Congratulations to the winners and finalists in this year’s Public Education Awards!
These awards recognise and showcase excellence in public education. Through this program we proudly share our achievements with the community and highlight the innovation, passion and expertise that form the foundation of our strong public education system.
Parents, families and communities all play a significant role in supporting children and young people. As active participants in our education system, the public nomination process for the awards allows everyone to get involved and say thank you to an educator that’s made a difference in their lives.
Teachers Health Leadership Award
Winner – Rebecca Huddy, Principal, Westport Primary School and Preschool
A sizable lift in NAPLAN scores and growing enrolments are graphic evidence of the positive influence Rebecca has had on her school over the past 9 years. Her unrelenting focus on teaching quality, intimate personal understanding of individual student progress and strong community engagement has made hers a school of choice.
Finalist – Lauren Poole, Principal, Palmer Primary School
Shared construction, ownership and accountability, underpinned by a fearless examination of data, are the hallmarks of Lauren’s leadership. Her whole of school Literacy Agreement, developed in collaboration and jointly owned, has delivered tremendous growth in literacy across the student cohort. The introduction of learning teams that celebrate learning milestones, student goals and resilience is supporting academic growth and student wellbeing.
Finalist – Meredith Edwards, Principal, Woodville High School
Meredith’s commitment to the philosophy of "think globally, act locally" has created a learning environment that the Council of International Schools commends as a standout for its profound commitment to ensuring positive education outcomes. Her long-term commitment to trialling innovative approaches to school improvement and approaches to teaching and learning, coupled with a strong belief in the power of collaboration, has helped identify effective, scalable processes for delivering growth in student achievement and wellbeing.
Secondary Teacher of the Year
Winner – Justine Fogden, Agriculture teacher, Loxton High School
Over the past 20 years Justine has established herself as a leader in agriculture teaching. Combining innovative teaching practice with an ever-expanding network of industry contacts, her students have entrepreneurial mindsets, job-ready skills and a myriad of opportunities to take advantage of them. A system-wide thinker, her work includes mentoring beginning agriculture teachers and membership of the writing panel for the SACE agriculture course.
Finalist – Brenden Baldock, Teacher, Glossop High School
Brenden’s innovative, technology rich approach leaves students in no doubt of the real world application of their studies. From live broadcasting interschool events, to producing a weekly football show alongside local media identities, students are researching, planning, problem solving and being stretched toward their potential. His approach maximises learning opportunities and benefits the wider community.
Finalist – Sam Moyle, Science and other technologies teacher, Brighton Secondary School
Sam makes “bigger than big ideas” a reality, with a superbly engaging approach that delivers high rates of retention to senior sciences and excellent ATAR results. Individualised approaches are the hallmark of her work, with a depth and quality of feedback that supports outstanding outcomes. Sam’s work building teaching capacity at a site, system and national level marks her as a leader.
Credit Union SA Primary Teacher of the Year
Winner – Karen Schilling, Year 6/7 teacher, Tintinara Area School
Karen uses data to create shared ownership of learning, delivering impressive lift in outcomes at an individual student and site level. An open presentation of data in the classroom sees students set their own areas for improvement, increasing engagement and lifting results. The whole school data wall she introduced in 2016 supports a shared commitment to high impact, effective teaching practice.
Finalist – Catharine Carlin, Teacher, Brighton Primary School
With a passion for creating an inclusive learning environment for all students, especially students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Catharine has seized every opportunity to increase her own knowledge and share it with fellow teachers and families. This has reduced feelings of isolation, resulting in improved engagement and outcomes. Her expertise in wellbeing is shared with colleagues, increasing student resilience.
Finalist – James Martin, Teacher, Two Wells Primary School
The designer of a dedicated technology facility where students explore and create, James is expertly engaging students with STEM through programs such as international Lego robotics competitions and an annual Go Kart Grand Prix. James is tuned into each student’s needs and strengths and his individualised learning approach helps them routinely achieve and exceed their goals.
Early Years Teacher of the Year
Winner – Sharnie Jamieson, Year 1 teacher, Glenelg Primary School
Significant improvement in students reading assessment data speaks to the effectiveness of Sharnie’s teaching approach. She combines meticulous data analysis with evidence based methodology, implementing the most effective and up-to-date teaching and learning practices. With a view to whole-school improvement, she has helped lead her school’s early years literacy program, sharing her expertise with both her school colleagues and those further afield.
