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2022 Winners


Hearty congratulations to the recipients of the 2022 National Excellence in Teaching Awards.

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Danielle Burt
Oatley Red Bear Preschool, NSW

Winner of NEiTA Seed Award

Danielle’s nominator calls her a one-in-a-million educator. Throughout COVID she managed to continually find creative ways to create interesting and unique learning experiences for the children, which benefited the classroom, brought joy to the families and inspired those around her.


Danielle’s co-workers find her enthusiasm for early childhood contagious. Teaching for 14 years now, Danielle has proven to be a mentor for the centre’s other educators. Danielle’s love for teaching her young learners is evident in everything she does.

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Florence Coghlan 
All Hallows' School, Brisbane, QLD

Winner of NEiTA Apple Award and the NEiTA Early Careers Teaching Award

Florence is an outstanding senior physics and chemistry teacher and the curriculum leader for digital pedagogy at the school. Her purposeful attention to constructing learning experiences, with checks for understanding and ways to adjust teaching strategies to respond to evidence of learning, demonstrates the thoughtfulness and expertise of a teacher meeting the development needs of learners.


As curriculum leader for digital pedagogy, Florence has gone to extraordinary effort to research, develop, and present professional development opportunities for staff that examine effective pedagogies supported by emerging digital technologies.

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Amanda Sheridan
St Edward's Primary School - Infants Tamworth, NSW

Winner of NEiTA Apple Award

Amanda is an outstanding teacher – a quiet achiever who goes about her day making everyone else feel important, motivated and supported, while displaying her leadership, knowledge and professional qualities through her achievements. Her strength lies in her care and compassion for students, colleagues and the school community.

Amanda puts in extra time to provide academic and emotional support for her students, particularly for students with disabilities. Her passion and commitment to her work shows that Amanda, who has been teaching for 22 years, is a true professional who loves her job and genuinely cares about the students.


Amanda has been commended for, almost singlehandedly, making a huge impact on the inclusion strategy in her school and the wider Catholic Diocese

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Michele Pikunic
Worongary State School, QLD

Winner of NEiTA Apple Award

Michele paints a picture of a dynamic classroom where students are challenged to be creative, think outside the box and are in the driver’s seat for their learning.

She is a passionate educator applying the best pedagogy while exhibiting an enthusiasm and love for seeing students achieve.

Michele’s major focus at present is STEM and she is keen on sharing her passion in the subjects, build a community to support learners with similar interests and to empower others. She manages to motivate students struggling in their subjects to develop an interest in STEM and go on to win national-level competitions. Michele has also created very strong links with the community by working with the parents on a robotics project

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Kerri Bolch
Berwick College, VIC

Winner of NEiTA Founders’ Principals Leadership Award

Kerri has 41 years of teaching experience, and it shows in her expert knowledge of teaching and learning.

Kerri has taught a broad range of subject areas including English, Maths and VCAL, and is enjoying her recent return to the classroom in response to staff shortages during the pandemic.

Kerri is well respected in the community for her approach to trauma informed practice and improving mental health of all community members. In 2021 she was successful in securing funding for a $1.5million Health and Wellbeing Centre which offers parent forums, has resident psychologists and ensures access to wellbeing support for 1700 students and their families. She also has several other awards to her credit

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Corinne Pinguet 
Ngahina Kindergarten, Paparaumu  

Winner of NEiTA Seed Award

Corinne was nominated for the awards by a parent for going above and beyond her duty and responsibilities quietly without advertising it or seeking praise for her efforts.


Corinne, who has been teaching for 17 years, has been called a “passionate teacher” - someone who is calm, patient, and loving and an educator that really seeks to see what makes each child tick.


Corinne focus on the individual, efforts to make early childhood learning inclusive, and for walking the talk - all contribute to her success as a teacher and her popularity among the members of her school community.

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Jane Jarman
Kerikeri High School, Kerikeri

Winner of NEiTA Apple Award

Jane, who has been teaching for 20 years – 16 at Kerikeri High School – is the Head of History and has recently added teacher mentoring to her list of responsibilities in the school.

Jane supports students in using the past to decipher the present and to develop their critical thinking and writing skills. Jane has overhauled the history curriculum to include New Zealand and Maori histories.

Jane who considers herself a lifelong learner, constantly searches for powerful examples and anecdotes that will resonate with the learners and help them connect with history.

Jane is a “curriculum innovator” who cleverly incorporates cultural education practices and adapts a traditional curriculum area to suit the needs of Maori/Pasifika and pakeha students.

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Richie Miller
Newlands College, Wellington

Special Commendation

Richie is a science enthusiast with a lot of potential - an early career teacher who identified the importance of developing scientific literacy among his students and puts efforts into increasing it. Richie incorporates advanced strategies to meet the learning needs of the students.


Richie is committed to helping all students leave school with scientific literacy that allows them to think critically about the world around them and enables them to make positive decisions regarding themselves and their environment.

