Last December, we had a wonderful opportunity to meet the 2018 Teacher Aide of the Year, Lyn Corradi from Clare State School in Queensland. We joined principal, Troy Patti, to present Lyn with her award at their student graduation ceremony. Afterwards, Lyn chatted to us about her role, the strong relationships she fosters with students and the deep satisfaction she gets from working with them. Below is a short clip from the interview.

2018 Australian Teacher Aide of the Year

Lyn Corradi

Clare State School, QLD

Nominated by: Troy Patti, Principal


Lyn Corradi, a teacher aide at Clare State School, is the 2018 winner of Australian Teacher Aide of the Year. Clare State School is a small school with students from Prep to Year 6, situated in a rural farming community near Ayr in North Queensland. Lyn was nominated by the school’s Principal, Troy Patti. He described Lyn as an exceptional teacher aide who is vital for the ongoing success of their students.

Lyn’s nomination highlights her impact on student learning and wellbeing. She demonstrates collaborative classroom practices, and skills and knowledge across many curriculum areas. Lyn is currently developing her skills in technologies by completing coding courses online. She uses different teaching methods to allow children to reach their potential. Lyn discusses the effectiveness of her classroom practices with teachers and administrators thereby improving the staffs’ combined professional knowledge. Lyn initiated an inquiry cycle into the teaching of writing, which resulted in changes to teaching practices at the school, and a great improvement in NAPLAN results.

Lyn coordinates the LOTE program through the Charters Towers School of Distance Education and is the school librarian. In these roles, she coordinates assesssment tasks and resolves IT issues. She coordinates the Premier's Reading Challenge, runs a yearly bookfair, and creates library displays that engage the students. Lyn particulary excels in the Arts and is often sought out by teachers to collaboratively develop lessons in this subject area.  

State Finalist & Excellence Award for Making a Difference

Catharine Mauboy

Malak Primary School, NT

Nominated by: Tanya Bott, Senior Teacher Student Success


Catharine Mauboy, a paraprofessional educator at Malak Primary School, is the Northern Territory finalist and winner of the Excellence Award for Making a Difference.

Malak Primary School is situated in the northern suburbs of Darwin. It has a culturally diverse population of approximately 235 students from Preschool to Year 6.

Catharine was nominated by Tanya Bott, a senior teacher at Malak Primary School. Ms Bott described her as a dedicated educator who has made significant contributions to the lives and learning of students and families over many years.  

Catherine's nomination highlights her dedication to making a difference to Malak students and their families. Catharine works with the early childhood team, building the oral language and motor skills needed for success in learning in the Gateways to Literacy program. She also works with remote ESL learners, developing their language skills and sense of belonging to the school. In 2017, she coordinated the Smith Family reading program, Student2Student. By the end of the eighteen week program, all Malak students had improved their reading age by 1 or more years, some by as much as 5 years, and six students improved to a reading age that was 1-2 years above their actual age.

Students, teachers, parents and the community all hold Catharine in high regard. She is affectionately known as Miss Cathy and many events have been given the 'Miss Cathy Sparkle'. 

State Finalist

Helen Michael

Glendale Technology High School, NSW

Nominated by: Rebecca Veitch, Head Teacher

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Helen Michael, a school learning support officer at Glendale Technology High School is the New South Wales finalist in the Australian Teacher Aide of the Year awards.

Rebecca Veitch, the English teacher at Glendale who nominated Helen, described her as an outstanding and invaluable staff member who enriches the working day of staff and most importantly, of the students.

Helen’s nomination highlights her ability to work collaboratively with teachers, her contribution to planning and ability to support student learning. She works with students with significant disabilities and is highly regarded by the parents and carers of these young people. Helen works collaboratively with the teaching staff, often taking the initiative to research resources for the topics being taught and contributes to the planning of lessons. She has an understanding of the curriculum that goes beyond her role and supports students in developing their understanding.

State Finalist

Leigh Simpson

Drouin Secondary College, VIC

Nominated by: Emma Todaro, Integration Leader


Leigh Simpson, a teacher aide from Drouin Secondary College, is the Victorian finalist in the Australian Teacher Aide of the Year awards.

Emma Todero, integration leader at Drouin Secondary College described Leigh’s skills in all curriculum areas as exemplary, saying she is as comfortable in an English class as she is in a Technology lesson.

Leigh's nomination highlights her intervention work in literacy and numeracy, and her ability to build strong relationships with students. She effectively assists students with a range of disabilities and advocates for their right to inclusion in education. Leigh also works with vulnerable young people to build relationships in order to get students ready to learn, and with students from diverse cultural backgrounds supporting them to access the school curriculum as well as co- curricular activities.

State Finalist

Karen Masters

North Balga Primary School, WA

Nominated by: Jemima Tomlinson, Deputy Principal


Karen Masters, a teaching assistant from North Balga Primary School, is the Western Australian finalist in the Australian Teacher Aide of the Year awards.

