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Past winners of SA Excellence in Public Education awards

Congratulations to the winners of the SA Excellence in Public Education awards from 2011 to 2014.

2014 winners

School or preschool leader of the year

Lyn Bretag, principal of Renmark Primary School.

Lyn takes pride in striving for excellence in teaching. By engaging positively with the community, Lyn enabled her students to experience a greater range of learning opportunities. Lyn demonstrates extensive community engagement by forging a range of relationships with groups including, the Riverland Youth Theatre, SAPOL, the Arts Council, the local Aboriginal community and Riverland council.  In 2011 to 2012 Lyn led her school through an amalgamation, strategically engaging independent consultants to provide solutions to challenges and ensure an unbiased approach, which focussed on student learning.

Secondary school teacher of the year

Ben Heathcote, English and Literacy Coordinator at Mount Gambier High School.

Ben found success in translating his knowledge of student’s learning process into positive learning programs, designed to build confidence and support effective information processing. One of Ben’s proudest achievements has been the implementation of a research project into flexible learning environments, in which he developed an approach to help students build confidence in being successful. This involved splitting the subject into a variety of smaller more manageable tasks. The project resulted in students who had only ever experienced failure in a mainstream setting, consistently achieving grades in the A bracket.

Primary school teacher of the year

Swati Phatak, teacher at Modbury Special School

Swati demonstrates her commitment to ongoing learning through the extensive educational qualifications she has received, including a double bachelor’s degree in science and education, a double master’s degree in education and special education. She is also currently working towards a PhD.

Swati’s understanding of student learning empowers her to differentiate the curriculum, teaching strategies, assessment and reporting to suit individual needs. Swati has developed productive and inclusive learning environments across Modbury Special School by reviewing and utilising innovative strategies to support inclusion and student engagement.

In 2013 Swati was selected to represent the education department at the Special Educators as Leaders and Learners (SELL) conference in Malaysia. She delivered professional training to 170 participants at the 4-day conference, about working with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Early years teacher of the year

Katie Taylor, advanced skills teacher 2 (AST2) at Lobethal Community Kindergarten.

Katie provides a play-based curriculum allowing children to express their uniqueness, be creative, develop curiosity, problem-solve and make connections in their learning. She supports children to take learning risks and seek challenges.

Katie has a strong commitment to ongoing personal and professional learning, last year achieving the notable AST2, seeing her become one of only two people to hold this status in early childhood.  Katie has received nominations in public teaching / education awards for 3 out of the 4 years the awards have run, and was a regional winner in 2011 and 2013. 

Teachers Health Fund early career teacher of the year

Sam Moyle, science teacher at Brighton Secondary School.

Sam displays extensive participation in learning and professional engagement. She demonstrates her passion and energy for her subject content and knowledge, her teaching and her own learning.

Sam won the SA Science Teachers’ Association outstanding teacher award in 2013 and has received nominations in the public teaching / education awards in 3 out of the 4 years the awards have run. Two of her students were also awarded second place in the Oliphant Science Awards, and were invited to participate in the BHP Billiton Awards. 

School or preschool support staff member of the year

Tanya Parker, early childhood educator at Roxby Downs Kindergarten.

Tanya plans and creates imaginative play experiences for children and actively documents student learning. Documentation is shared with fellow educators, children and families in the form of learning stories, which has been found to be a positive and effective way to strengthen relationships between families and the kindergarten.

Tanya takes a lead in planning and is imaginative and resourceful. She clearly identifies site priorities and understands how her practice contributes to the site’s success.

Innovative engagement and collaboration with the community

Community Learning at HIVE 12 to 25

Community Learning at HIVE 12 to 25 gives young people access to meaningful learning and supported pathways to further education, training and employment opportunities, so they can reach their full potential. Community Learning at HIVE 12 to 25 is a local community partnership that works collaboratively with schools and community partners and have been developed and implemented through Innovation Community Action Network (ICAN).

Learning is provided for young people who have been referred into flexible learning options. This group of young people are typically highly disengaged from mainstream school and require additional support beyond that which the traditional classroom can offer. Furthermore, students are provided with a range of youth services through the ICAN initiative.

Community Learning at HIVE 12 to 25 is a testament to school/community partnerships working together towards supporting youth; addressing barriers and access to education, training, and employment.


Winners 2011 to 2013

School or preschool leader of the year

Kerryn Jones, Roxby Downs Kindergarten, 2013

Lynne Symons, Mark Oliphant College B-12, 2012

Brenton Willson, Principal, Gladstone Primary School, 2011

Secondary school teacher of the year

Evan Polymeneas, Salisbury High School, 2013

Louka Parry, Mimili Anangu School, 2012

Kirsty Gebert, Nuriootpa High School, 2011

Primary school teacher of the year

Kirsty Fox, Cummins Area School, 2013

Natalie Gherardin, Naracoorte South Primary School, 2012

Tamra Harvey-Mardle, Gumeracha Primary School, 2011

Early years teacher of the year

Mitchell Ollington, Fisk Street Primary School, 2013

Angela Plisko, Barbara Kiker Memorial Kindergarten, 2012

Casey Bell, Kalaya Children's Centre, 2011

Lifetime achievement award

Jane Garrard, Loxton High School, 2013

School or preschool support staff member of the year

Bindi Barker, Mannum Community College, 2013

Belinda Pringle, Wasleys Primary School, 2012

Ali Adams, Julie Bagshaw and Fiona-Lee Colliver, Maitland Area School, joint winners 2011

Innovative engagement with business and the community

Cowell Area School aquaculture program, 2013

Andamooka Primary School community development team, 2012

Mypolonga Primary School Shop, 2011

Engagement Programs

Phone: 8226 3079
EmailDECD.Recognition [at] sa.gov.au