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Dulari Gonawala 
Goodstart Early Learning, VIC

Winner of NEiTA Seed Award 

Dulari is still early in her teaching career but has already displayed a passion to build on her knowledge and skills, implementing inquiry-based projects with a STEM approach and focusing on the individual learning journeys of the learners in her care, extending their goals and stretching their limits.


She can often be found supporting, coaching and mentoring the rest of the team. She has built strong connections with the community by involving them in setting up a Bush Tucker Garden and assisted in enhancing the early childhood centre’s cultural awareness by supporting the publishing of the centre’s Reconciliation Action Plan.

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Louise Brown 
St Margaret's Anglican Girls School, QLD

Winner of NEiTA Apple Award and the Teacher Mentor Award

Louise is Head of the Faculty of Sociocultural Studies at the School and approaches the responsibilities that come with the role with a keen determination to continue furthering her faculty’s as well as her own knowledge and understanding of the subject areas.


Her commitment to continuing personal and professional growth and development models to her students a love and gratitude for learning. Her dedication and enthusiasm are contagious.


Louise is always looking for ways to empower her students not only in academic pursuits but also in their ability to integrate what they are learning in the classroom into everyday life, giving them the tools necessary to live in a diverse and complex world.

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Emma Wilson
Living School, NSW

Winner of NEiTA Apple Award and the Terry O’Connell Regional and Remote Teachers’ Award

Emma’s capabilities as a teacher really shone when the school lost both its campuses in the Lismore floods this year, which compounded the impacts of the change and uncertainty experienced by the students over the COVID period.

Emma started as a new teacher at the school at the beginning of this year and has already made a mark for caring for her class and enriching the learning and lives of the students.

Emma motivates her learners to push their limits by exposing them to extraordinary learning experiences such as bringing motivational speakers from all walks of life, discussing new ideas as well as finding innovative resources for classroom activities.

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Peter Langham 
Monterey Secondary College, VIC 

Winner of NEiTA Founders’ Principals Leadership Award

Peter has led Monterey Secondary College through an exceptional period of growth and improvement in recent times. Since being appointed College Principal in 2019, Peter has led a number of innovative change initiatives at the school to improve student engagement and outcomes.


Peter has also improved staff culture, lifted the standard of professional practice and empowered teachers to plan, collaborate and respond to student needs more effectively.


The NEiTA judges note that Peter is a transforming Principal who managed to turn around the educational outcomes of the school, which caters to families in a low socio-economic region and which faced numerous behavioural and other challenges, creates powerful interventions, and preparing his staff for future leadership roles.

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Jeanette Kaindell
Monterey Secondary College, VIC 

Winner of The Smith Family-NEiTA Award for Powering Potential

Jeanette leads Monterey’s Engagement and Wellbeing programs, working with students experiencing intergenerational poverty and disadvantage.


She leads a team of staff that help provide personalised and innovative support, including support from The Smith Family, to help students re-engage with their schooling. Jeanette’s holistic and dedicated approach to ensuring students can flourish at school and beyond is much appreciated and valued by the school community.

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Kererū Team
Kids' Domain Early Learning Centre, Auckland 

Winner of Apple Award 

The Kereru Team comprises a group of early childhood educators who engaged in a hugely successful and innovative project during a challenging year.


The inquiry project brought them together with tamariki and whanau to explore the generative learning potential of an everyday natural material such as Ti Kouka or cabbage trees. Throughout the inquiry, kaiako researched new theories and ideas to enrich their practice.


The Keretu Team is clearly a cohesive and committed team and their efforts are truly impressive. They adopt inquiry-based approaches strengthening connections and embedding practice/philosophy

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Angela Walters
Fairfield Intermediate School, Hamilton

Winner of the NEiTA Founders’ Principals Leadership Award

Angela is the sort of principal who knows every child in the school by name, and rain or shine is at the gates each morning to welcome the students warmly with a smile.


Under Angela’s leadership, Fairfield Intermediate, which serves students from a low socio-economic background, has done a U-turn from a failing school under government review to one where each child feels special and is able to reach their full potential. Since Angela took over as principal, the school’s roll increased by 50% over 3 years.  


Angela has managed to organically incorporate Te ao Maori among the learners in the school. The students not only know several hakas but also understand their meaning and purpose. They often burst out in spontaneous hakas to honour teachers or students, an example of their grasp of the values, traditions and honour of the Maori people, which makes everyone feel loved and accepted.

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The Bottlebrush Team 
Margaret Ives Community Childcare Centre, SA

Winners of the NEiTA Seed Teams Award  

Each member of the Bottlebrush Team brings their unique set of skills, experience and passion for an area of learning to develop a nurturing, adventurous and delightful early childhood learning experience. The six educators each bring an aspect of learning to the curriculum that they build and adopt, including risky play, sustainability, Kaurna culture, creativity, sensory exploration, language and spontaneous play.


