Congratulations to the State Finalists in this year's Australian Teacher Aide of the Year Awards, for making an outstanding contribution to student learning and wellbeing at your school.

Excitement is building, as we prepare to announce the 2020 Australian Teacher Aide of the Year on Thursday 3 September.

Pop over to our Videos and Photos page to view some of our finalists and highly commended recipients receiving their award certificates at school.

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State Finalist

Kylie Crabtree

Richardson Primary School, ACT

Nominated by: Anne Tow, Teacher, & Brooke Calvert, Deputy Principal

 

Kylie Crabtree, a learning support assistant in the Learning Support Unit (LSU) at Richardson Primary School in Canberra, is the Australian Capital Territory Finalist in the Australian Teacher Aide of the Year Awards. 

Brooke Calvert, deputy principal at the school, said that Kylie supports students from kindergarten to year 6 with learning and behaviour, and has positively impacted on students’ academic, social and emotional development. 

Kylie’s nomination highlights her ability to apply her knowledge and expertise to support student learning across the curriculum, including students with disability and special needs. 

She has been an active member of the school’s planning group and initiated a successful bike program that was used to support students to learn and grow, and was showcased to other primary schools in the ACT. 

Kylie is a continuous learner and has shown that she takes every opportunity to upskill. She attends whole staff professional development, and has actively participated in meetings and discussions for learning support assistants at the school. 

State Finalist

Taryn Riles

Boorowa Central School, NSW

Nominated by: Graham Jones, Principal

 

Taryn Riles, a school learning and support officer at Boorowa Central School, is the New South Wales Finalist in the Australian Teacher Aide of the Year Awards. 

Graham Jones, principal at the school, said that Taryn is fantastic in the classroom supporting students with additional needs, and that she also delivers the school’s Stronger Smarter wellbeing program to all students from Kindergarten to Year 10. 

Taryn’s nomination highlights her outstanding commitment to student learning and wellbeing, and her regular collaboration with teaching staff regarding adjustments and differentiation requirements. She is particularly successful with students with ASD. Her calm, positive and predictable support has contributed to her success with de-escalating agitated students, and finding solutions through goal setting and positive mindset.

Taryn is a trained and qualified Stronger Smarter Facilitator, and delivers lessons aimed at building High Expectation Relationships, resilience, and resourcefulness.  All students have the opportunity to engage with Taryn through her Stronger Smarter lessons. Taryn also regularly co-facilitates leadership training in the region to principals, executive and teaching staff, and community members, for the Stronger Smarter Institute.

Taryn is a lifelong learner, and committed to professional learning. She is the Staff Wellbeing Coordinator, mentors new SLSOs, and has completed training in Management of Actual and Potential Aggression (MAPA), Youth Mental Health First Aid Training, and Building School Leadership in Aboriginal Education.

State Finalist

Taryn Roser

Driver Primary School, NT

Nominated by: Ranae Graham, Assistant Principal

 

Taryn Roser, a special needs aide at Driver Primary School, is the Northern Territory Finalist in the Australian Teacher Aide of the Year Awards. 

Ranae Graham, assistant principal at the school, said that Taryn has demonstrated exceptional skills to champion and execute inclusive practices, and deliver differentiated instruction. This was exemplified through her involvement in the school’s Green Ant Program, an on-site specialist unit for students identified with high level special education needs, disengagement, or vulnerability due to trauma.

Taryn’s nomination highlights her commitment to inclusive practice. This was demonstrated by her ability to help students achieve their Educational Adjustment Plan goals, by contributing to decreased absenteeism, reduced late starts, and more time for students to engage in learning and experience success. 

Taryn works in collaboration with teachers, the leadership team and other support staff to implement the Green Ant program, focusing on student’s differentiated literacy, numeracy, and social and emotional needs.

Taryn is a highly reflective practitioner who seeks feedback on her own performance and student outcomes. She has participated in professional development and training, and applied her learning to improve student well-being, as well as literacy and numeracy outcomes.

State Finalist

Michelle Lunan-Smith

Norfolk Village State School, QLD

Nominated by: Krystal Brown, Prep Teacher

 

Michelle Lunan-Smith, a prep teacher aide at Norfolk Village State School, is the Queensland Finalist in the Australian Teacher Aide of the Year Awards. 

Krystal Brown, a prep teacher at the school, said that Michelle goes above and beyond to ensure that students develop a love for learning through building positive relationships, implementing engaging learning opportunities, and collaborating with teachers and teacher aides to implement high impact teaching strategies. 

Michelle’s nomination highlights her ability to make a positive impact on student learning. She delivers engaging reading, writing and math small group lessons, and has contributed to 75% of students working above or well above standard. 

Michelle implements weekly guided writing groups based on student goals. She discusses the learning intention, success criteria and goals with students, models high quality work, and reflects and refines her practice to meet the needs of the students. 

