NEiTA Award Recipients

Teachers play an extraordinary yet understated part in the lives of children. That’s why ASG NEiTA supports communities in their effort to thank teachers for the education of our children and for being a tremendous positive influence in their lives.

Over the last 26 years, more than 40,000 teachers have been nominated by the community across Australia and New Zealand.
 
Hearty congratulations to the 23 national recipients of the 2020  National Excellence in Teaching Awards.
 

Clair Goodall, QLD – Early Childhood

Awarded the Futurity Parents Award in acknowledgment of being adjudged the best early childhood teacher nominated by an ASG/Futurity parent member.

Clair sees her students as superheroes, and with her abundantly positive manner they see her as one too.

She sees it as essential for the development of brain and physical development, and self-regulation that young children get up and move regularly. She has implemented a play-based curriculum called iTime where students have roles they carry out for which they are accountable, and which foster a sense of autonomy and love of learning.

During the COVID lockdown period, Clair implemented online teaching that provided her Logan City Queensland children with videos and a connection to her and fellow students.
 

Tiana Garlick WA – Early Childhood

Awarded in recognition of her outstanding contribution to student education and welfare in a year of pandemic.

Tiana works in Early Childhood a lower socio-economic part of Perth and has demonstrated a great ability to build community and inclusion with her Sustainable Learning Playground which she has also funded via Bunnings sausage sizzles.

 

Tiana is a committed lifelong learner who wishes to stay in the classroom and is on the path next to being a Learning Support Co-ordinator.

Merilyn Westrop, QLD – Primary

Awarded the Futurity Parents Award in acknowledgment of being adjudged the best early childhood teacher nominated by an ASG/Futurity parent member.

Merilyn and her teaching partner often extended the learning to outdoors. They created crazy outdoor adventure videos in order to engage and captivate the students (and as it turns out, their parents as well!).

 

Like a few other Primary teacher winners, Merilyn actively uses Seesaw (which she introduced to the school) for the student's digital portfolio, and something to be shared with parents. By her words and actions, Merilyn lives by her motto of wanting to be the "rainbow in someone else's cloud.”

Kye Foster, NSW – Primary

Awarded the NEiTA Early Career Teaching Award 2020 in recognition of his ability to meet the specific learning needs of students, within a few years of entering the teaching profession.

Kye is a first-year teacher of Indigenous heritage, who has already shown himself to be a leader by example in his school community of Dapto near Wollongong in NSW. During the COVID crisis, he helped get devices out to his lower socio-economic students and families. With some children in care of guardians with low computer literacy, he implemented a manual score card system. In class he implemented a flipped classroom and an innovative spelling program. Other innovations included a ‘Yarnin Circle’, and mindfulness spaces.

Bill Ellis, WA - Primary

Awarded in recognition of his outstanding contribution to student education and welfare in a year of pandemic.

Bill cites his growing understanding of the inquiry approach as profoundly transforming his teaching. With a strong focus on relationships and creating a sense of fun around learning, his teaching practice is now successfully eliciting, identifying and capturing children’s wonder, and then nurturing and extending it with creative construction projects such as building a volcano. During WA's lockdown period Bill's Zoom classes were characterised by his unusual costumes and accessories.

Kathryn Sharp, VIC - Primary

Awarded the NEiTA Founders’ Principals Award for Leadership in recognition of outstanding stewardship of student education and welfare, and exemplary teacher and school community leadership in a year of pandemic.

With more than three decades of teaching experience, Kathryn is a widely respected primary school principal who has successfully built a new school at a greenfield location in Melbourne's outer south-eastern suburbs over the past 4 years.

She has great talent in managing and engaging all stakeholders involved in school settings and has created a school of choice for teachers and students. Her schools are well known for teaching and learning excellence with many students achieving entry into Nossal High School, a selective entry school.

Considered in her school review to be an influencer, she is a reflective practitioner who learned from her young grads which served her well during the remote learning period.

Lucardia Moulton, QLD - Primary

Awarded in recognition of her outstanding contribution to student education and welfare in a year of pandemic.

Lucardia is a literacy leader at St Margaret’s Anglican Girls' School in Brisbane. She has responsibility to ensure the continuous literacy development of all students. Her greatest teaching innovations include the systematic monitoring of student learning using a range of reading comprehension data to track individual, class and cohort progress and educational research to inform and enhance practice, working alongside multiple teaching teams to build collective capacity. Lucardia has been instrumental in the strong K12 school-wide response of St Margaret’s to the need for remote learning.

Natalie Cooke, NSW - Primary

Awarded in recognition of her outstanding contribution to student education and welfare in a year of pandemic.

Only four years into her teaching career as a mature age entrant to the profession, Natalie is already a widely respected and influential educator in Sydney.

