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Educator of the Year

ACCE/ACS Educator of the Year

The ACCE and the Australian Computer Society (ACS) Educator of the Year award is a national award intended to recognise the importance of the work of Australian teachers who are contributing to the use of information and communication technologies in their schools.

Each state member association has the opportunity to nominate a school-based educator for the award. The nominee will usually be the recipient of a state award. Nominations have to be submitted to ACCE by 30 November annually.

The ACCE Educator of the Year award is announced and presented at a national conference where practical.

The winner of the ACCE Educator of the Year Award
→ receives up to $2,000
→ receives a plaque
→ is recognized on the ACCE web site
→ may be invited to present at the next ACCE conference
Selection Process
The selection committee for the award will consist of a panel designated by the ACCE Board and will consider the submissions according to the award criteria. The selection committee, where practical, will not contain the ACCE representatives from the states / territories from which nominations have been submitted. The selection committee will be chaired by the ACS representative or a nominee of the Chair of the ACS National Computer Education Committee. Successful applicants may not necessarily fulfill all criteria. Nominees for this national award must address some or all of the criteria for the award.
Administrators in schools, district and regional personnel and people attached to offices of school systems also contribute to learning, schools and the professional computer education community, however this award focuses on recognising the efforts of classroom based educators. Nominees must be based in a school and considered a member of the teaching staff of that school.

To be eligible for the awards, candidates must be individual members of their state / territory CEG.

Submission Process
An electronic copy of a state / territory nomination to the national awards shall be supplied to the Chair of the selection committee by 31 October annually. Submissions for either award should be restricted to six pages only (or equivalent) of printable information with a further four pages of supporting documentation in any media.

Application should include:

  • Application Form
  • Nomination Statement (including reference to criteria)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Letters of Recommendation (minimum of two).
Criteria for Selection
Candidates should submit an application that organizes evidence under the following headings. The evidence should show that the applicant is respected as a leader and innovator both internal and external to their own institution.

  • Significant positive impact on technology use in education; locally, regionally, state wide, nationally, worldwide.
  • Efforts to involve the community in the initiative or program to facilitate partnerships with business and/or legislative initiations to advance the use of technology in education.
  • Works tirelessly to genuinely improve the quality of education.
  • Integrates deliberate planning in an effort to improve education through the use of technology.
  • Education and/or work experience has been significantly advanced in the nominee’s workplace as a result of the nominee’s efforts.
  • Active member of professional organizations.
  • Contributed to the profession by presenting at professional conferences, seminars and/or workshops or publishing articles in print or through electronic media.
  • Work can be used as a model.
  • Work reflects the mission and purpose of ACCE.
  • Will represent ACCE well in all forums.
Karen Binns from ICTENSW

Karen Binns from ICTENSW

2019 Educator of the Year Award Winner

Karen has been teaching for over 30 years and has had a broad ranging impact on technology use within education circles. At the local level, she has provided insightful leadership at St George Christian School and has overseen the implementation of hands-on quality technology experiences for the students throughout her school. Additionally, she began a world class robotics program. Her expertise was recognised in her local area when she was joined by two other schools to form a Design Thinking Challenge, ‘Think, Create, Connect’ that was a full day of activity by the students in each school. This initiative is an example of where her efforts of cooperatively planning quality student events has produced a scalable model that can be implemented in other school environments. The quality of this program was also recognised by the Powerhouse Museum in 2017 at the Young Creators Conference where it was showcased in one of their school workshop days.

 Karen has presented regularly for ICT Educators NSW conferences and workshop evenings. She was also an integral part of the ACCE2018 planning team providing her expertise in matters ranging from keynote selection and logistics, to offering to present a workshop.

Internationally, Karen has been recognised for her work with robotics by being selected as the Australian Representative for RoboCup Junior. She has travelled on numerous occasions with her teams and her expertise as a mentor has meant each of these teams have done Australia proud.

 Karen’s work over an extended period, reflects ACCE’s mission to advance the development of ICT in Australian education through cooperative and collaborative activity. She is a pleasant, well-spoken and knowledgeable advocate for digital technologies in education who would be an excellent ambassador for ACCE and is a worthy recipient of this award.

