NSW educators take top national awards

Two NSW public school educators have been recognised as the best in the nation in the 2012 Australian Awards for Outstanding Teaching and School Leadership.

Shayne Player from Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College, Tumbi Umbi Campus, was announced as Australian Secondary Principal of the Year, and Rebecca Andrews from John Brotchie Nursery School, Botany, as Australian Early Childhood Teacher of the Year.

Director-General of Education and Communities Michele Bruniges said the awards reflect the highest level of recognition of education excellence in Australia.

"I am thrilled to acknowledge the work of Shayne and Rebecca and I offer them my heartiest congratulations," Dr Bruniges said.

"Their contribution to their school communities is now acknowledged as exemplary on a national scale, something those communities have benefitted from immeasurably.

"It is through the work of people like Shayne and Rebecca, and the thousands of teachers and school leaders in our system who share their dedication and professionalism, that we are able to give our students such outstanding educational opportunities."

Australian Secondary Principal of the Year

Ms Player said she was honoured by the recognition, which belonged to the whole school community.

"I am delighted on behalf of my school community to receive this award," Ms Player said.

"It is the result of a great deal of very hard work by the whole staff. A principal can do everything possible to lead well, but without the commitment and expertise of a dedicated staff, and the backing of a supportive parent body, nothing will change for the better for students."

Australian Early Childhood Teacher of the Year

Ms Andrews said she was pleased to receive the Award as recognition for the school's success in developing the potential of play-based learning.

"Our approach is to see early learning from the young child's perspective," Ms Andrews said.

"They don't see their time as divided between work and play – it's just all new, and we try to make the most of that by making their time with us as much fun as possible, no matter what they're doing, preparing them all the while for the changes they will experience when they start Kindergarten."

The eight states and territories each had one finalist in each of six award categories: Early Childhood Teacher, Primary Teacher, Secondary Teacher, Primary Principal, Secondary Principal and Excellence in Teaching or Leadership in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education.

Winners of each category receive a professional learning sabbatical working with national and international education experts, sharing what they learn with their school community and profession on completion.

The winners were announced in Adelaide at an event hosted by the Federal Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, Peter Garrett.

The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) manages the Awards for the Australian Government, inviting nominations from government, Catholic and Independent peak school education bodies.

Read more information about the award recipients on the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership website.

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