Through life’s challenges, great teachers inspire

Twelve inspiring teachers from across the country are today being recognised for their unwavering leadership and commitment to their students and communities, at the 2021 Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards.

Whether it be integrating traditional school subjects with employment readiness, guiding student underwater robotics teams, or working with local Elders to incorporate Indigenous knowledge into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning, these educators have continued to evolve how they support their students. Moreover, over the last 12 months, they have also helped lead their schools through the unprecedented challenges of a global pandemic.

Priscilla Brown, Group Executive, Commonwealth Bank, said: “The unique challenges of the past year have highlighted, more than ever, the invaluable role teachers play in our communities, in our families and in our children’s lives. Teachers across the country, and the world, had to quickly adapt their teaching styles, embrace new technologies, and change the way they connected with students to ensure their education could continue.

“It has been even more remarkable to see how this year’s award recipients still found unique ways to engage their students even in the midst of a global pandemic. These inspiring teachers continued to innovate and transform the way they taught their students while making significant improvements to their learning experiences in everything from robotics, to community based learning and job readiness. I would like to congratulate this year’s recipients on their fabulous achievements,” Ms Brown said.

The annual Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards, in partnership with the national charity Schools Plus, celebrate and reward educators with the aim of inspiring excellent practice in schools across Australia, focussing on helping to address the education gap in areas of disadvantage around the country.

Rosemary Conn, Chief Executive Officer, Schools Plus, said: “The impact of a great teacher can be life-changing, and is undoubtedly one of the biggest factors that helps children succeed at school. We are delighted to be welcoming yet another cohort of talented teachers to our expanding network of Teaching Fellows, who epitomise the work that we do here at Schools Plus, and are transforming the future for their students.”

During a live national webcast ceremony today, each recipient will receive a $45,000 fellowship including $25,000 to rollout a strategic project in their school, $10,000 towards professional development and a group study tour to high performing schools.

The twelve Award winners have been shortlisted from more than 400 educators who have made outstanding contributions to both their schools and their wider communities. The 2021 Teaching Award winners are:

  • Alex Wharton, Head of Middle School Carinya Christian School Gunnedah, NSW
  • Anna Ritzema, Science & STEM Specialist teacher Tambrey Primary School, WA
  • Daniel Yore, Senior Teacher Secondary Yirrkala School, NT
  • Donna Harvey, Deputy Principal Beenleigh State High School, QLD
  • Hayley Dureau, Leading Teacher Mount Waverley Secondary College, VIC
  • Jennifer Parrett, Principal James Fallon High School, NSW
  • Jessica Chesterfield, Visual Art Teacher Hymba Yumba Independent School, QLD
  • Lloyd Godson, Teacher Hastings Secondary College Westport Campus, NSW
  • Paul Taylor, Principal Banora Point Public School, NSW
  • Rebecca Godfrey, Principal Blackwater State High School, QLD
  • Rebecca West, Deputy Principal Instructional Leader Bonnyrigg Public School, NSW
  • Wendy Bode, Deputy Principal Thuringowa State High School, QLD

The 2021 winners will join 48 alumni from previous years, including Mathematics superstar and YouTube sensation Eddie Woo, who have all been nationally recognised as leaders in their field, and who have made a real difference to the future of their students.

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