The team understands that every child requires a champion and makes it a point to celebrate their strengths and find ways to help them explore their interests in a play-based learning environment that brings wonder and joy to the young learner.

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Nashwa Karafotias 
St Agnes Catholic High School, NSW

Winner of NEiTA Apple Award

Nashwa is a passionate educator who is ever eager to guide her students by being approachable to them during their high school years to achieve and succeed in their chosen career paths.

The school community recognises Nashwa’s dedication to her students, their families, and to Nashwa’s school colleagues. Praise for Nashwa’s dedication to teaching and working with families is very well deserved, as she has managed to earn it despite personal challenges and, when she was younger, her parent’s bias against teaching.


The NEiTA judges commend Nashwa on her work teaching disadvantaged students from ATSI, Pasifika and Sudanese communities.

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Jordan Bates 
Curran Public School, Macquarie Fields, NSW 

Winner of NEiTA Apple Award

It’s fantastic what Jordan has managed to achieve just 5 years into teaching. She delivers high quality teaching at a school catering to families in a disadvantaged region and one that is facing a number of challenges.

Jordan built a unit of work that had students develop and apply their knowledge and skills to design products that effortlessly engage younger students in learning. Designed specifically with students struggling or disengaged with numeracy and literacy, the program was a huge success and has since been presented at a conference and featured on local television. Jordan is clearly a dynamic teacher who creatively engages students.

Jordan is a confident, skilled, hardworking and successful early careers teacher who has already fastracked into leadership positions in the school.

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Stanley Wang
Abbotsford Primary School, Abbotsford, VIC

Winner of NEiTA Founders’ Principals Leadership Award

As a Principal, Stanley has earned respect from the students and community as an outstanding leader. He is welcoming and generous with his time with the students and the wider school community. Stanley is passionate about the importance of bilingual education in Australia and strives for excellence in this area.

Stanley is a visionary future leader in education in Victoria and across Australia. He aims to prepare the next generation of students to be culturally connected and capable and to achieve this through immersive language learning and teaching that leads to understanding how the world works. To achieve this, he is attempting to take on a theoretical and contributory role through advocacy for bilingual education.

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Nisrine Hijazi
Warrawong High School, NSW

Winner of The Smith Family-NEiTA Award for Powering Potential

Nisrine has been working at Warrawong High School for two decades, supporting students who have arrived with little to no English, and some with trauma due to displacement and war. She has established a network of effective partnerships that enable students to connect with their learning and engage with equitable, culturally-inclusive educational opportunities.

Nisrine worked closely with The Smith Family during the pandemic to provide 60 students with laptops and internet dongles so they could access their learning remotely. Nisrine’s decades of support, perseverance, and passion are greatly appreciated and valued by the school community.

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Shea Bowden
Manurewa West Primary School, Manurewa

Winner of the NEiTA Apple Award

Shea is genuinely and contagiously passionate about education for marginalised communities.


Shea’s philosophy is that everyone gains from a more diverse and inclusive environment. By championing mixed ability group of students and collaboration Shea has opened the discourse of how we can learn from each other. 


Shea’s continued focus on equity and new changes to the maths curriculum has led to the school’s maths student achievement exceeding expectations.

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Kiwi Iti Early Learning Centre


Special Commendation

The efforts of the early childhood educator team of the Kiwi Iti Early Learning Centre to build community support to revive their early learning centre is highly commendable.


The achievement of the centre director Emma Clews, who early in her career, has taken on the re-establishment of a centre following its closure and made it a viable operation is notable. With the naming of the centre and encompassing local culture, Emma’s passionate team has built community support and enrolments.

Award categories  


  • Apple Award: to acknowledge outstanding teachers who’ve gone above and beyond for their students. 

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

  • Seed Award: presented in recognition of the efforts of preschool teachers and early childhood educators who lay the foundations for lifelong practice and enjoyment of learning. 

  • NEiTA Seed Award for Early Childhood Team Excellence: presented in recognition of the team’s outstanding collective contribution to student education and welfare. 

  • The Smith Family-NEiTA Award for Powering Potential: presented in partnership with The Smith Family, in recognition of an outstanding educator for inspiring students experiencing disadvantage to achieve their full potential. 

  • Teacher Mentor Award: presented in recognition of outstanding peer mentoring and exemplary sharing of professional practice. 

  • Terry O’Connell Regional and Remote Teachers’ Award: presented in acknowledgment of the benefits the teacher has brought to students and the wider community through their untiring efforts and community involvement. 

  • NEiTA Early Career Teaching Award: presented in recognition of the teacher’s ability to more than meet the specific learning needs of students within a few years of entering the teaching profession. 

  • Futurity Parents’ Award in acknowledgment of being adjudged the best teacher nominated by a Futurity member. 

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