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> Teacher of the Year Prize, $100,000
post Dec 3 2007, 03:49 PM
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Western Australian Teacher of the Year Prize

Premier Alan Carpenter has today announced that the Teacher of the Year prize money has been quadrupled to $100,000.

The Premier announced the massive funding boost at the 2007 Teacher of the Year award ceremony this morning, as he presented winner Ray Roberts from Ballajura Community College with his award.

Prize money for the highly commended award winners has also increased from $5,000 to $25,000 each.

Mr Carpenter said the significant increase in prize money for this year’s awards was in recognition of the work done by Western Australia's top performing teachers.

“Teaching is one of the most important professions there is - the quality of a child’s teacher can determine their chances of success in later life,” he said.

“That is why it is so important that the best among the profession are recognised and rewarded.”

The Premier said this year’s winner, Ray Roberts, was the brainchild behind the award-winning Access Program for students at educational risk.

The program, which now involved seven classes across Years 10, 11 and 12, had been adopted by several other schools.

Mr Roberts’ innovative program had transformed the lives of his school’s most challenging students.

“Through his extraordinary dedication, initiative and belief, Mr Roberts has demonstrated that even the most challenging students are capable of high achievement,” Mr Carpenter said.

“The students on the Access Program face a range of difficulties including language barriers, physical disabilities and extreme academic, social and behavioural problems.

“Mr Roberts establishes a positive rapport with the students and devises teaching programs and workplace learning opportunities to meet their individual needs, making them feel valued and supported.

“The program’s results are truly remarkable with 100 per cent of students achieving graduation in 2005 and 2006, and many embarking on promising careers that seemed unlikely just a few years ago.

“This is really an outstanding achievement.”

Among Mr Roberts’ many other commitments to the wider community is a leadership role with the Western Australian Police Rangers, which he integrates into the educational programs of his students.

Mr Roberts was selected from 323 public school teachers and TAFE lecturers from across the State nominated by students, parents, colleagues, businesses and industries.

The Premier also congratulated highly commended award winners Ken Gwyer from Challenger TAFE Peel Campus and Gail Linton from Mount Lockyer Primary School in Albany, both of whom will receive $25,000.

The schools and colleges of the overall and highly commended award winners will receive a $5,000 prize to be spent on teaching and training resources, courtesy of award sponsor ExxonMobil.

Education and Training Minister Mark McGowan congratulated the 120 finalists and said they epitomised the outstanding quality of Western Australia’s teaching and lecturing workforce.

“Teachers and lecturers are the unsung heroes of our community who play a pivotal role in the development of our future citizens,” Mr McGowan said.

“Many go beyond the call of duty by organising programs and activities outside normal classroom hours which make a real difference to their students’ lives.”

Now in its fourth year, the award recognises the outstanding skills and excellence of teachers and lecturers in public schools and TAFE colleges across Western Australia.

Winners are selected by a panel of high profile community and Government representatives based on nomination statements, which demonstrate their innovation, commitment and collaborative approach to teaching and lecturing.

2007 Premier’s Teacher of the Year: Ray Roberts, Ballajura Community College
Ray’s award-winning Access Program has been widely adopted by schools which share his commitment to the needs of students at educational risk. As a foundation member of the college, Ray has made a significant contribution to its ethos, culture and successful educational outcomes. A mentor and motivator, he engages colleagues and students in exciting community activities from environment studies on Rottnest Island to experiencing the Bibbulmun Track. He is acknowledged as a driving force behind the WA Police Rangers. Ray was nominated by a colleague.

Highly Commended: Gail Linton, Mount Lockyer Primary School, Albany
For more than 20 years, Gail has been a role model and mentor, regarded as the quintessential professional teacher. Her commitment is to all students and their families, but she is best known for her work with children with special needs. A philosophy of tolerance and understanding underpins Gail’s curriculum, especially in relation to Aboriginal studies. Her expert knowledge is recognised State-wide, with a number of her lessons being published on the Aboriginal Perspectives Across the Curriculum website. Gail was nominated by a colleague.

Ken Gwyer, Challenger TAFE, Peel Campus
Ken Gwyer is a dedicated lecturer and driving force behind the outstanding success of a partnership with Winjan Aboriginal Corporation. His teaching initiatives have inspired students to showcase their considerable talents and share their local knowledge, language and traditional culture with the wider community, including thousands of school students. Ken liaises with local government and industry to form sustainable partnerships to ensure positive outcomes and career prospects for his students. Students blossom under his guidance, especially as artists and eco-tourism guides. Ken was nominated by a colleague.

Ben, Skype "Perth-", Western Australia
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