Local teachers, students and schools are among 105 individuals and schools acknowledged for their exceptional student achievement and inspiring public education in the2021 NSW Minister’s and Secretary’s Awards for Excellence.
The awardees include teachers, staff and parents who have made major contributions to their school communities and serve as role models to their peers.
Also showcased are schools that have developed innovative programs focused on student wellbeing, improving school results or changing the way education is delivered within the government system.
Minister’s Award for Excellence in Student Achievement
Riley Jones, Kurri Kurri High School: exemplary student consistently producing work of a high standard with an impressive record representing the school academically, culturally, and in sport and leadership.
Chloe Smith, Lambton High School: strong performer academically, in school leadership, and in sport at school, regional and State level, with a strong service ethic for her school and community.
Alexa Stuart, Lambton High School: outstanding HSC achiever, particularly in maths and visual arts, as well as leading through the SRC and as School Captain, and a passionate advocate for climate action.
Zoe Tudor, Singleton High School: exemplary student personifying the values of public education through her diligence and commitment to herself and her school community, as reflected in her academic, sporting and leadership success.
Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching
Andrew Clifton, Maitland Public School: Learning and Support Teacher with an outstanding connection with students,technology and data management skills he has shared to benefit students and staff, and the skills to support both students with learning difficulties and those benefitting from extension work.
Melanie Naylor, Hunter River High School: exemplary faculty and school leader who has achieved the highest HSC value-added data across multiple subjects, and augmented the skills of the school executive as an instructional leader.
Michael Richards, Rutherford Technology High School: outstanding advocate for his colleagues as shown in the high quality professional learning he has supported to improve student learning.
Secretary’s Award for Excellent Service
James Harris, Heaton Public School: School Learning Support Officer (SLSO) who has provided outstanding support to refugee and English as an Additional Language/Dialect (EAL/D) students while learning his craft as a classroom teacher.
Secretary’s Award for Outstanding School Initiative
Hunter River High School: school has used COVID funding support for the Learning Opportunities for Tomorrow program, matching innovative approaches to teaching reading, writing and numeracy to the specific needs of students.
Secretary’s School Achievement Award
Callaghan College, Jesmond Senior, Wallsend and Waratah Campuses: campuses have shown exemplary practice from their Instructional Leaders, each addressing a specific area of need in their faculty and building the capacity of their colleagues.
NSW Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell said the 2021 awards highlighted the excellence underpinning the NSW public school system even as schools, students and teachers have navigated the challenges of natural disasters and a global pandemic.
These awards reveal that regardless of the circumstances, our students, teachers, principals and the school community are always striving for learning and teaching excellence,” Ms Mitchell said.
Department of Education Secretary Georgina Harrisson said the geographic spread of award winners demonstrated that the State’s public education system was delivering excellence regardless of location.
Whether it is the use of technology to deliver language classes across the State, an on-site observatory inspiring the astronomers of the future or a program using a school cafeteria to improve wellbeing, the programs represented in these awards are just the tip of the iceberg in outstanding initiatives that are happening across the NSW public education system,” Ms Harrisson said.
The winners, from across NSW, were selected in the following categories:
• Minister’s Award for Excellence in Student Achievement
• Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching
• Secretary’s Award for Excellent Service
• Secretary’s Award for an Outstanding School Initiative
• Secretary’s School Achievement Award
• Public School Parent of the Year
The Minister’s Award for Excellence in Student Achievement considers achievement in the academic, sporting, cultural and leadership fields, commitment to the school community and personal values.
The Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching considers professional knowledge, practice and engagement.
The Public Education Foundation’s executive director David Hetherington said the foundation was proud to host the awards on behalf of Education Minister Sarah Mitchell and Department Secretary Georgina Harrisson.
These awards celebrate the exceptional work that occurs every day across NSW public education – by schools, students, teachers, employees and parents,” Mr Hetherington said.
In 2021, the standard is as high as ever and perhaps even more impressive as this work has been undertaken against the backdrop of a pandemic.”
Award citations are on the Public Education Foundation website at www.publiceducationfoundation.org.au