Finalist – Lisa Watkins, Special education teacher, Swallowcliffe School P-7
Teaching in a complex, Category 1 school Lisa’s work supporting communication, social skills and sensory/ emotional regulation is central to facilitating learning. Through the expert use of interoception and the introduction of Augmentative and Alternative Communication she has reduced challenging behaviours and increased student wellbeing. With a strong commitment to personal professional development, Lisa also stands out for her willingness to share expertise.
Finalist – Sharona Blake, Teacher, Blakeview Primary School
Combining outstanding teaching practice with a passion for engagement and collaboration, Sharona exemplifies leadership in a team environment. Instrumental in helping her school to implement effective reading and literacy strategies, she has also played a key role in designing improved transition processes from preschool to school, helping students get off to a flying start.
School and Preschool Support Award
Winner – Trent Heneker, Facilities and grounds, Nuriootpa High School
Keeping Nuriootpa HS’s grounds immaculate is the starting point for Trent, who looks for ways to unlock the learning potential of his work. Whether it’s engaging students with disability in landscaping projects, creating a ‘Young Environmentalist Group’ or supporting colleagues to manage disruptive behavioural issues, he brings the classroom outdoors. Trent is leading a vineyard upgrade to support the school’s viticulture program. Also as a professional musician, Trent shares his industry knowledge and experience to support the music department and students.
Finalist – Amanda Solly, School services officer, Goolwa Primary School
Amanda’s well researched, evidence-based interventions, coupled with her ability to make students feel safe and ready to learn, has markedly improved numeracy outcomes in her school. At upper primary, participants recorded 2-3 year’s growth in 12 months. At year 3, she helped 6 out of 7 students identified as needing specialist help to achieve above the National Minimum Standard in NAPLAN numeracy.
Finalist – Belinda Tilley, Pastoral care worker wellbeing, Allendale East Area School
Belinda has introduced focussed social emotional learning as a key component in her schools behaviour management and student wellbeing. Her successful approach, which includes creating an original framework for teaching individual students self-equity as well as delivering broader SEL literacy across her school, equipping colleagues with the tools, resources and techniques to facilitate positive behavioural change, is now being shared with other schools. Students are reporting greater self-awareness, more positive self-perception and a greater sense of their own and their peers worth.
System Excellence Award
Winner – Social Work Incident Support Service, Flinders Park education office
The highly trained team provides direct consultation, support and advice to sites in response to hundreds of critical incidents each year, promoting the wellbeing of students in the wake of traumatic events and are instrumental in restoring calm following serious trauma. The team provide a duty line, onsite support and training packages that equip sites to manage vulnerable students with skilled and empathetic interventions. This enhances learner wellbeing which facilitates positive learning outcomes.
Finalist – STEM Aboriginal Student Congress design team, Learning Improvement
The only event of its kind in Australia, the STEM Aboriginal Student Congress has become a marquee annual occasion. In 2019, over 500 Aboriginal students connected with 90 STEM experts from across Australia to explore the relationships between traditional knowledge, culture and STEM. With the goal of investigating STEM in the context of Aboriginal knowledge, perspectives and voice, participants reported a positive shift in their dispositions toward STEM and an increased likelihood of studying STEM subjects.
Finalist – Upscaling teacher collective efficacy and learner impact, Inner West and Torrens partnership
The team is at the forefront of translating research into high impact, self-sustaining improvement in teaching practice that delivers measurable growth in learner outcomes. The approach, which began in 2018 with a trial of 40 year 4-5 teachers, has been scaled up to inform the practice of 450 educators at a partnership level, and led to the development of a model that can be applied to all sites.
Community Engagement Award
Winner – Lucy Standish, Teacher, Kilparrin Teaching and Assessment School and Services
Forging a partnership that sees students with multiple disabilities learning alongside an international composer and music educator, the Australian Youth Orchestra, and a violinist from London Symphony Orchestra, Lucy uses the power of music to celebrate inclusivity. Her 'music for all' philosophy, combined with an outstanding ability to connect with other schools, councils and community, instils in students a sense of passion and purpose.
Finalist – Iwantja Children and Family Centre, Indulkana Anangu School
A collaborative approach to programs, with meaningful input from families and the wider community, has quadrupled daily attendance in the last 4 years, and seen 100% of Indulkana Community children aged birth to 5 enrolled in a program. Putting culture and family at the centre of everything they do has created a service which is truly responsive to community needs.
