Giving their best to public education

Michael Kirby, Richard Gill and Lila Mularcyzk

A former High Court judge, a renowned music educator and an influential school principal are recipients of the 2012 Meritorious Service to Public Education Award.

The award is the most prestigious honour bestowed by the Department of Education and Communities and recognises significant and sustained contribution to public education in NSW.

Since 2003 only 16 individuals have been presented with the Meritorious Service Medallion.

In 2012 the award was presented to:

  • The Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG: recognised internationally for his legal and human rights achievements and a proud graduate of the NSW public education and training system
  • Lila Mularcyzk: principal of Merrylands High School and President of the NSW Secondary Principals' Council, characterised by her willingness to create opportunities for students and colleagues to excel
  • Richard Gill OAM, music director of Opera Victoria: one of the most loved music educators in Australia and a leading advocate for the importance of music education at every level.

Dr Brian Cambourne, Associate Professor at Wollongong University, was the recipient of a Commended Certificate in the awards for his generosity in sharing his time, knowledge and expertise with NSW public schools in the field of literacy.

The department's Director-General, Michele Bruniges, said each recipient had contributed remarkably to public education.

"Their achievements have had and continue to have a significant impact upon students, parents, staff and the wider community," Dr Bruniges said.

"They are passionate about the importance of quality public education in shaping the lives of young people.

"They have been outstanding role models extolling the importance of public education in Australian society and demonstrating great personal integrity, social conscious and selflessness."

Lila Mularcyzk, recognised as the "public face of secondary schools", said she was overwhelmed by the award.

"In all honesty I can't achieve anything if it's not for the great people I work with," Ms Mularcyzk said.

"Anyone who works within the system is absolutely committed to making public education the best system that it can be."

Listen to Mr Michael Kirby's speech in response to the award:

Read a transcript (PDF, 82kB) or download the podcast (MP3, 13MB) (right click and Save Link As... to download).

Photo: Michael Kirby, Richard Gill and Lila Mularcyzk. Photo by Hamish Ta-Me.

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