Congratulations to this year's winners:

  • Leader - Fiona Candlish from Cairns School of Distance Education, QLD
  • Teacher - Joel Moss from C.B.C Fremantle, WA
  • Technology - Sallyann Burtenshaw from St Bernard's, NSW
  • Music - Ariel Balague from Macarthur Adventist College, NSW
  • Support - Kevin Malone from St Keiran's Catholic Primary School, NSW


Thanks to all of the parents, students and school staff who rallied around their special nominees, showing enormous support. If you'd like to read the winning entries again, here they are.



Nominated by Jade Gillam. Also, Ainsley Clyde, Marie-Michelle Norma Nathanael, Judy Lawrence and Derek Biancotti

Fiona was instrumental in bringing about a major change to Cairns School of Distance Education.  With help from the Executive Team - the Investing for Success funding has been implemented as a Teacher Aide Team, for the benefit of student outcomes.  This had brought major change across the school and every team member feels valued and know that they are working towards improvement with all students who are enrolled in our school.

Professional Development is crucial to our schools performance and individually, so Fiona is always looking for ways to source and implement it; for example, Dr Andrew Fuller was a guest presenter at our latest Development Day.  This type of involvement for the progress of staff in the working environment is so crucial to how our Non-Teaching and Teaching staff, all work together as a team and produce the best work for the advancement of all students.  We have also had days that have been orchestrated by the non-teaching staff, to deliver leadership capability development that aim to improve the wellbeing of staff and how we interact with our peers.

Fiona has also been a shoulder to cry on, a friend to joke with and also a brilliant boss who has nothing in mind but a caring environment for me and all the staff to work in.  Her gentle nature for everyone’s wellbeing is so uplifting and it really wants people to do their best.  Her tenacity at building a better working environment for everyone is such a benefit to our school and definitely our working life.  I am so grateful that I have been given this opportunity to work for her and be a part of this special school.

This unsung hero has done so much for this school and for me personally and it is a wonderful chance and my absolute pleasure to nominate Fiona Candlish for her dedication to the Education World.  As she always says: “We are doing great things, which ultimately result in great outcomes for our kids”!


Nominated by Anthony Cutri

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.


Nominated by Michaela Burtenshaw

Sallyann has worked passionately at building a Makerspace and Outdoor Tinkering Studio which integrates technology into the curriculum. She runs a lunch time Code Club and coaches a Robotics Team. She mentors staff in technology and has all children from K-6 using the Google Suite. She introduced Digital Leaders who are students in Kindergarten to Year 6 who help other students and teachers with technology. She has set up a biodiversity study space in the Outdoor Tinkering Studio where she works with students to study the biodiversity of the area using technology to collect data by participating in the Marine Debris Data collection survey and Water Watch. She has set up an automated hydroponic garden using Arduino and Raspberry Pi and is working on the establishment of a Meteorologist Team to collect and use weather data using BBC Microbits. 

Sallyann has run a number of Mini Makers Fairs which featured technology such as Makey Makey’s, Robotics, Arduino, Hummingbird Robotics, Ozobots, Beebots and Sphero's. She shares her knowledge with others by contributing to STANSW, Science Matters and via Twitter. She has provided advice about using technology in the classroom at national conferences. She was on the NESA Science Consultative Committee where she gave valuable feedback on the inclusion of technology in the syllabus. She is a passionate educator. The students call her Mrs STEAM train and toot when she passes by because they love their STEAM program. She does this without fanfare and has brought technology to life at St Bernard's. Staff were initially reluctant to get involved. By quietly helping them, they have now embraced it. Sallyann lives off the grid but saw a need to improve technology in the school so she upgraded her skills by attending training. She now loves it and shows teachers that you don’t need a science background to embrace technology in the classroom.


Nominated by Jean Carter

Mr Balague is the Music Teacher at Macarthur Adventist School. This school is situated in a very low socio-economic area of south west Sydney and many of the students do not have the opportunity to learn instruments. Mr Balague has such a passion for all students to have the opportunity to learn music and has given freely of his time and his own personal resources to ensure that all students who would like to learn an instrument has that opportunity - no matter the cost.

Mr Balague has started up an orchestra at the school as well as being involved in weekend orchestras with children in his local church. He has also looked for opportunities for the students to perform right from kindy age beginners.

Mr Balague cares deeply for each of his students and has gone above and beyond what is expected of a teacher. He freely gives his own time and money to ensure that all students have an exciting adventure in music.Mr Balague has also designed music desks for the classroom that allow students to have easy access to keyboards for all lessons. He has worked with tradesmen to build and install these desks in his classroom all with his own time and money.


Nominated by Geraldine Watson

Kevin is an 82-year-old volunteer who has given his services to our school and community of St Kieran's for more than 17 years. He is willingly 'on duty' from 6am until 4pm each day, rain, hail or shine. He assists the staff and students in many ways and our school would not be the same without his generosity and immeasurable support both in hours and in spirit. Kevin is a friend to all and above all keeps the students of St Kieran's in the forefront of his mind as he ushers them through the car park or to our oval during lunch time duties. We would like to acknowledge Kevin's many years of service at our school and would prefer to keep his nomination a surprise as he is extremely humble and wouldn't want any 'fuss' made about what he says 'gives him purpose.'