The Victorian Education Excellence Awards recognise inspirational teachers, principals and support staff who improve young lives and give Victorian children the skills, courage and curiosity they need to be their best.
Twenty-seven individuals and teams from government schools across Victoria were shortlisted for the 2016 awards which will be presented on Friday 28 October at the Plaza Ballroom, Melbourne.
The 2016 individual finalists are:
Outstanding Business Manager Award Finalists
Lara Secondary College
Shirley Niblett is devoted to building capacity and excellence in business managers in Victorian government schools. Described by her Principal as her greatest asset, Shirley has instigated numerous programs and efficiencies to make life easier for staff, students and parents alike at Lara Secondary College.
While delivering the highest standards in her own demanding role, Shirley also invests much time developing learning opportunities for her professional peers.
She established the North Network for Business Managers across 27 primary and secondary schools, and the Geelong Secondary Schools Business Managers Association.
Shirley sets ambitious goals for herself and provides mentoring and support to others to strive for the same.
Mill Park Heights Primary School
Julie Findley is an integral member of her Principal Class Advisory Team at Mill Park Heights Primary School. Her extensive knowledge of Departmental policy and school business administration underpins the meticulous planning of teaching and learning resources for 1000 students and 100 staff.
Julie provides key advice and assistance in all major decisions – she is considered a rock by her colleagues for the expertise and insight she brings to the table.
Julie’s competencies are the result of her own motivation and initiative. She has participated in many Department consultative forums and initiatives, and played a key role in the early development of a secure parent payment system that paved the way for its roll-out across 400 schools nationwide.
Julie is a leader and mentor whose opinion and skills are sought sector wide.
South Geelong Primary School
Kylie Roskosch believes that business managers play a vital role in contributing to a strong and positive school culture. She is firmly focused on student outcomes and committed to the continuous improvement of school resources and business planning to achieve them.
Kylie has led key initiatives at South Geelong Primary School to deliver significant outcomes in school funding, operations and staff capacity.
She also has a genuine interest in developing future business managers – establishing the ‘Vital to Aspire’ mentoring program for her aspiring peers in the Geelong region. Following exceptional feedback, Kylie plans to extend the concept to other Victorian regions.
Kylie has received a Collegiate Recognition Award for her contribution to her profession by the Association of Business Managers in Victorian State Schools.
Outstanding Primary Teacher Award Finalists
Hastings Primary School
Having worked more than 30 years in the Hastings community, Julie Bryant has a deep understanding and regard for the children that enter her classroom every day.
Her special interest in the early years has seen Julie lead key transition and wellbeing programs, and local early years initiatives to give every child at Hastings Primary the very best start.
Through her own research, further studies and a commitment to improving outcomes for local families, Julie has been instrumental in delivering practical strategies such as Kidsmatter and Flying Start at her school, and developing the Linking Schools and Early Years projects within the broader Hastings community.
Julie has worked tirelessly with school colleagues, early educators and community services to continuously improve student development, wellbeing and learning outcomes.
Northern Bay P-12 College
Can 'The Chicken Dance' be life-changing? According to Amanda Baulch it can.
When a child dances with their parents for the very first time, Amanda knows she's made a difference.
Amanda has delivered an outstanding performing arts program across five campuses in one of Victoria’s lowest socio-economic school catchments. She has inspired and engaged students through family dances, artists-in-residence programs and the school's participation in the State School Spectacular. Amanda also helped develop a strong presence of performing arts in the wider Geelong area.
Amanda's stunning success now sees her coordinating an even more ambitious offering of after-school electives in music, sport, language and more. The program removes all access barriers to an array of activities for Northern Bay’s 2000 students.
Warrnambool Primary School
Jacqui Gore is adored by her students, admired by colleagues and respected by her community. For 18 years, she has devoted herself to enhancing the lives of children and their families in Warrnambool.
Jacqui has fostered extensive and strong ties with the local Koorie community and has developed sophisticated curriculum programs aimed at building indigenous awareness, identity and pride.
She has designed a wellbeing program to strengthen emotional intelligence, and a global citizens program to help students appreciate, contribute to and find their place in the world.
Jacqui sees beyond the school gates and applies herself with a deep moral purpose to Warrnambool Primary’s vision of ‘caring for the whole child’.
Jacqui is an advocate, leader and enabler of positive sustainable change.
Outstanding Secondary Teacher Award Finalists
Mount Ridley P-12 College
Vanessa Davies is a dedicated young educator who is changing lives at Mount Ridley College. Her caring and intuitive approach has seen the establishment of a specialised teaching unit for students impacted by trauma.
With advice and assistance from the Berry Street Foundation, Vanessa introduced a teaching model that addresses wellbeing, relationships and engagement as part of its key learnings.
Indicators of the program's success have been increased attendance rates, significant academic growth across curriculum areas and the eager involvement of students in activities including visits to a local nursing home.
Vanessa has provided students with the opportunity to experience purpose and success, where traditional teaching methods had often failed to resonate.
Mount Waverley Secondary College
When a teacher calls her class a boot camp, you know she means business. But Hayley Dureau doesn't expect push-ups from her students – just some serious number crunching!