Natalie led her school's adoption of e-learning techniques. One of her demonstrated strengths is building caring and respectful relationships, working closely with parents and students to support student mental wellbeing and confidence with evident positive results.

Sonya Geraets, VIC - Primary

Awarded in recognition of her outstanding contribution to student education and welfare in a year of pandemic.

Sonya has come to teaching after training as a lawyer and being qualified as a barrister. In only her second year as a teacher she presents as a thoughtful, reflective, and highly committed practitioner. Teaching is her calling which "stills her heart," and which she found after first working as a teaching assistant. She demonstrates great empathy for her students.

Shelley DeRuyter, QLD – Secondary

Awarded the 2020 Terry O’Connell Regional and Remote Teachers’ Award in acknowledgement of the benefits she has brought to her students and the wider community through her untiring efforts and community involvement.

Shelley has been instrumental in developing her school's aquaculture program which is linked to the local economy and two university campuses in Townsville. To provide authenticity and relevance, she engages with local FNQ community professionals and current research to align curriculum standards, contemporary topics, industrial protocols, and skill development in her students. 

At the core of Shelley's practice and program planning is the use of applied scientific method and inquiry-based problem solving focusing on relevant context and authentic tasks.

Shelley has clearly connected her school with local industry, academe and the community and is a worthy winner of the Terry O'Connell Regional and Remote Teacher's Award.

Annemarie Denton, VIC - Secondary

Awarded in recognition of her outstanding contribution to student education and welfare in a year of pandemic.

 

An experienced and much-loved teacher, Annemarie describes having "found the most fantastic niche at Cornish College" in outer Melbourne.

The remote learning period afforded Annemarie a rare opportunity to lead and collaborate with colleagues on evolving their student-focussed inquiry-based curriculum. Like many of our 2020 winners Annemarie used technology to build connection and empower her students through the pandemic.

Brendan Zani, WA - Secondary

Awarded in recognition of his outstanding contribution to student education and welfare in a year of pandemic.

Brendan imbues a strong sense of school community at Scotch College and the importance of trusting relationships. During WA's relatively short school shutdown, Brendan demonstrated a highly collaborative approach to working with both students and fellow teachers.

His systems and design focus assisted the school to better structure on-line content delivery. He unselfishly shared the learnings from his master’s thesis which he hopes to soon publish after peer review.

Matthew Frampton, VIC – Secondary

Awarded the NEiTA Early Career Teaching Award 2020 in recognition of his ability to meet the specific learning needs of students, within a few years of entering the teaching profession.

As an early career secondary music teacher in Victoria at Whitefriars College, Matthew greatly impressed the judges with his response to lockdown by using a mix of media and employing flipped classroom techniques for musical composition and rehearsal. Students demonstrated a greater sense of independence and responsibility, with many making great strides in their musical development. He developed an electronic music program for Years 9-10, using Ableton Live technology which allowed students to explore music as digital artists. He enabled students harness their creativity which provided a valuable outlet from the stresses of lockdown.

Denis Overberg, VIC – Secondary

Awarded the Futurity Parents Award in acknowledgment of being adjudged the best secondary teacher nominated by an ASG/Futurity parent member.

Denis entered Victoria's remote learning period with the view that everything created must be re-usable and learnt that there is nothing you shouldn't share widely with students and colleagues. He was able to use 100's of instructional videos he'd already created to engage students one on one and support collaborative learning. As a Secondary Maths teacher and Learning Specialist he actively works to develop the profession and nurture and mentor new graduates. A mature entrant to the profession he brings great passion for teaching and an "always learning" mindset.

Joanne Gray, NSW - Secondary

Awarded the NEiTA Founders’ Principals Award for Leadership in recognition of outstanding stewardship of student education and welfare, and exemplary teacher and school community leadership in a year of pandemic.

Joanne has led her school through the COVID-19 outbreak and before this with "grace and a fierce focus on no student being disadvantaged.” She has ensured that every student had access to technology and that staff were able to deliver every lesson for every student every day during the online learning period.

She leads by example by taking a teaching load and with her door always open. Joanne is a strong proponent of the integration of Arts teaching with STEM noting that music composers were the original code writers. Further, she highlights the vital importance of soft skills that have become paramount for commerce and social engagement during the COVID-19 period.

Peter Bothe, WA - Secondary

Awarded the NEiTA Founders’ Principals Award for Leadership in recognition of outstanding stewardship of student education and welfare, and exemplary teacher and school community leadership in a year of pandemic.

As highlighted by his nomination, Peter is not only an outstanding leader within his college, but within the entire education community. He is in touch from the micro level at the school – he knows most of the 1400+ students by name and is out there every recess chatting with students - to the macro level where he has been the leader on many educational boards as well as the

Head of the Secondary Principals Association.

