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Feature article .............................................. 2

Meet the next generation of leaders in K-12 education

Methodology ................................................ 3 Rising Stars 2021 list ................................... 5 Profiles .......................................................... 6 Last year’s winners .....................................




AUSTRALIA’S BEST EMERGING EDUCATION LEADERS REVEALED THEY MIGHT NOT be putting themselves in the spotlight for all to see, but in classrooms across Australia, there are young, inspirational trailblazers who are having a profound impact on the outcomes of their students – and often breaking the mould of traditional education while they’re at it. Over the past year, these iconoclasts have been defying the odds in the face of overwhelming challenges, often using cuttingedge pedagogy, research and technologies to help students – and, in many cases, their professional colleagues – achieve their best. Indeed, the overwhelming challenges of the past year served to shape the thinking

that underpinned their groundbreaking work. When the federal government, acting on the advice of health experts, initiated a nationwide lockdown in March 2020, schools were forced to move their teaching and learning programs online. For many educators, this offered a unique opportunity to cast aside the archaic models that have stifled areas of student growth and professional learning. But, as with all great endeavours, there were the inevitable birth pangs. As the remote learning experiment was being rolled out, a major survey of 3,500 teachers from all sectors across Australia and New Zealand revealed that almost half

“[Every parent in Australia has developed] a newfound respect for the work that teachers do every day. This will be an enduring legacy” Dan Tehan, former federal education minister














of the respondents were not confident in their ability to meet students’ learning needs online during the COVID-19 pandemic. “It is like being a beginner teacher all over again, as you don’t know what works or doesn’t work well,” one teacher said. Teachers also reported significant increases in demands on their time; 70% said planning time had increased either ‘slightly’ or ‘significantly’. Responses included references to an “exponential” workload increase. One teacher summed up the sentiment of their colleagues by simply saying, “We’re exhausted.” Still, these unsung heroes fought the good fight, and amid the seismic shifts and relent-





less blows that 2020 delivered, Australia’s teachers and leaders led by example, demonstrating incredible adaptability, resilience and courage. Indeed, these seemingly inherent traits paid off in ways that are as surprising as they are heartwarming. One encouraging example was recently highlighted in a report by the University of Newcastle, which found no significant differences between student achievement in 2019 and 2020. Laureate Professor Jenny Gore, director of the Teachers and Teaching Research Centre, described the research as a “striking counter-narrative” to widespread speculation about alarming levels of ‘learning loss’ for all students. This research – and an ever-growing body of anecdotes across Australia – shows that quality teaching is alive and well. Educators have done an amazing job of guiding students through radical changes to their school lives, while at the same time innovating to develop new ways of moving education into the future.

Giving credit where it’s due Parents – who, at the outbreak of the pandemic, were practically forced to become full-time teachers overnight – have begun to show a marked appreciation for the teaching profession. Last year, Dr Adam Fraser, a peak performance expert and director of research company E-Lab, studied how parents’ attitudes towards teachers had changed over the

COVID-19 homeschooling period. The study of more than 1,000 NSW parents of primaryaged children from a diverse range of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds found that a whopping 99.7% of parents were satisfied with the work of their child’s teacher, and 98.5% were satisfied with the communication they received from the school. Importantly, 91% of parents said they had a greater level of respect for teachers following the COVID-19 lockdown. In addition, 96.6% of parents said they felt supported by their child’s school during the COVID-19 homeschooling period, and 86.8% reported that their child was moderately to highly engaged in learning during this time. In an interview with The Educator as Term 4 drew to a close, former Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan said every parent in Australia has developed “a newfound respect for the work that teachers do every day”. “This will be an enduring legacy,” he said. “I have been impressed by the way Australia’s teachers and school leaders have demonstrated resilience, innovation and flexibility in the face of such unprecedented challenges.”