In 2013, Hayley identified a learning gap in some of her maths students and swiftly responded with before-school lessons to bring them up to speed. The initiative has since increased engagement in maths across her senior classes.
Hayley is passionate about student-teacher relationships and has led a whole-school transformation in student voice and leadership. She has also enriched learning experiences by supporting students' participation in community events and award nominations.
Hayley is a teaching dynamo, considered a leader and innovator in her profession. She has presented at local, national and overseas forums, and has undertaken post-graduate studies to further her teaching competencies.
Ringwood Secondary College
Ben Moody is adamant that student learning takes many forms. In addition to his traditional classroom lessons as an English teacher, Ben leads a performing arts program that has taken Ringwood Secondary College international.
Under Ben’s creative direction, hundreds of students have showcased their talents in an award-winning school musical and a five-week performing arts tour across eight countries.
Ben’s belief in the power of performance has created unique student learning experiences while imparting invaluable life skills such as teamwork and resilience.
Parents and colleagues alike have commented on the cognitive and emotional benefits for students that flow from Ben’s quality program.
Outstanding Primary Principal Award Finalists
Truganina P-9 College
As the inaugural principal of Truganina P-9 College, which opened in 2015, Jennifer Crowle has embraced a unique opportunity to lay the foundations for this new school’s success.
With an aspirational target of achieving 18 months of learning growth for every student annually, Jennifer’s foremost priority has been developing a capable staff as passionate about education as she is.
Jennifer supports in-depth staff professional learning firmly aligned with her vision for Truganina College, and puts best practice and evidence-based data at the forefront of all planning and discussions.
Her dynamic leadership has inspired a culture of collective responsibility among staff eager to establish teaching and learning excellence at the outset of the school’s journey.
Jennifer also provides valuable input to system-wide collaborations through her role as Chair of the Wyndham Principals Network.
Wilmot Road Primary School
When Jenny Manuel saw her school named in a Melbourne newspaper as one of the lowest performing in reading, she resolved that Wilmot Road Primary would not be that statistic again.
Engaging two leading literacy and numeracy experts, Jenny simultaneously improved teaching and learning outcomes – arming staff and students alike with the tools and tenacity to take them forward.
Jenny has also worked tirelessly to give her school a voice and a profile in the local community – sitting on committees, visiting organisations and forging partnerships to build mutually-beneficial connections.
Leading a linguistically and culturally diverse school community, Jenny believes in the value of belonging and seeks constantly to create opportunities that build trust, enthusiasm and connection for her students with their education journey and wider community.
Woori Yallock Primary School
Danny Hyndman was recognised this year in The Educator magazine as one of Australia’s brightest education talents under the age of 40.
Since 2011, Danny has halted and reversed Woori Yallock Primary School’s profile from one of steeply declining performance to a model of powerful teaching and learning programs observed by visiting educators.
Under his leadership, Danny has raised expectations for staff and students alike and engaged the broader school community in a positive journey towards sustained improvement.
Recent opinion surveys confirm a positive and collaborative culture amongst staff, and rising student enrolments show a renewed community confidence in Woori Yallock's trajectory towards excellence.
Outstanding Secondary Principal Award Finalists
John Monash Science School
Peter Corkill feels genuinely privileged to lead Victoria’s first school specialising in science, mathematics and associated technologies.
Since 2010, Peter has led and inspired an innovative team – delivering a curriculum edge for over 600 students at the John Monash Science School annually.
In partnership with Monash University, Peter has developed an engaging program of emerging STEM studies – utilising Monash’s high-tech facilities, leading educators, researchers and industry experts.
Classes are also accessible for aspiring young scientists in regional and remote Victoria through Peter's extensive work in developing the Emerging Sciences Victoria online suite of outreach programs, as well as an annual Science Exchange for 30 regional students.
Peter’s vision, pride and enthusiasm for his school resonate through his students’ success – with some 85 percent moving in to STEM university courses annually.
Fernando Ianni sees disadvantage every day. But he refuses to see it as a pre-determinant of an education outcome.
Described by his peers as a visionary, Fernando has inspired and implemented numerous initiatives to overcome disadvantage in Melbourne’s outer north. From refugee support groups to vocational programs for disengaged youths, Fernando has an absolute commitment to equity and inclusion.
Through his school’s vision statement – ‘With mutual respect, we learn and achieve’ – he has instilled a collective responsibility in the Roxburgh College culture, curriculum and community.
Fernando leads with a moral purpose and a determination to support and empower every one of his students to successfully complete their education journey.
Tim Blunt is considered by his staff as a leader, supporter and advocate of their aspirations to achieve exceptional student outcomes.
Over the past ten years, Tim has fostered a culture of continuous improvement and professional learning that has inspired award-winning literacy and numeracy programs, and the implementation of Sunshine College’s highly-acclaimed Pathways connectedness program.
Tim’s leadership model of empowering both staff and students has delivered curriculum innovation and learning outcomes that have put Sunshine College on the global stage.
The college motto of ‘creating futures’ underpins Tim’s ambitious vision to overcome disadvantage through education excellence.