Michelle is continuously improving her practice through professional development and training. She has attended training in the Berry Street Education Model based on trauma informed practice, and then worked with her prep teacher to implement strategies from the model.

State Finalist

Alison Pink

Gordon Education Centre, SA

Nominated by: Kylie Reed, Teacher

 

Alison Pink, a school support officer at Gordon Education Centre, is the South Australian Finalist in the Australian Teacher Aide of the Year Awards. 

Kylie Reed, a teacher at the school, said that Alison works with a team of teachers and SSOs to support around 70 students with a range of disabilities. She is passionate about building lasting relationships with all students, and ensuring they achieve their full potential.

Alison’s nomination highlights her commitment to learning and wellbeing. She collaborates with the teacher to develop personalised learning tasks, set goals, and record data on each student. 

Alison has shown leadership in embedding the PODD communication system across the centre, and undertook extensive training to develop her skills. She has worked with other staff to develop a series of videos to support student learning during home schooling, and delivered training sessions for other SSOs in the use of PODD across the curriculum.

Alison participates in staff training and development, and actively shares her knowledge to improve learning outcomes for all students. She works collaboratively with teachers to make adjustments to support effective goal setting.

State Finalist

Kate Hoban 

St. Patrick’s College, TAS

Nominated by: Dr. Rebecca Seward-Linger, EAL Learning Leader

 

Kate Hoban, an EAL/D teacher aide at St. Patrick’s College, is the Tasmanian Finalist in the Australian Teacher Aide of the Year Awards. 

Rebecca Seward-Linger, the EAL learning leader at the school, said that whilst Kate has many meritorious qualities and skills, such as inclusive practices, and knowledge about disabilities and people from other cultures, what is most admired about Kate is her heart and her philosophy of inclusion that ensures no student is ever left behind and that all students know they matter.

Kate’s nomination highlights her commitment to learning. During the COVID-19 school closure she met with students online every day, via Google Meet, to assist with assignments, and provide reading, writing, oral communication and mathematics practice.  Kate’s efforts had a massive impact on student learning and meant that all EAL/D students stayed engaged during the 6-8 week Learning@Home period. 

Kate assists students communicate with their teachers, and provides study support to senior EAL/D students, helping them understand assignment requirements, and assisting with research tasks and exam preparation. 

Kate is passionate about learning. She learned to use Google Meet, Google Docs and Google Calendar, and then taught these applications to students so that they could access learning at home during the pandemic. Kate also set up trials of various online literacy programs, and presented feedback to the EAL team to ensure students would have access to online books and literacy resources to maintain their English skills.

State Finalist

Emma Brancatisano

Wandong Primary School, VIC

Nominated by: Kelly Morrow, Principal, & Jesica Wood, Welfare Coordinator

 

Emma Brancatisano, an education support team member at Wandong Primary School, is the Victorian Finalist in the Australian Teacher Aide of the Year Awards. 

Kelly Morrow, the principal at the school, said that Emma’s role included administrative student support, facilitating literacy intervention in the early years, supporting learning and promoting the social and emotional wellbeing of students.

Emma’s nomination highlights her ability to enhance student learning, particularly in the area of literacy in the early years. She works collaboratively with the learning support teacher and speech pathologist, to run the literacy intervention program, MiniLit, and supports grade one students to enhance their reading skills through explicit teaching. The progress of these students in a small time has been outstanding. 

Emma provides outstanding leadership to the large education support team. She organises and facilitates weekly meetings, and supports colleagues to work towards their targets within their individual performance and development plans.

Emma has demonstrated a commitment to continuously improve and expand her skills and knowledge through professional development and research, and has shown initiative in training the education support team in the delivery of MiniLit, with at risk students.

State Finalist

Callum Walley 

St Pius X Primary School, WA

Nominated by: Chet Richardson, School Board Chairman

 

Callum Walley, an education assistant at St Pius X Primary School, is the Western Australian Finalist in the Australian Teacher Aide of the Year Awards. 

Chet Richardson, the school board Chairman, said that Callum spreads smiles and laughter throughout the school, and children light up when they see him. His genuine concern for all children at the school is reflected in his daily dealings with the students on the playground, and within the classroom. 

Callum’s nomination highlights his ability to positively influence the learning and wellbeing of students by learning about each child and their family to ensure that they feel valued and supported. He initiated the development of a Dads and Lads group where dads and male role models are encouraged to actively participate in school life.

Callum creates videos that are fun, uplifting and help connect the school with the community. He collaborates with colleagues and the wider community to combine his educational skills and cultural heritage to organise and present NAIDOC services, and instruct classes on appropriate educational awareness of the traditional custodians of the land.

Callum sees professional learning as critical to his development as an educator, and as well as attending all school professional development, he is studying full time to obtain a Bachelor in Education.