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 25 national recipients of the 2018 ASG National Excellence in Teaching Awards. Selected from around 2,000 nominations in 2018, the recipients were nominated for their inspiring and innovative contribution to teaching.

These 25 teachers and early childhood educators will now proceed to the next stage of the Awards process. This will involve the submission of a 1,200-word essay on an education topic and responses to five questions around education and teaching in video format.

An esteemed panel of judges will once again review these submissions and select the 12 teachers and educators who will receive the 2018 ASG National Excellence in Teaching Awards.

2018 ASG NEiTA State and Territory Recipients

Early Childhood

  • Rosanne Pugh, K U Ourimbah Preschool and Children’s Centre, NSW

    Rosanne has 34 years of teaching experience, which have influenced her philosophy of the teaching-learning process. She believes that teaching can build self-belief in children and widen the way grownups understand children.

    She is a strong advocate of early education, calling it “an investment that pays back generously to society”.

  • Zoe Rule, Lilyfield Early Learning Centre, NSW

    Zoe believes that providing guidance to children during the early years and being a positive influence in these important developmental stages in a person’s life is a privilege and a calling.

    She says being able to regulate one’s emotions, empathy and creative thinking, which help grownups successfully navigate through the challenges and opportunities in our daily lives, are fundamental skills learnt in our early years. Early childhood education helps young children develop these skills.

  • Megan Dodds, KU Corrimal East Preschool, NSW

    Megan has been teaching for 35 years. She says it’s the children who constantly challenge her to reflect on her teaching, and that critical reflection is central to the role she plays as an educational leader in her early learning centre.

    Highlighting the learning that takes place in the early years helps families place greater value on play and their child’s learning journey, she says, and adds that she has always tried to advocate for the rights of the children in her care.

  • Kathy Hatcher, KU Chatswood Community Preschool, NSW

    Kathy, who has been teaching for 23 years now, says that her dedication and commitment to teaching is inspired and motivated by the needs, strengths and interests of each child.

    Kathy tells us that a majority of the children who attend Kathy’s centre come from families that are new arrivals to Australia. English is not the home language for many of them. This compels Kathy to foster a sense of belonging among the members of the school community by focusing on inclusion and building increased trust and relationships between the school and the community.

  • Eleanor Hampton, East Butler Primary School, WA

    Eleanor’s teaching reflects a combination of the pedagogies of the Walker Learning Approach and Reggio Emilia philosophies.  

    She says that one of her priorities is to ensure that her classroom is a safe, supportive and fun learning environment where each student can feel special and valued. She believes in forming positive relationships with the families of the children in her care, so she can further develop a safe and inclusive environment that nurtures and inspires lifelong learning.

  • Sheridan Collis, Mareeba State School, QLD

    Sheridan says it is the children’s love of learning and achieving that fuels her commitment to teaching. Their excitement and ability to look at each new task as a challenge and an adventure keeps her motivated.

    She says the love and appreciation shown by the children makes each day worthwhile.

  • Emma Connelly, Alawa Primary School, NT

    For Emma, her students are at the centre of all her activities. She believes her success and that of her students depends a lot on strong, positive relationships between students, parents and caregivers.

    She encourages each student to drive their own learning journey, and takes on the role of a guide rather than as an instructor. Her aim is to develop confident students who believe in themselves and that they can achieve anything they apply themselves to.



  • Steve Wayne, Westminster School, SA

    The fact that no two students enter a classroom with identical abilities, experiences and needs is what keeps Steve enthusiastic about teaching. He wonders over the differences in learning style, language proficiency, background knowledge, readiness to learn among the students in his class each year.

    His aim as a teacher is to create a connection with all of his students, provide quality pastoral care, positive learning experiences and motivating work that is suitable for all ability levels in his class.

  • Susan Hammond, Evatt Primary School, ACT

    It is the unmistakeable look on a child’s face that says ‘I’m proud of myself’ that fuels Susan’s commitment to teaching. Knowledge that she makes a tangible impact on her students has helped Susan strive towards becoming a great teacher.

    Susan employs trauma informed practice, an inclusive model which takes much of its knowledge from the brain function of children who have experienced trauma, to instil wellbeing in her children.

  • Beverley Ashdale, Araluen Christian College, NT

    I teach because what I say or do for a child today might have a lasting effect on their lives and help them reach their full potential, she says.

  • Cappi White, Norfolk Village State School, QLD

    Cappi is dedicated to ensuring that students thrive as ‘whole learners’, growing socially and emotionally as well as academically.

    She believes that her moral purpose in the education setting is to ensure that all students, no matter where they started, are progressing to be the best learners they can be.

    Her long term hope is that young people who are at risk of suspensions, expulsions and juvenile detention placements will be able to live meaningful lives and have the tools to deal with the effects of their trauma.

  • Meredyth Connor, Kelmscott Primary School, WA

    The best part of Meredyth’s day is 8.30am, when the students bounce in through the doors of her classroom, and the best parts of teaching are the ‘then and now’ moments.

    She feels the weight of her responsibility as a classroom teacher, and is acutely aware that is she doesn’t give her students the very best then they can’t give their very best either. She says this thought drives her to ensure that her teaching is well planned, differentiated and innovative enough to meet the needs of all her students.

  • Joe Bell, West Greenwood Primary School, WA

    Joe is passionate about recognising and creating opportunities that allow students to engage in an environment that inspires them to explore not just the learning content but also how to apply their knowledge to their own lives.

