grown into a portfolio-wide professional learning community.

Finalist – Adam Box

Education director, Mount Gambier Portfolio

Adam has led a continued and successful focus on developing learners who are resilient, powerful and engaged with their communities. He drives system excellence across the Mount Gambier Portfolio by creating conditions and a culture where partnerships actively work towards the ideal of becoming ‘one big school’, seeking improvement opportunities not only for their own students, but for all children.

Finalist – Heidi Unferdorben

Senior policy and project officer, Volunteers, Engagement and Wellbeing

Heidi has a passion and commitment to ensure strategic, safe and meaningful volunteer involvement within the department. This has resulted in statewide system reform to embed better support for sites to involve volunteers. With more than 25,000 volunteers working within DECD, Heidi’s work is very important in ensuring children and students are given opportunities to reach their full potential.

Community Engagement Award

Winner – Aldinga Beach Children's Centre

Aldinga Beach Children's Centre's vision is to 'create a learning community where we work together to be the best we can be'. Learning, connecting, celebrating and building belonging to the Aldinga and Sellicks community is at the heart of their work. Significant partnerships shape projects including The Giving Garden, Our Big Backyard and the Southern Deadly Fun Run Series, providing places of engagement and promoting the philosophy that learning happens everywhere.

Finalist – Port Augusta Children's Centre

Port Augusta Children's Centre staff are motivated to improve Aboriginal involvement in employment, education and services in Port Augusta. The ultimate aim is to increase attendance in schools following on from access to quality early years programs and services to support families’ basic needs. They are seeing an improvement in attendance at school, preschool and playgroups by working with families.

Finalist – School Bike program

Bowden Brompton Community School

Bowden Brompton Community School has built a vast network of community relationships through the development of the school’s bike program and onsite 'BMX pump track'. With student support and strong leadership, the school provides a thoroughly engaging program that incorporates and relies upon strong community partnerships, and provides tangible outcomes for some of the state’s most marginalised students.

Innovation in Practice Award

Winner – Scott Dirix

Scott Dirix is the developer and leader of the Salisbury East Alternative Learning (SEAL) program at Salisbury East High School. This program re-engages students in learning pathways with a focus on employment outcomes through VET learning courses, workplace learning activities, community projects and student enterprise, while acting as a stand-alone alternative to SACE.

Finalist – Empowering Local Learners project

The Empowering Local Learners project has been operating successfully from preschool to senior secondary across all sites in the Port Augusta/Quorn Partnership for the past 5 years. The project is a collaboration with Flinders University and seeks to improve student engagement and achievement in mathematics through a focus on the development of problem solving and executive function skills.

Finalist – TCI@SA (Teaching with Comprehensible Input)

This team of language teachers use Teaching with Comprehensible Input (TCI) pedagogy. This innovative practice has been highly successful internationally and addresses student engagement, differentiation and retention issues by catering for all learner types. TCI provides a positive and supportive classroom for language teachers and students alike.

Aunty Josie Agius Award

Winner – Joanne Smith

Preschool director, Port Lincoln Children's Centre

As a leader of an integrated long day care and preschool service since 2007, Joanne has established a strong sense of belonging and cultural connectedness for the Aboriginal families of the Port Lincoln area. She has worked extensively with a broad range of inter-agency support networks to build the centre’s capacity and attend to the health of the children.

Finalist – Donna Kartinyeri

Aboriginal secondary education transition officer, Para Hills School P-7 and Para Hills High School

Donna is a Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi woman from Gilgandra NSW. Donna has been working within the department since 2005 as an Aboriginal secondary education transition officer and has always been highly involved with children’s schooling. Donna is also on several parent committees and is a governing council member. She works across 2 sites; Para Hills School P-7 and Para Hills High School.

Finalist – Trenna Frankiw

Aboriginal community education officer, Elizabeth North Primary School

Trenna is a Narungga/Kokatha descendant and has been working at Elizabeth North Primary School for 5 years as the Aboriginal community education officer. She aims to increase community involvement within the school and promote a strong, positive cultural identity for students. Trenna strives to identify students’ needs, working with families and staff to support greater learning, social and wellbeing outcomes through guidance and local community connections.

Performance Through Values Award

Winner – Natasha Chisholm

Natasha coordinates the Northern Workabout Centre, an innovative, integrated model for connecting Aboriginal youth with pathways to sustainable employment. Natasha delivers training, tailors programs to meet the needs of Aboriginal students, and offers coaching to ensure students achieve to the best of their ability. Natasha goes above and beyond to provide individualised support to prepare students for success on their chosen pathway.

Finalist – Disability Unit School Services Officers

Murray Bridge High School

This team’s strong adherence to professionalism and authentic practice supports improved learning outcomes for all students with intellectual disabilities and Autism at Murray Bridge High School. The team promotes social integration and resilience as they embrace smart technology across learning areas. This has enabled students to participate in a wide range of activities that connect existing knowledge with social cognitive problem solving.

Finalist – Kyal Bacon

School services officer, Pimpala Primary School

As a school services officer, Kyal uses exceptional interpersonal skills to foster respectful, trusting relationships with students for whom school is a difficult setting. Kyal actively researches strategies to engage students in learning. His successful approach creates pathways for these students to re-engage with other staff and peers, and has had a significant impact on improved educational outcomes.


Public Education Awards

Phone: 8226 2339
Emailpubliceducationawards [at] sa.gov.au