Patricia Lonergan from QSITE

Patricia Lonergan from QSITE

2018 Educator of the Year

Patricia Lonergan is the Technologies Coach and eLearning Guide at Holy Spirit Catholic School in Townsville. Patricia was nominated by QSITE (the Qld Society for Information Technology in Education).

Tricia is an enthusiastic and respected leader and innovator in both the use of ICTs to enhance teaching and learning and in planning and teaching the Digital Technologies Curriculum. She not only provides support for teachers in her own school but also for colleagues in schools throughout the North Queensland region in her role as the QSITE Townsville Chapter Chair.

She organises professional development and networking opportunities and shares her own work via TeachMeets and workshops. Tricia has presented at a number of conferences and contributed articles to QSITE’s QUICK Journal. She also shares her knowledge and experience with pre-service teachers through sessional lecturing and tutoring at James Cook University. Tricia has also worked to build links with community groups including the local council and CSIRO and is an active member of the Townsville Regional STEM Hub.

Tricia has been instrumental in implementing a number of programs for students in her school including robotics, CodeClub, Young ICT Explorers (YICTE), Code Camp, Technology Boot Camps, the BEBRAS Computational Thinking Challenge and the eSmart Cybersafety program. She is particularly passionate about engaging girls in ICT and has established GIDGITs and “Girls Gettin’ Geeky” programs in the school to enhance their participation. At a regional level, Tricia is the OptiMinds competition organiser and a judge for Young ICT Explorers.

Tricia also works actively with parents, keeping them informed via regular newsletter communication and by offering information sessions such as CyberSafety and coding for them. 

Eleni Kyritsis

Eleni Kyritsis

2017 Educator of the Year

Eleni is an enthusiastic and passionate educator who is currently teaching Year 6 who provides students with engaging and effective opportunities to learn through the authentic incorporation of technology in her classroom.

She was nominated for this award by Digital Learning and Teaching Victoria whose president, Mel Cashen commented:

“Eleni’s belief in the need to create a flexible and connected classroom is lived daily through the use of her personal blog, her Year 6 class blog, Twitter, Google Hangouts and Skype. In addition, she is an active advocate for the use of technology both within her school, and in the global community. She is constantly exploring new ideas that will assist teachers to integrate technology across all facets of the curriculum and to enable their students to share their learning locally and internationally.“

Eleni also leads professional learning days for schools across Victoria, Australia and New Zealand. She has taken on the role of mentor for the Google Certified Innovator program, inspiring and coaching her mentee to develop a project to impact positive change within education, and works at Australian Catholic University as a Tutor to empower pre-service teachers to be active, globally connected teachers when graduated.

“Eleni has presented at a broad variety of conferences as well as presenting and supporting teachers in various schools through both professional learning sessions and her regular planning, organisation and presentations on her monthly TeachTechPlay webshow.” said Martin Levins, President of ACCE, “She regularly writes articles for the Australian Council for Educational Leadership, Education Today, and other technology magazines around Australia.”

The award of Educator of the Year carries a $2 000 prize, kindly sponsored by the Australian Computer Society is to be used to further the awardee’s professional learning.

2016 Bruce Fuda ACT
Bruce Fuda is Director of the IT, Commerce and Design Faculty at Gungahlin College in the ACT.

Through his role as President of the local computing association, InTEACT, Bruce has driven and defined mutually beneficial partnerships with bodies such as the Australian Computing Society (ACS), Digital Careers, Women in Information and Communication and CSIRO. These partnerships have seen the engagement of various ACT schools in the IT Professionals in Schools program (with CSIRO), coding club establishment and support (with the ACS), and award scholarship nominations such as WICKed Young Women of the Year.

His students recently collaborated on a project to launch a high altitude balloon to measure and transmit atmospheric data for analysis on the ground. Bruce brokered a partnership with CSIRO and Intel to offer a deep and authentic learning experience resulting in a student understanding of the interdependence of technical, scientific, mathematical and engineering concepts.