    Joe says that the natural curiosity of the students guide her teaching practice. We collaborate together, we make mistakes together and we grow together, Joe says.

  • Lennon Rego, Yidarra Catholic Primary School, WA

    It is his students’ willingness to strive for personal excellence as they achieve their personal goals and grow as individuals that fuels Lennon’s commitment to teaching.

    He is passionate about helping students transition effectively into new school environments—particularly from primary to secondary school. He is committed to empowering children in this age group with appropriate life skills that will help them to cope with the many physical, social and emotional changes that they are likely to experience in this phase of their lives.

  • Casandra Blagdanic, SA School for Vision Impaired, SA

    It is the unique requirements of the children with visual impairments that Casandra teaches that makes each day a positive challenge for Casandra.

    She says that she loves knowing that every time she begins a new topic her children will never fail to take her on an unexpected journey into their world. She comes to class each day knowing that everything she teaches increases her students’ awareness and exposure to another aspect of everyday life that they may not otherwise experience.

  • Sue Lumley, Clyde Primary School, VIC

    Sue finds teaching fascinating. Everything—from seeing her class children grasp a concept or skill for the first time to seeing the pride in their accomplishments, from supporting students struggling with emotional or social issues to guiding them to persevere and succeed—is interesting to her.

    Working with children and seeing their joy and passion enthuses me and drives me to constantly evolve and develop my teaching practice, Sue says.



  • Rhian Bilclough, Melville Senior High School, WA

    Rhian finds that working closely with all her students is the most rewarding aspect of her job. She has built a rapport with each student, developing this in and outside the classroom, getting to know them so she can teach them in a way that enables them to achieve their full potential.

    Rhian says she is privileged to work with young people with their ever curious and creative minds, relentless pursuit of excellence and their desire to learn more about the world around them. This makes teaching the very best job in the world, she says.

  • Derek Lange, Geraldton Grammar School, WA

    Derek finds joy in teaching when students engage with content and become inquisitive asking questions about how topics impact the world around them. He says it is a real treat when a student asks a question that indicates understanding, curiosity, creativity and an ability to think more broadly.

    Watching students develop, mature, become more engaged in the world around them and finally transition from school motivates Derek. Seeing a young person finishing school having done their best and fulfilled their own expectations is a thoroughly rewarding experience, he says.

  • Glen Arthur, University Senior College, SA

    Glen says it is the students he had helped over the last two decades that have shaped his identity. They allow me to see the person they are and guide them to become the person they want to be, he says.

    Glenn’s students fill him with meaning, confidence, hope, and humanity. They remind him that education is more than content, that it is about building the foundations of the people we become. I feel honoured and humbled to be the architect in small aspects of their lives, he says.

  • Sarah Hagarty, St Patrick’s Marist College, NSW

    Sarah insists that her commitment is not to teaching, but to her students. Teaching is not a job for me, it is my vocation.

    Sarah’s favourite time of the year is graduation, because it’s when she receives letter after letter from her students telling her what a difference she has made in their school journey and how they wouldn’t be what they are if it wasn’t for me. She says she keeps a box of these letters handy and revisits them whenever she feels down or has a bad day.

  • Dr Phillip Moulds, Rockhampton Grammar School, QLD

    Phillip says his students make him want to be the best he can for them, to provide them with the best possible opportunities to do their personal best in all that they undertake.

    He is guided by the principle that "you cannot not influence". He believes that everything you do and don’t do have an influence not only on how you are perceived by others, but also on what you stand for, what is permissible and what you support within your school. This drives his actions every day.

  • Jill Magee, Gisborne Secondary College, VIC

    Every small thing that children do to show that they want to connect with you, learn from you and that they respect you—from waiting eagerly on a Monday morning to tell you about their weekend to giving you their poetry to read or their art to appreciate—reminds Jill of how lucky she is to be in a position where she can influence the lives of her students.

    She is passionate about student voice and agency, and tries to give students every opportunity to meaningfully shape their own learning experience. She is particularly proud of her influence on young women. She feels that her greatest compliment is having the girls in her class tell her that she is their role model.

  • Sunila Singh, Mt Lawley Senior High School, WA

    It is the faith of her students in assisting them in senior school and in making a transition from the school environment to tertiary education that motivates Sunila to enhance her skills and knowledge.

    She says that it is the interest and queries of her students that have challenged her to review and continuously refine the way she approaches teaching.

  • Renee Rees, Cardijn College, SA

    Renee says her commitment to teaching stems from the need to help students realise that they can overcome obstacles they thought were impossible, to build resilience and foster creativity and innovation in new problem-based challenges.

    Renee is a passionate science/STEM teacher who invests a lot of time in upskilling in new technologies and pedagogy to ensure that she is up to date with current technology and trends for the sake of her students. Their commitment to learning, dedication to their goals and inquisitive nature inspires me to invest more of myself into their classroom experience, she says.

  • Rachel McKenzie, Longreach State High School, QLD

    Encouraging students to step outside of their small town and connect their learning to real life opportunities is what drives Rachel to wait for her students in the classroom each day.

    True motivation comes from the genuine and positive student-parent-teacher relationships forged inside and outside the classroom, Rachel says. It is watching students believe in themselves and evolve into young active citizens of our everchanging world that keeps me motivated and smiling every day, she addsa.