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Congratulations to the winners of the 2022 Victorian Education Excellence Awards

The 2022 Victorian Education Excellence Awards winners were selected from 39 finalists from government schools across Victoria.

Awards were presented to 8 individuals and 6 teams to recognise outstanding endeavour and achievement in improving student outcomes.

The VIT would like to congratulate the following registered teachers, winners and all the inspirational teachers, principals, business managers and education support staff who improve schools and support children and young people to develop the skills and learning outcomes they need to succeed in life.

Outstanding Primary Principal

Kim Saddlier, Kangaroo Flat Primary School

Principal Kim Saddlier leads the learning community at Kangaroo Flat Primary School, where equity and a strong sense of belonging enhance the education of every child.

As a school leader, Kim uses her expertise to focus collaborative effort on improving the quality and impact of teaching and learning, ensuring each student has the best opportunity to reach their potential. Solution focused and pro-active in reducing barriers to education, Kim involves families at every step of the learning and support process.

Working across school and pre-school settings, Kim has initiated a therapeutic model to support oral language development and students’ self-regulation and transition. Her innovative student and family-centred approach is evidenced by significant improvement in students’ health and wellbeing data.

Improving the academic and wellbeing outcomes of students, regardless of their start in life and family circumstances, Kim’s exceptional leadership is ensuring inclusive and effective educational provision for all.

Colin Simpson Outstanding Secondary Principal

Pitsa Binnion, McKinnon Secondary College

Pitsa Binnion is a highly experienced educator and principal of McKinnon Secondary College ­– one of the largest and highest-performing secondary colleges in Victoria. An advocate for public education, Pitsa demonstrates a sustained commitment to the Victorian state school system and its students.

Working as an advisor, mentor and educational leader, Pitsa is building teacher and principal capacity across the sector, contributing to department advisory panels and as a Challenge Partner in school reviews. Her exceptional leadership, positive community impact and contribution to improving student and organisational outcomes has led to McKinnon Secondary College receiving accreditation with the Council of International Schools (CIS), significant growth in VCE results and improvements in classroom pedagogy.

Pitsa’s exemplary commitment to building a positive learning culture and environment for secondary education continues to deliver high-quality outcomes for young people living in Melbourne's South East.

Outstanding Primary Teacher

Ruby Russell, The Basin Primary School

For teacher Ruby Russell, students are at the centre of every planning, teaching and improvement decision she makes at The Basin Primary School.

Ruby prioritises getting to know student’s backgrounds, interests and abilities when developing lessons. Consistently creating opportunities for students to contribute to learning in the classroom, Ruby is providing a safe, supportive and exciting space for students to develop their voice and agency as learners.

In encouraging student voice in all aspects of student experience and learning, Ruby is creating multiple opportunities for student leadership and development and is enhancing their wellbeing, self-confidence and growth as learners.

Ruby’s advocacy for student wellbeing is given focus through her leadership and implementation of a consistent whole-school model of student behaviour. Undertaking professional learning around the School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support framework, Ruby has initiated a relaunch of school values developed in consultation with students, parents, staff and the wider community.

Outstanding Secondary Teacher

Kimberley Zammit, Warringa Park School

Secondary teacher Kimberley Zammit has been instrumental in improving Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) engagement and employment pathways for Later Years students at Warringa Park School, and across the wider Wyndham network.

Kimberley has transformed Later Years education and outcomes at the school by developing informed and productive partnerships with teachers, students, families, training providers, community businesses, local council and schools.

A passionate advocate for inclusive learning opportunities, informed by student voice and agency, Kimberley has increased student’s access and inclusion in vocational learning. Her introduction of project-based learning into the VCAL curriculum and ‘supported’ Vocational Educational Training programs are greatly improving VCAL students’ engagement, achievement and completion outcomes.

An experienced Professional Learning Community leader, Kimberley is currently building the capacity of Later Years teachers to support the embedding of the Secondary School Pathways reform at the school, ensuring the quality of Later Years education for staff and students.

Outstanding Early Career Primary Teacher

Amy Davis, Clyde Creek Primary School

As an early career primary teacher, Amy is demonstrating great passion and skill in teaching mathematics, and harnessing evidence-based best practice to engage, teach and assess early numeracy skills.

Amy’s strong knowledge of the numeracy continuum, her engaging teaching practice, effective goal setting and reflection is demonstrated by her students’ improved outcomes in numeracy, connectedness to school and positive wellbeing.

Clearly valuing the connection between department and system priorities, Amy successfully balances student learning and wellbeing, guided by the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes 2.0 in the classroom and across the school.

As leader of her Professional Learning team, Amy actively fosters collective staff efficacy by collaboratively planning and implementing curriculum. Her commitment to data-informed practice and professional learning is inspiring others to ensure all students at Clyde Creek Primary School are achieving success and growth in their learning and wellbeing.

Outstanding Early Career Secondary Teacher

Seamus Kavanagh, Richmond High School

Seamus Kavanagh is a well-respected English teacher at Richmond High School.

In his first two years of teaching, Seamus established himself as an engaging and effective classroom teacher, developing positive and respectful relationships with his students. His classroom is inclusive and collaborative, with a strong focus on student voice and agency.

As Year 8 coordinator, Seamus continues to make a genuine difference to his students, modelling an unconditional positive regard for each individual.

Seamus has been instrumental in establishing VCE English Language at Richmond High School, mastering a different study design and developing new coursework, all of which he has done with genuine commitment to excellence. Through providing challenging content and learning experiences, Seamus extends his students to meet their learning goals.

Seamus also manages the popular Richmond High School Basketball Club and contributes to the life of the school to enrich students' wellbeing and strengthen the school's connection to the local community.

Outstanding Physical Education and Activity Teacher

Alison Dowler, Western Port Secondary College

Alison Dowler is a dedicated and innovative Health, Physical Education and Outdoor educator and leader who is positively impacting on the development of the Health and Physical Education curriculum at Western Port Secondary College.

Working to improve students’ physical activity, agency and inclusion across all years, Alison has embedded tertiary-level research into the curriculum. Alison has introduced Sports Education at Year 7 and 8, launched a new fitness centre and led a curriculum team to develop a new approach to curriculum architecture through a learning partner.

Through her role as Head of Health and Physical Education/Tech/Arts, Alison has strengthened the school’s place as a top partner school with Monash University. Demonstrating her dedication to the next generation of educators and her support for tertiary research into fitness testing, Alison has led her team to facilitate more than 85 Health and Physical Education pre-service teacher placements from Monash University since 2021.

For more information on all the awards and all the winners visit Victorian Education Excellence Awards.

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