Teachers play an extraordinary yet understated part in the lives of children. That’s why ASG NEiTA supports communities in their effort to thank teachers for the education of our children and for being a tremendous positive influence in their lives.

Over the last 23 years, more than 30,000 teachers have been nominated by the community across Australia and New Zealand.

Hearty congratulations to the 12 national recipients of the 2017 ASG National Excellence in Teaching Awards. Selected from around 1,450 nominations in 2017, the recipients were honoured for their inspiring and innovative contribution to teaching.

We look forward to hearing how you continue to impact your local communities and make a difference through your ASG NEiTA grants.

Here's what the 2017 recipients have to say about the ASG National Excellence in Teaching Awards


  • Michelle Allen, Torrens Primary School
  • Adam Porter, Hughes Primary School

"I’m a teacher first and foremost because I love being part of each child’s educational journey. Having said that, to be recognised for the job that I do, especially given that it has come from the school community, reflects not only what happens within my classroom, but also what I contribute to the school as a whole. It makes me not only proud of being an educator, but also as an individual whose career choice has hopefully had a positive influence on so many; from students, staff to families.

"My passion for being a teacher is dictated by the 19 smiling faces that I see each and every day in the classroom.  The dedication and enthusiasm that each kindergarten student exudes is reflected in their extraordinary achievements, a willingness to challenge themselves at all times and to be caring and compassionate friends to their peers.  These various facets ultimately illustrate that I undoubtedly have the best job in the world! Oh, and that  I also get to use puppets!

"As an advocate for Early Childhood Education, and having identified the limited number of male teachers in the Preschool to Year 2 sector, I am in the process of creating a mentoring framework where I will have the opportunity to support both male teachers within Early Childhood in their early years of teaching, as well as supporting male preservice teachers who are undertaking an early childhood degree at universities. As a male educator, I feel it is important to support the next chapter of male teachers, especially given the important role they will ultimately undertake to support students in their early years of school."



  • Glenn Schultz, Taroona High School


  • Gina Evans-Colagiovanni
  • Athena Hammond


  • Catherine McCann

"Receiving the NEiTA award was an amazing experience. To be recognised by the school community for doing what I love to do was simply a beautiful feeling. 

Working as a teacher is not about awards, it is so much more than that, its the little steps that children make, the relationships with staff, families and the children  and seeing others achieve that makes it all worth while. 

But to be nominated for such a special award was an honour, to then receive an award at a national level was overwhelming. 

"I am so lucky to be able to go to school each day and do a job that I love. I am proud of being a teacher and get so excited when I see the children develop skills particularly socially and emotionally. I see relationships with children, families and the community as such an important  thing. I get immense satisfaction out of fostering and developing strong bonds with children and their families. I also love the fact that teaching gives you the opportunity to be a positive and fun influence on a child’s view of what learning is. 

We are using the grant money for professional development to enhance creativity, hands on learning  and collaboration through maker spaces and stem." 

  • Elana Shatari

"I was very honoured and extremely humbled to have been selected as one of Australia’s leading teachers in 2017. The whole ceremony was surreal and I still can’t believe I was chosen for the award, when there are 1000s of amazing teachers in our country. Of course, no one teaches to win awards, but I have to admit, it was a very very special time, which I enjoyed sharing with my family. And now, a few months after all the celebrations, I’m still teaching music with a smile, wondering how I can make my lessons even more engaging! The learning never stops!

I wake up every day and cannot wait to get to school! Working for me isn’t a job, it’s fun (and they pay me ??!!!) Music teaching is the best career. I am able to bring joy to everyone, share performing, singing and dancing, connect with students who are musically talented or those who are struggling academically. Most of all , I enjoy watching children learning to be creative in performing or composing. I’m proud to have developed a safe environment for students to be able to take risks and develop ideas. 

I plan to study internationally next year and bring back new ideas to my school community." 

  • Nicolette Wheaton


  • Lee-Anne Marroccoli
  • Shaloni Naik



  • Kirrili Balshaw

"It was such an honour to win a National Excellence in Teaching Award. I have thoroughly enjoyed promoting ASG and the awards, through articles in the local newspaper and the courier mail. The flow on effect for the promotion of Camp Hill C&K Kindergarten has been amazing.

"I am very grateful for the grant I have received. It has allowed me to attend a 2 day ‘Learning Connections’ course which further enhanced my skills in the areas of brain gym and sensory integration. I have also used the grant to purchase resources for the children with special needs including; Auslan resources, literacy resources, sensory resources and a subscription to headspace which I use daily with the children. We have a yoga teacher attending once a week to teach yoga, relaxation and mindfulness to the children and teachers. I am looking forward to undertaking a refresher course in the “You Can Do It” program. Being involved with ASG and the NEiTA awards has been such a fulfilling experience that I would like to encourage community members to nominate a teacher that is inspiring."

  • Monica Wright

"Being recognised for my work as a coach for teachers was very validating.  In my opinion, teachers work very hard and sometimes we lose sight of the value of the work we’re doing. We can feel caught up in the details. The award affirmed to me that I’m on the right path in affecting change and to stay the course; to keep the big picture in my mind’s eye.  It gave me renewed enthusiasm for my mission in improving teacher efficacy and student outcomes. 

"For me, teaching, and coaching other teachers, is all about the kids and the difference we can make in their lives.  My mantra with the teachers I coach is ‘every student will learn irrespective of circumstance.’ The greatest reward I receive for my dedication to this mission is having a student with significant learning needs suddenly ‘get it.’ I live for that glowing look of pride on their face.  That’s what sets me on fire!

"I’m currently in the process of writing a book, ‘Becoming a Dyslexia Friendly School’ which details the whole school process and pedagogy we’ve worked through at Burleigh Heads State School to skyrocket all student results.  The money will be used to release teachers to share their learnings with other schools in the wider district with my book as a resource."