Victorian Education Excellence Awards finalists announced

Finalists for the Victorian Education Excellence Awards (VEEA) were announced on Monday 16 September. The awards recognise inspirational education professionals who empower all students to succeed.

This year's finalists created the best learning conditions for their students to become engaged citizens who will shape the world around them.  

Meet two 2019 finalists

Linda Hawkless – Kingswood Primary School

Linda Hawkless
Linda Hawkless

Kingswood Primary School teacher Linda Hawkless has been nominated for an Outstanding Primary Teacher Award.

Linda approaches teaching by following her students' lead. 'I encourage their natural interests and allow them to become curious learners,' Linda says. 'I want every child at our school to have the most productive and enjoyable educational experience possible.'

For the past decade, Linda has worked in the literacy intervention department and foundation classrooms. She supports her fellow teachers through professional development.

Linda has helped deliver massive improvements in student outcomes in literacy and maths at the Foundation level.

'When past families and pupils come back to Kingswood and tell me how important my teaching was to their development, I feel humbled,' Linda says.

'It emphasises for me how privileged I am to be a teacher. It inspires me to make Kingswood Primary School the best place it can be.'

John Millard – Warrnambool East Primary School

John Millard
Physical education teacher John Millard

Warrnambool East Primary School Physical Education teacher and Learning Specialist John Millard is nominated for the Excellence in Physical Education and Activity Award – Primary Teacher.

John says he feels proud of his nomination, but also a bit embarrassed. 'I realise there are thousands of teachers in Victoria doing great work in schools,' John says. 'I felt lucky as I am rewarded for teaching a subject I truly love.'

John has been teaching for 41 years, with 25 years as a Physical Education teacher. With a passion for sport and a love of encouraging others to achieve their best, John believes he was destined to teach Physical Education. 'I've received a huge amount of inspiration and motivation from mentors and leaders in my own life,' John says.

'I feel lucky to share my love of sport and exercise with students. It's the students that keep me young and healthy. It is also gratifying watching students succeed and having lots of fun. It's the smile on student's faces that makes it all worthwhile.'

John believes Physical Education and connecting to students is the best way to improve outcomes and drive positive change.

'Being physically active as a young person gives you confidence and positivity that can last a lifetime,' John says. 'I do feel proud seeing improvement in students as they progress through the years to adult life, living active lives.'

John has great relationships with his fellow teachers and the wider school community. This has improved achievement, engagement and wellbeing at school.

'Every day I look for new ways to build my skills and be a better teacher,' John says. 'I don't believe this journey of discovery ever ends.'

The Victorian Education Excellence Award

There are nine School and Student Outcome Awards and three new Specialist Awards categories. Winners receive professional development grants of up to $25,000 to support their work in schools.

The Lindsay Thompson Award for Excellence in Education is presented to a winner from one of the School and Student Outcome Award categories. The winner is judged to have made the most outstanding contribution to Victorian government school education. They receive an additional $20,000 professional development grant.

Visit VEEA to see the other finalists.