When asked to define his philosophy, Bruce responded:

“Developing relevant, dynamic curriculum that engages students and challenges them to explore their own potential… means thinking beyond explicit subject / discipline boundaries and taking a more holistic approach”.

Beyond the school setting, Bruce has organized Canberra CS4HS events 2012 to 2015, successfully applying annually for grant funding of $15 000 from Google. This has brought opportunities for teachers in all schooling sectors across the Government, Catholic and Independent systems.

Bruce was instrumental in the planning of the inaugural ACT Google Summit in 2015, attracting over 200 educators. The Summit supported take-up in schools and prompted a vibrant network of teachers continually challenging / enhancing the possibilities of the Google platform.

Bruce’s solid reputation led to his role on the ACARA Advisory Group for the Australian Curriculum: Technologies. In this capacity, he advised writers on the appropriateness of all curriculum content relating to Technologies including band level and content descriptions and achievements standards. Further, he had input to the IT general capability section and to the writing of final revisions of the glossary and curriculum.

He ensures his own currency, as a delegate at events such as ACSA Symposium and Google Teacher Academy (Sydney) as well as by further study including Assessment of C21st Skills at University of Melbourne, Algorithmic Thinking at Rice University and Designing a New Learning Environment at Stanford University.

Bruce’s work in developing a modern and agile learning space at his current school, taking advantage of contemporary technology and compliant with Directorate policies, has been identified by Information and Knowledge Services (IKS) as an exemplar for duplication elsewhere. He is currently working with IKS to trial technology solutions that become the supported standard for all Directorate schools in the future.

2015 Leigh Howser Queensland
Leigh Howser currently holds the position of eLearn Mentor at the Cairns School of Distance Education (CSDE). Her work reflects a passion for enhancing learning through the use of ICTs and she is proactive in designing and implementing programs that not only support teachers and students but also parents and home tutors. Leigh is regarded as a leader in the development, adoption and adaptation of ICTs in the school’s multiple learning environments and is the Chair of the school’s ICT Committee, the MIS Co-ordinator and VideoLinq Service Co-ordinator. Leigh provides leadership in the development and implementation of eLearning; creates and manages courses within the school’s Virtual Learning Environment; ensures that the ICT infrastructure of the school facilitates and supports eLearning; and provides advice to the school Leadership Team regarding policies, plans, priorities and targets related to eLearning.

Leigh’s passion for encouraging and inspiring students in the use of ICTs has led her to develop a number of programs which extend the opportunities provided for students in Far North Queensland. These programs have included Little Girls’ Day Out (full-day ICT workshops for girls in Years 3 to 6) and the Technology Boot Camps (three-day technology and leadership camps for students in Years 5 to 8). Leigh was acknowledged with a Smart Classrooms Regional Teacher Award for her work in these student programs. In 2011, Leigh was successful in obtaining PCAP funding for a program called TechnIT Outback which she planned and implemented. A group of teachers from CSDE embarked on a travelling roadshow to all schools between Mount Garnet and Karumba, presenting a full-day program in each centre for students in Years 1 to 7. Students experienced activities based around BeeBots, NXT robots, game-making and animation.

Leigh is an active member of the Far North Queensland Chapter of QSITE and has been a committee member since 2004. In 2012, Leigh accepted the position of Professional Development Co-ordinator for the FNQ Chapter and this role is one which sits nicely with Leigh’s passion for ensuring educators have access to quality professional development in the use of ICTs for teaching and learning.

2014 Kim Martin South Australia
Kim is currently employed as the Digital Learning Coordinator at Star of the Sea School, and Senior Assistive Technology Coordinator and Client Services Manager at CanDo4Kids.

