11 September 2023

Teachers, school and a dad recognised for excellence in public education system

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Department of Education secretary Murat Dizdar presents Stuart Wilkinson with his Parent of the Year award. Photos: NSW Education.

A dedicated Figtree Heights Public School parent has won a statewide education award for his tireless work for the school.

Stuart Wilkinson was one of 12 nominees for the Public School Parent of the Year in the NSW Minister’s and Secretary’s Awards for Excellence announced on 5 September.

Three Illawarra teachers, a principal and a primary school joined Mr Wilkinson as award winners.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car said she was delighted to highlight the incredible achievements of the public system’s outstanding students and teachers.

“These awards are a great opportunity to call out the fabulous educators, who every day are making a difference in the lives of children, and the inspiring students demonstrating academic, cultural, sporting and leadership excellence,” she said.

The Public School Parent of the Year Award is presented to parents, guardians and caregivers who make a significant contribution to their local NSW public school community.

READ ALSO High school students given a leg-up into early childhood education

Figtree Heights Public School paid tribute to Mr Wilkinson, saying he was a longstanding and highly active member of the P&C Association, of which he is president.

“Stuart has supported, promoted and worked tirelessly for our school community,” the school’s nomination said.

“In his role as P&C president, he has most recently liaised with the relevant agencies to successfully have a pedestrian crossing installed for the safety of all, and secured grants through various foundations.

“Above all, Stuart builds a sense of community in all he does, extending even beyond our school through his work with our Out of School Hours before and after-school care, servicing other local primary schools. He is a true asset to our school.”

The Illawarra winners were among 165 award recipients at the Sydney Town Hall ceremony celebrating outstanding achievement of individuals and breakthrough school initiatives centred on literacy, numeracy, science, student wellbeing and community partnerships.

man presenting an award to a man and a woman

Dapto Public School won the School Achievement Award for its Sustained Improvement in Writing.

The other Illawarra winners are:

  • Dapto Public School received the Secretary’s Award for School Achievement for its Sustained Improvement in Writing program to improve student outcomes in writing.
  • Shell Cove Public School teacher Danni-Elle Wall received the Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. “Danni-Elle’s innovative teaching methods, combined with her genuine care for her students’ growth, commitment to Aboriginal education and dedication to fostering a love of learning through the library make her an exceptional educator.”
  • Tarrawanna Public School principal Bronwyn Jeffree received the Secretary’s Award for Excellent Service for “leading the transformation of the school into a high-performing, highly regarded successful local school of choice”.
  • Warilla High School teacher Jamie Goucher received a Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. “Jamie’s foresight and deep knowledge of how students learn supports them to become the best versions of themselves through understanding, acceptance and hard work.”
  • Warilla High School teacher Veronica Luckman also received a Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. “Veronica is a highly skilled visual arts teacher who is genuinely committed to ensuring all students access opportunities for learning growth and achievement as well as the continual improvement of her own practice.”
two women with their awards

Warilla High School teachers Veronica Luckman and Jaimie Goucher won the Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Department of Education secretary Murat Dizdar said the number of regional schools showcased in the awards highlighted the Education Department’s commitment to equity of opportunity no matter where students lived.

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Mr Dizdar also acknowledged the role parents played in supporting public schools and public school students.

“The awards recognise 12 parents, guardians and caregivers who perform invaluable support roles and who contribute significantly to their local NSW public school community; contributions that are deeply appreciated,” he said.

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