Paul McCartan
Ryde Secondary College, NSW

Paul is an outstanding and passionate teacher of Geography. His incredible expertise and commitment to authentic learning experiences, with a strong Pacific focus, move so many of students he teaches. Students always cite him as a superb teacher. Paul has a strong commitment to social justice and the environment, and his lessons reflect deep learning, real understanding of communities and their needs. Paul brings in experts involved in managing problems and issues in the region, to share their expertise and experience. He often inspires students to undertake fundraising for needy local communities and others around the world, enhancing student engagement with the subject and topic, and growing their interest and commitment to social justice. Their insights and learning enables them to become highly aware, active and compassionate future citizens and potential future leaders. Paul also runs our school Politics Club, which encourages students to engage in a contest of ideas, to consider and debate global issues. Paul seeks to develop the thinking skills of students further this year by establishing a Philosophy Club. All these activities hugely enrich the lives of students at our school, and will prove of benefit to society as they become global citizens.

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Joel Moss
C.B.C. Fremantle, WA

Mr Moss can really be summed up in one word, dedicated. He commits himself to every lesson in such innovative ways. Not only does he ensure every student within his classroom is up with the content he is covering, he also encourages every single student to strive for their own personal excellence. On a more personal note, Mr Moss has changed my personal perception of schooling; he changed the way I tackle school work which has enabled me to completely improve my grades, which before being part of his class were only at a satisfactory level. Now that Mr Moss has encouraged other students and I to achieve our best I can say for sure I am much happier to learn and be taught. Mr Moss does not just complete every lesson with enthusiasm, he motivates and inspires every single student in his class; this trait is something truly unique and I, along with many other students believe he is an unsung hero.

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Tanya Townsend
Clarke Road School, Hornsby, NSW

Tanya is a special educator who works with students with complex intellectual disability. She is highly skilled, an incredible professional and deeply adept to implementing highly personalised learning and support programs for the most complex of students in the NSW education system. Tanya is highly motivated and works above and beyond to ensure programs of excellence are delivered to the students in her care. She is an unassuming and dedicated teacher who quietly achieves incredible outcomes for her students. Tanya is kind, calm, intuitive and deeply committed to teamwork within our school. She has volunteered her class to become an action research class for the implementation of the TEACCH programs for her students who present with high level autism and complex needs. Tanya is a core member of several committees at school that ensure best practice and high level students outcomes. Her work focuses on deep engagement of students using communication strategies that assist non-verbal students to gain the most from their day at school. Tanya is a mother and a dedicated practitioner who juggles her commitments with fitness and prowess. We are incredibly proud to have her on our team and praise her every achievement in educating her students. Tanya is a reason to be proud of everything that the NSW Department of Education aspires for. She is humble and inspiring. I could think of no one more suitable for this award.

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Kieran Browne
Moe Albert Street Primary School, Moe, Vic

Kieran Browne is a teacher of a mainstream class of foundation students, of whom many have commenced school with literacy skills up to four years below foundation level due to socio-economic influences. In addition he also has students who have been exposed to trauma during their early years. As a result some students are prone to severe physical and verbal outbursts, when the trigger is unknown and their language capacity too limited to describe their thoughts and feelings. To facilitate academic, social and emotional growth, Kieran developed his professional capacity to implement Mindfulness, Positive Partnerships and liaises with parents/guardians psychologists and therapists to create a safe and inclusive learning environment using visual cues and time for self reflection. He is sensitive, patient, observant, resilient and takes the time to pre-empt students' behaviours in the classroom and in the playground, and incorporates this into his teaching. The academic, social and emotional growth he achieves with his students is highly regarded by his teacher colleagues and visiting professionals. Kieran is a humble quiet achiever and his professionalism certainly does not equate with a teacher who is in just his third year of teaching.

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Yuki Kotani
St. Anthony Catholic College, Townsville

Yuki is a Japanese teacher who gives up countless hours helping students develop their Japanese language skills.  Most of her spare time is taken providing (unpaid) one-on-one assistance, plus she also helps promote and run Japanese cultural activities within the school community, including coordinating Japan trips, school exchange programs and cultural festival entries.  She works across two campuses on a full load and her efforts to promote diversity of language and an appreciation of different cultures is heavily under-acknowledged.

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