In her Coordinator role at Star of the Sea School since 2011, Kim has supported student engagement through curriculum and pedagogical change with educational technology. In these three years, she has worked collaboratively with others to transform the learning landscape to include a 1:1 MacBook program in years 5-7; 1:2 iPad program in R-4 (moving to 1:1 in 2014/15); a green-screen film lab, flexible learning spaces in the middle school, and the integration of online learning management tools and sharing of resources via Edmodo, Scootle, Twitter and blogs. Kim’s role in facilitating pedagogical change has involved hosting regular parent and community technology sessions led by students and herself. One of the highlights of her work has been student participation in the Federal Government Youth Advisory Committee on Cyber Safety for the past two years where several students each year have been selected to attend and present at the annual summit.

In her role with CanDo4Kids, Kim works with families, students and colleagues statewide, helping them to develop inclusive learning environments with differentiated curriculum offerings and personalized learning opportunities with the assistance of technology. She has spoken at conferences about how to engage students with significant disabilities and worked with students with additional physical, intellectual and/or sensory impairments to enhance their learning opportunities through the use of robotics, stop animation, movie making, eBooks, gaming, music production and iPads.

2013 Joint Winners: Chris Betcher, Christine Haynes
Chris Betcher New South Wales

Chris is currently ICT Integrator at Presbyterian Ladies College, Sydney. He has taught in the public, Catholic and Independent school sectors across all year levels and internationally, and worked in a private educational consultancy. He has consistently evangelized the use of technology for deeper, more meaningful learning.

Chris promotes technology as a tool for learning, and helps other educators more aware of the enormous potential that ICT offers and how it can help improve learning and extend the nature of education.

He is an active member of ICTENSW and ISTE, and has led successful global collaborative projects, helped other teachers integrate ICT into mainstream subjects, taught children about programming and computational thinking, and adopted social tools to help learning. He is proud that many ex-students have pursued careers in the IT field after their experience in his school.

Chris has shared his expertise openly and freely through his own blog
http://chrisbetcher.com , involvement in national and international conferences, through his podcast network and a co-authored book.

Chris is also an Adobe Education Leader, Google Certified Teacher, and a Google Apps for Education Certified Trainer.

Christine Haynes South Australia

Christine Haynes, ICT Coordinator at Immanuel Primary School and active CEGSA committee member, is an innovative teacher and learner who seeks to improve learning through the use of technology in strategic, creative and practical ways.

Christine has worked internationally in the ICT industry as well as in education. Evidence of the range of her talents includes numerous awards an project funding to use ICT to extend cultural and language links with Japan, a financial literacy resource, and involvement in cybersafety forums.

Christine aims to enhance and extend learning with and through technology, as “learning activator” working side by side with learners of all ages to inspire individuals and groups to gain confidence through supported experiences integrating technology into their personal and student learning programs.

As ICT Coordinator, Christine enables teachers of all year levels to transform learning using available technology by leading planning, implementation and reflection processes. She has transformed a culture of dependence and support to one of enablement and

Christine has contributed greatly to CEGSA, coordinating MasterClass presenters, Spotlight Sessions and workshops, presenting at regional and national conferences and is part of the ACEC 2014 Executive Organising Committee.

2012: Ann Mirtschin, Hawkesdale P12 College, Victoria
Anne Mirtshcin is an innovative teacher at Hawkesdale P-12 College a small rural school that is isolated culturally and geographically. She uses online tools and technology to create powerful learning opportunities for students. Anne is passionate about rural and global education, immersing technology into the classroom, eLearning and loves collaborating and learning online. She currently teaches IT and accounting, and is a web conference coach one day per week, with Victorian Education Department, co-organising and moderating two weekly webinars, Tech Talk Tuesdays and eT@lking. Anne has written the advanced blogging challenges for the global Kick Start Your Blog for Edublogs, has written Cool Tools for the Connected Classroom for Education Services Australia. She also frequently presents at local, national and international conferences both in person and virtually.

Anne is the ICT Coordinator and an Ultranet Lead User at Hawkesdale P-12 College. She has successfully implemented many innovative ICT programs within the school and across all year levels including the student / staff / school blogging program. She has introduced the online Ping music program which brings music to rural schools, global projects, DEECD Innovation & Next Practise projects including Digital Demons, Learning Safely Online and Virtual Worlds with Quest Atlantis, videoconferencing and the use of webinars and online learning with students throughout many year levels of the school.

