Victoria‟s best educators were honoured last night at the 2014 Victorian Education Excellence Awards, with winners in 14 categories presented with professional development and research grants worth between $10,000 and $50,000.
Speaking at the Crown Palladium in front of 41 finalists and hundreds of their colleagues and friends, Minister for Education Martin Dixon thanked and congratulated the winners and nominees for their contribution and achievements.
"These awards honour the remarkable people working in our schools and early years services who bring out the very best in our children," Mr Dixon said.
The ceremony also included „Thank a Teacher‟ sketches, video footage and written tributes to the finalist by students, parents and colleagues. „Thank a Teacher‟ is a new initiative, introduced as part of this year‟s awards.
"It was fantastic to hear and see from the children themselves about how their teachers and principals are having such a positive impact on their lives," Mr Dixon said.
Hawkesdale P-12 College teacher Britt Gow won the Lindsay Thompson Fellowship, following on from her 2013 honour as bankmecu Secondary Teacher of the Year for her work blending digital learning with traditional face-to-face teaching.
Ms Gow has developed a learning network that extends around the world, and this year‟s judges praised Ms Gow‟s passion for using social media to find new ways to connect students with maths and science in a way that reflects their interests and talents.
Minister for Children and Early Childhood Development Wendy Lovell said it was the dedication and passion of people working in our schools and early years services that inspired young minds to explore new possibilities, set ambitious goals, and prepare for new and exciting learning experiences.
"Each story of education excellence highlighted among the 41 finalists is not only a personal triumph in a particular school or early learning service; it also inspires colleagues across the education sector," Ms Lovell said.
The Victorian Education Excellence Awards ceremony took place just before the start of Education Week, which begins on Sunday 18 May.
Education Week 2014 marks its 70th anniversary this year by focusing on some of the great initiatives taking place across the state to improve science education, including professional development for teachers and principals.
"The Victorian Coalition Government is delivering 400 teaching scholarships to science graduates, and training 200 teachers to become maths and science specialists. They will inspire the next generation of young scientific minds to be curious, ask questions, apply critical thinking, examine evidence and draw conclusions – all skills which make for a great education," Mr Dixon said.