Meet the 2018 finalists for outstanding secondary teacher award

The Victorian Education Excellence Awards celebrate the outstanding efforts of educators who change the lives of students.

Cassandra Marinopoulos, Tony Vallance and John Lane are the finalists for the 2018 Outstanding Secondary Teacher Award in the Victorian Education Excellence Awards. They have been recognised for their efforts to further the education of their students. Read their stories below.

Cassandra Marinopoulos, Berwick College

Mathematics teacher, Cassandra Marinopoulos, believes that to meet the individual learning needs of students across the spectrum of abilities you need to understand how they learn.

Cassandra is involved in her school's Getting Ready in Numeracy (GRIN) program which works to instil a growth mindset in mathematics students who might otherwise underachieve in the subject.

'By creating a culture of supportiveness with high expectations, I aim to instil a growth mindset in all students across all abilities,' said Cassandra.

Cassandra has completed extensive professional learning in literacy and mathematics teaching and learning strategies. She shares her knowledge and is a driving force behind peer collaboration at Berwick College.

'I've worked hard to enhance whole school accountability for quality teaching and learning, and to build a culture of collaboration with my peers to positively impact student learning.'

Cassandra has collaborated with the college's engagement and inclusion leader to deliver professional learning workshops for integration aides to build their capacity to differentiate literacy instruction. The program caters for students from the Program for Students with Disabilities through to the college's high achievers program.

Cassandra has played a key role to enhance whole-school accountability for quality teaching and learning.

Tony Vallance, Lilydale High School

Learning Specialist and STEAM Coordinator at Lilydale High School, Tony Vallance believes his students become powerful in an environment that fosters creativity and critical thinking.

Placing multimodal learning activities at the core of his pedagogy, he developed the STEAMworks flexible learning space, where students make remarkable strides in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

'From robotics and coding to virtual reality, STEAMworks develops the skills students need for the workplaces of tomorrow.'

'We also host a 'STEAMqueens' workshop to inspire our future female scientists to get hands-on with technology.'

The students are the architects of their projects, and Tony guides their learning experience.

Tony's pedagogy is personalised, dynamic and student-centred. He establishes rapport with students and seeks to empower them. He uses narrative and movement to engage students to contextualise content delivery and teach important concepts.

'Every day is a new opportunity to empower my students to take ownership of their learning and to grow through creativity and critical thinking.'

John Lane, Sunbury College

John Lane is the Middle Years Program Leader at Sunbury College. He teaches health, physical education and personal development.

John is passionate about the role of student voice and agency.

'There is so much we can learn from our students and I go to great measures to ensure that we do,' says John.

Advocacy for student voice means John plays a major role in oversight of the Student Representative Council, where he works with student leaders to empower them to run the SRC meetings and student involvement processes.

'By developing my students' reflective and critical thinking abilities – I strive to proactively engage them with their learning journey.'

John is recognised for his commitment to help students extend their skills and take on new challenges. He endeavours to engage them in meaningful experiences that contribute to personal development, and reinforce positive academic growth.

'I believe that aspiration and achievement follow engagement and wellbeing, and there's no greater satisfaction than helping students to accomplish this.'

Meet more finalists

There are finalists in nine award categories in the Victorian Education Excellence Awards.

Meet the other finalists and celebrate the dedication of these leading educators.

Meet the finalists for the 2018 VEEAs
Winners are to be announced in October​