2010 - 1993
Paul Fuller, Lansdale Primary School, West Australia

Ronald Gesthuizen, Westhall Secondary College, Victoria
Sue Urban, Wilderness School, South Australia

2008: Victoria
Robyn Floyd, Glen Iris Primary School
Robyn Floyd, Assistant Principal – Curriculum at Glen Iris Primary School is the recipient of the ACCE / ACS 2008 Educator of the Year Award. Robyn who was previously an Innovation and Excellence Educator for the Red Earth Cluster is passionate about engaging students in relevant learning, preparing them for their 21st century futures, using an innovative blend of traditional and e-technologies to maximize the learning agility of both students and teachers. Robyn has written a number of articles, books and modules for teachers and parents sharing her ideas.

2007: Tasmania
Margaret Meijers, New Town High School
Margaret Meijers is a classroom teacher and Curriculum Coordinator for ICT at New Town High School. Margaret uses constructivist pedagogies to teach through game development and other new and emerging real world applications that bring learning to life for students. She believes in using technology to create powerful learning environments where ICT tools are used for collaboration, to enhance thinking skills, engage students and help those with special needs to learn. To deliver and support her teaching Margaret develops extensive web based resources and these are made available and used widely in classrooms around the world.

2006: Victoria
Christine Trimnell, Narre Warren North Primary School
Christine Trimnell has undertaken the dual role of ICT Teacher / School Coordinator as well as Teacher Librarian at Narre Warren North Primary School since 2000. Prior to taking up this position Christine worked in private schools; the Catholic Education Department as well as several other government schools. Christine could see an exicting way to move forward in education with computer technology and undertook a Graduate Diploma of Information Technology at Deakin, Burwood completing it in 1997.

2005: Western Australia
Trevor Galbraith, Sacred Heart College

2004: Victoria
Christine Benke, Barwon Valley School
Christine Benke is an LT2 Special Education Teacher, and is currently the Early Years Campus Cooordinator at Barwon Valley School, Geelong, Victoria. Chris also works as a classroom teacher with a group of seven young students with a range of disabilities including autism. Chris is a trained Early Years Literacy Coordinator, and has a strong interest in developing communication and literacy skills in non-verbal students, and in at risk students in the beginning literacy stages. Over the past five years Chris has used technology to support student learning, particularly in the areas of language acquisition and emerging literacy. Chris embeds technology into key curriculum areas by creating motivating and effective learning activities for students with special learning needs. She has been an advocate of using technology to develop a range of integrated elearning and print resources, specifically designed to address the learning needs of individual students. This philosophy is the basis of her CaBS Approach – Computer Aided Books for Students (originally called Talking Books). This includes the identification of specific learning objectives for each student within their Individual Education Plans, the Program Support Group format, and the Victorian and BVS School Curriculum documents. A range of resources is then developed, including enlarged texts, books and learning centre activities supported by multimedia programs developed on MS PowerPoint. The multimedia programs and resources incorporate digital photos of the students and their environment, which makes the learning activities personal, motivating, and highly relevant to each individual student. programs are further individualised by incorporating the various communication systems used by different students, including written text, symbol systems and signs.

2003: Queensland
Nicola House, Kuranda State School

2002: Western Australia
Harry Clements-Shepherd, Christian Brothers College Fremantle

2001: South Australia
Kerrie Smith, Charles Campbell Secondary School

2001: Western Australia
Ray Cilia, Cable Beach Primary School

2000: Western Australia
Jim Fuller, Mandurah Senior High School

1999: Queensland
Jeremy Connel, Brisbane Boys Grammar School

1998: Western Australia
Mike Leishman, Newman College

1997: New South Wales
Cheryl Walters, Menai Public School

1996: Queensland
Peter Whitehouse, St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace

1995: Queensland
Eleanor Igoe, Oyster Bay Primary School
David Perry, Somerset College

1994: New South Wales
John Oakley

1993: Queensland
Bob Pike, Cleveland Senior High School