Kerry Archer, described by her colleagues and students at McClelland College, Frankston as “inspirational”, was named Secondary Teacher of the Year. 

“It felt amazing and very humbling,” the school environment coordinator tells Australian Teacher Magazine

“I don’t look after environmental sustainability at my school to win awards, I do it because I care about the planet and want the students to have an appreciation of how their actions affect our environment and how they can make a difference.

“But it is nice to get the acknowledgement for all the hard work I have put into the role,” she adds.

Archer says there are many staff members at her school and others that deserve the award as much as she.

Julie Wynne, who won the Primary Teacher of the Year award, shares this sentiment.

“I think it’s a really good award to be acknowledged for what you do, but I do keep saying you do it for the kids. 

“It’s not something that is me alone, it’s a lot of people behind me and a lot of people supporting me ... it’s not a Julie Wynne award,” the wellbeing sustainability leader at St Louis de Montfort’s Primary School, Aspendale says. 

Wynne has been credited with enabling St Louis de Montfort’s 10-year whole school sustainability plan to become a reality. 

The school boasts a new kitchen, water treatment ponds, water tanks, aquaponics, bush tucker gardens, vegetable gardens, animal husbandry area, orchard, composting bays, worm farms, habitat gardens, facilities which wouldn’t have been possible without some dedicated fundraising efforts in the community championed by Wynne. 

“I think I’m most proud of the garden to kitchen program which is linked with our AusVELS Curriculum,” Wynne says. 

“I think that’s the best thing we’ve probably done, because instead of having something that’s kind of isolated on its own, like a lot of garden to kitchen programs run ... ours is actually linked to our curriculum and our inquiry units. Then we link it to our maths and English.” 

Archer says a simple recycling system she introduced is one of her proudest achievements, but she’s also immensely proud of her student leaders. 

“My proudest moment was a couple of weeks ago seeing our student environment leaders organise and run their first Kids Teaching Kids environment conference. We had around 50 local primary school students come along and they had a ball and learnt a lot in the process,” she says. 

“I am especially proud of school environment captain Jasmine Manly who is the mentor of the group – she battles illness every day to do amazing things as a student and leader and I find that inspires me to keep going.”