Finalist – Way to Play, Port Augusta Children's Centre
Way to Play is an hour long community radio show combining entertainment with information to promote early childhood education services to Aboriginal families. Developed with Port Augusta’s Aboriginal community and featuring elders and community members sharing stories and singing in language, the innovative celebration of culture has increased enrolments by reaching out to families who find it difficult to connect to services.
Innovation in Practice Award
Winner – students as agents of change, Prospect North Primary School
Student agency is embedded in every process at Prospect North Primary School, contributing to improved NAPLAN results and increased student wellbeing. Innovative approaches, such as the “Kids Teach STEM” and “STEM in action” conference days, have seen students presenting to more than 500 adults. Children of all backgrounds have become confident speakers, role models and high level STEM learners.
Finalist – sustainable innovation through inquiry, Kangaroo Inn Area School
Collaboration and curiosity are at the centre of the Sustainable Innovation through Inquiry program at Kangaroo Inn Area School. Projects like solar-powered fish farming, making clay bricks to build a pizza oven and re-purposing feed bags into shopping bags and pencil cases are not only teaching students about sustainability, but boosting their creativity and engagement with STEM.
Finalist – Tristan Kouwenhoven, Assistant principal senior school, Brighton Secondary School
By rethinking home group to incentivise engagement in post-school pathways, Tristan and the senior school team are helping senior students make realistic and fulfilling plans. The program also prioritises teachers developing highly effective mentoring relationships with students. Prior to the program, 40% of students were getting offers in their top 3 preferences. Last year it was 87%. SACE completion rates are up, and student voice has improved.
Aunty Josie Agius Award
Winner – Rachel Amos, early childhood worker, Port Augusta Children's Centre
Rachel identified and is successfully addressing a barrier to local Aboriginal families accessing preschool. Her transition playgroup, which gives Aboriginal families with 2 year olds a relaxed introduction to the Port Augusta Children’s Centre, has increased preschool enrolments. The approach, which reflects her deep connection to the community, is being adopted in other centres across Port Augusta and beyond.
Finalist – Jayde Milburn, Aboriginal community education officer, Blakeview Primary School
Jayde has helped create a culturally inclusive learning environment, grounded in community. With a strong emphasis on accessibility and trust, her proactive work identifying and linking families to external support ensures the environment around the learning is conducive to success. Strong collaboration with teachers makes sure classroom programs are culturally appropriate and contribute to positive learning outcomes.
Finalist – Nadine Bilney, Preschool teacher, Port Lincoln Children's Centre
Nadine’s “high expectations” approach energises colleagues and creates confident, capable learners with a strong sense of identity and wellbeing. She co-designed take-home literacy kits that increased family-based reading and helped create an environment of infectious enthusiasm for books. Linking kindy to culture, she instigated a successful home visiting program to support attendance and engage parents in learning.
Performance Through Values Award
Winner – Janet Hughes, instructor in charge, Water Safety program
Janet has dedicated her professional life to making sure students with disabilities can enjoy the pool safely in an inclusive, positive environment. Following the closure of the Strathmont Centre pool, her high level problem solving skills and leadership ensured a seamless transition to a new facility. She is known across the state for her uncompromising high standards and focus on team.
Finalist – Karen Tohver, course manager, Registered Training Organisation
Karen has embraced the world class ethos, delivering high quality, nationally accredited training qualifications for leaders and aspiring leaders to help drive improvement across the education system. A supportive course manager, who gives participants the knowledge and confidence to improve themselves, she is helping to create a commitment to effective professional development that has an impact well beyond the organisation.
Finalist – Simone Baulderstone, senior human resources consultant, Operations Business Partnering
Simone is a senior HR consultant with a deep understanding of and respect for educators and a passion for making a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable young people. Known for her individualised approach to supporting sites, she always looks for opportunities to reshape central services to meet their needs. She has been instrumental in developing the department’s employee wellbeing programs in the APY Lands.
We also celebrate past winners and finalists. Read about our 2018 Public Education Awards winners and finalists. You can also read about our 2017 award winners and finalists.
Public Education Awards
Phone: 8226 2339
Email: publiceducationawards [at] sa.gov.au