He is innovative in his leadership and staff flourish under his guidance because they feel he cares about them as individuals. An experienced mentor of other school principals, in future he plans to work as a principal's advisor for the Catholic Education Office in WA. With 42 years of teaching experience, Peter is the teacher with the longest service record in this year’s Awards.

Zachary Gomo, VIC - Secondary

Awarded in recognition of his outstanding contribution to student education and welfare in a year of pandemic.

Zachary is a strong advocate for looking at school as a community and for taking a holistic view of the student, not just what they present in the classroom.

He demonstrates the valuable role of technology in breaking down barriers in parts of the community that may be closed. Zach Has been a leader at his school in promoting student agency and inter-cultural understanding. He is also a key part of Bialik College's pathbreaking engagement with Harvard University's Cultures of Thinking program led by Dr Edward Clapp.

Moana Tautua was honoured with NEiTA NZ’s inaugural Early Career Award.

Ms Tautua, who is only in her fourth year of teaching after a successful career in the media, established a junior bilingual unit, Te Purapura. Despite COVID-19, she built strong relationships with her tamariki and their whanau through her vision of restoring mana to te reo Māori. Ms Tautua’s pupils actively engage in learning, whilst developing their identities and sense of self-worth through the digital learning programme she designed.

By term three, Te Purapura students were reading in both English and Te Reo. Ms Tautua’s nominator said Māori within Te Purapura "are genuinely succeeding as Māori. Moana is an asset to our community and deserves to be recognised as an exceptional teacher and leader."

Laura Wheeler was recognised for their outstanding contribution to student education and welfare.

Ms Wheeler’s experience moving her classroom online in recent years has paid dividends during COVID-19 school shutdowns. During Auckland’s two lock downs, she gamified her classroom and successfully reached children previously unable to read nor write. Laura demonstrated her leadership credentials by leading an e-learning project at her primary school.

David Ivory was recognised for their outstanding contribution to student education and welfare.

Dr Ivory is a teacher with a strong social conscience which he imbues in his students. Over the last four years teaching at a low decile school, comprising students from many diverse cultures, he has supported students in winning multiple national awards for work outside the classroom. He engages with the community, including prison inmates, and those struggling with alcohol addiction. “Dr Ivory gives his students hope and has high expectations for them; he is an exceptional teacher,” says his nominator.

Caroline Robertson was awarded the inaugural ASG Parents’ Award in New Zealand.

The honour is presented to a teacher who parents nominate as having made a significant difference to the lives of their students, school families and communities.

Caroline is a German teacher who combined humour with real life interactive activities in her online classes, and posted videos during lockdown. Parent nominators say she has a flair for immersing the students in hilarious foreign language conversations no matter what their level, boosting their confidence and wellbeing. During lockdown, Caroline's other role as Director of International Students came to the fore as she took on the pastoral care for visiting international students grounded in NZ, and orchestrated international learning experiences for local students.

Nick Coughlan - awarded a NEiTA Founders’ Principals Award for Leadership

Nick was recognised for his outstanding stewardship of student education.

Mr Coughlan’s nominator said that throughout this year Nick has displayed outstanding leadership. “Under lockdown he was calm and lead from the front, with strong communication as key. Nick is highly community focused and parents, staff and students all felt supported and listened to. He spent hours working with the Ministry to help students access devices and hard copy materials during lockdown.”

Richard Crawford awarded a NEiTA Founders’ Principals Award for Leadership

Richard was recognised for his outstanding stewardship of student education. With 31 years of experience in the teaching profession, Mr Crawford is a respected principal and community leader who is Lead Principal of 18 schools in his region. His nominator says “Richard's practice is built on trust and true cultural sensitivity; he maintains a high degree of viability and approachability for his teachers, students and parents. He leads a school that has also become a leader having started with it when it was in statutory management. He is a strong believer in the importance of culture.”

The NEiTA selection process includes a comprehensive nomination outline, a written paper, and a video interview with our NEiTA judging panel, including esteemed educators associated with school and higher education. Parents, grandparents, teachers, secondary student councils, student boards, parent associations, committees of management, and community organisations throughout Australia and New Zealand nominated teachers and school principals, of which 23 recipients have been selected to receive the 2020 NEiTA Awards.

Since its inception in 1994, the NEiTA Foundation has contributed more than $1 million in professional development grants to outstanding teachers in Australia and New Zealand.

 

Media contact

For further information or to arrange an interview with a NEiTA award winner, NEiTA Chairman Allen Blewitt, and/or Futurity CEO Ross Higgins, please email media@futurityinvest.com.