Jemima Tomlinson, deputy principal at North Balga Primary School, described Karen’s strong relationship with students and families as her greatest asset.

Karen’s nomination highlights her integral and dynamic role in the school, and her outstanding work ethic. She has reinvigorated the library and reignited a love for reading throughout the school. Karen is a wealth of knowledge in early literacy, and works with teachers to improve capacity in oral language and phonological awareness. She takes groups of students experiencing difficulties in reading and spelling, creates hands on games that are fun, engaging and target students' needs, and collaborates with teachers to provide feedback on student progress. 

Highly Commended

Michelle Hobden

Gunnedah South Public School, NSW

Nominated by: Meleah Walters, Relieving Deputy Principal


Michelle Hobden, a school learning support officer (SLSO), at Gunnedah South Public School in New South Wales, has been highly commended in the Australian Teacher Aide of the Year awards.

Meleah Walters, the Assistant Principal - Visible Learning, described her as a flexible and professional team player with excellent communication skills.

Michelle's nomination highlights outstanding initiative in the classroom and across the whole school. She has a vast knowledge of students' individual abilities, their learning goals and progress. Michelle works closely with classroom teachers, impacting positively on student learning and achievement. She is an active member of the Aboriginal Education team and often takes on extra roles and responsibilities in this area. She also works with students with disability and ensures learning environments are inclusive.

Highly Commended

Beverley Wilson

Elliott School, NT

Nominated by: Skylar Warren-Blake, Senior Teacher - Family Educator


Beverley Wilson, an assistant teacher at Elliott School in the Northern Territory, has been highly commended in the Australian Teacher Aide of the Year awards.

Skylar Warren-Blake, senior teacher and family educator, described her as an outstanding and invaluable staff member who enriches the working day of staff and, most importantly, of the students.

Beverley's nomination highlights her positive impact on the learning and achievement of students. She has taken a leading role in the successful implementation of the Read Write Inc. literacy program, and also works collaboratively with the classroom teacher to modify tasks and create resources that help students grasp a particular concept. Beverley is an important contributor to student wellbeing and supports students by being the link between community, the class teacher, and the school. She demonstrates her commitment and passion to building a school learning community that supports and develops local cultural heritage and community involvement. She continually develops her skills through professional training, and is an outstanding role model. 

Highly Commended

Rod McKay

Henbury School, NT

Nominated by: Joan Ocampo, Highly Accomplished Teacher

Rod McKay, a student education support officer at Henbury School in the Northern Territory, has been highly commended in the Australian Teacher Aide of the Year awards.

Joan Ocampo, a highly accomplished teacher who nominated Rod, described him as an outstanding staff member who is instrumental in improving students' well-being, particularly students in the senior outreach classes.

Rod's nomination demonstrates his ability to motivate disengaged students by providing them age-appropriate activities that encourage them to attend class and participate in school events and projects. He is a great advocate for special needs inclusion through his collaboration with Clontarf Academy and he is an inspiration to aboriginal boys in his class. Rod is instrumental in raising students' self-trust, team building skills and confidence to strive for success. He effectively supports students through Certificate courses and assists teachers to create Learning Assessment Plans to achieve their NTCET Certificate Goals.

Highly Commended

Danielle Woolard

Silkwood High School, QLD

Nominated by: Nicola McNabb, High School Advisor


Danielle Woolard, a teacher aide at Silkwood High School in Queensland has been highly commended in the Australian Teacher Aide of the Year awards.  

Nicola McNabb, the teacher who nominated Danielle, described her as an invaluable staff member who demonstrates leadership and initiative in every aspect of her role.

Danielle's nomination demonstrates her integral role in the school’s collaborative planning process. She attends planning meetings equipped with ideas and resources to assist students. Danielle works with students from Years 9-12, planning and facilitating all areas of learning, including VET courses and Outdoor Education. She actively seeks professional development opportunities to enhance her practice. Danielle's commitment to student wellbeing extends to co-facilitating school camps both overseas and at sea! This year Danielle participated in the Brisbane Kokoda Challenge where she supported her team across the line.

Highly Commended

Rebecca McMaster

Coomera State School, QLD

Nominated by: Kirrily Mochan, Senior Teacher


Rebecca McMaster, a teacher aide at Coomera State School in Queensland, has been highly commended in the Australian Teacher Aide of the Year awards.

Kirrily Mochan, the senior teacher who nominated Rebecca, said she went above and beyond her duties to enrich the lives of the children in her care, and has had a great impact on student learning and achievement.

Rebecca's nomination demonstrates her skills in all curriculum areas covered in the ECDP, and a good understanding of age appropriate pedagogy. She works collaboratively with teachers to discuss planning and contributes to learning activities. Rebecca works with students with disability and additional special needs. She offers the right amount of support while fostering independence in the students. She adapts the learning experience to make learning accessible, and differentiates each activity to ensure every child feels success regardless of their ability or disability.