Selfless agents of change Perhaps most notably, educators put their health and safety on the line to carry out the critical job of teaching during this time of historic disruption and upheaval, when

METHODOLOGY The Educator’s Rising Stars 2021 report was launched with a call to the entire Australian K-12 education sector for nominations. During the period between 16 November and 11 December 2020, we received close to 100 nominations. Eligible candidates had to be age 35 or under, working in a role related to the K-12 education sector, and able to demonstrate effective leadership, innovation, and achievement in their career to date. To ensure the focus remains on emerging talent, past winners were not eligible to enter again. Both self-nominations and nominations on behalf of colleagues were accepted. The winners were judged by the substance of their nominations – namely, those that illustrated specific outcomes with the relevant data to support their claims, including data on improvements across key areas such as students’ in-class engagement, academic achievement, attendance and wellbeing. The Educator team carefully reviewed each nomination, examining how each individual had made a meaningful and tangible difference to teaching and learning outcomes in their schools.

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Educators put their health and safety on the line to carry out the critical job of teaching during this time of historic disruption and upheaval, when reports also showed their wellbeing was in decline reports also showed their wellbeing was in decline. As early as February 2020, research from Monash University showed that 71% of Australia’s educators were feeling under­ appreciated in the classroom and struggling with excessive workloads. The study, considered one of the largest surveys of teachers, included 2,444 educators, as well as more than 1,000 members of the public. While almost three-quarters of the teachers in the survey reported feeling underappreciated, 56% said they were still satisfied with their role. However, 34% of surveyed teachers expressed unhappiness, and 58% said they planned to leave the profession. Of the teachers who expressed the intention of leaving, 10% said it was because they felt unappreciated. Principals, too, have been under the pump. A national report into principal occupational health and wellbeing found that nearly one in three principals faces stress and burnout, as well as high levels of threats and physical violence by parents and students. More than 84% of school leaders reported being subjected to an offensive behaviour



over the last year, 51% reported having received threats of violence, and more than 42% said they’d been exposed to physical violence. And this data was collected before schools felt the true impact of COVID-19. This sad reality drives home an important point: just like those in the medical and law enforcement professions, teachers do what they do for the greater good. It’s not an exaggeration to say that teachers are planting the seeds from which our future world will grow. And it doesn’t take a seasoned educator to know where the fertile soil to lay these seeds is located. In classrooms across Australia, there are many trailblazing young educators who are truly standing out from the rest when it comes to making a profound impact on the outcomes of young people. As schools adapted to the ‘new normal’, The Educator spoke to hundreds of teachers and leaders about the ways they supported young people during the pandemic. Through these interviews, we discovered a broad breadth of new initiatives that are shaping the way students learn – and teachers teach – heading into 2021 and beyond. Often, those at the helm of these initiatives were young and ambitious visionaries determined to make a lasting impact rather than shortterm improvements to ride out COVID-19. So, The Educator recently asked our readers to nominate emerging leaders in education who are making waves in the early stages of their career, with the aim of showcasing their achievements and industry contributions on a national platform. The 2021 Rising Stars list recognises professionals in the K-12 education space, aged 35 and under, who have demonstrated effective leadership, innovation and achievement in their careers to date. From nearly 100 nominations received by The Educator, 32 young professionals stood out for their outstanding leadership, incredible initiative and passion, expertise, innovative approach to teaching and learning, and vision – all of which are necessary to thrive in the ever-evolving education landscape.

Dane Calleja

Katie White

Deputy principal Kolbe Catholic College

Head of Years 7 and 8; mathematics coordinator, Years 7–9 Brighton Grammar School

Location: Victoria Website: kolbecc.catholic.edu.au

Location: Victoria Website: brightongrammar.vic.edu.au

Grace Hattingh

Rosaleen Maguire

EAL and English teacher Genazzano FCJ College

Teacher St Patrick’s College Townsville

Location: Victoria Website: genazzano.vic.edu.au

Location: Queensland Website: stpatscollege.qld.edu.au

Bec Christensen, Assistant principal/digital pedagogies mentor

Josh Roggenkamp, Head of department effective teaching

Nowra Public School (NSW)

Maryborough State High School (Qld)

Bernadette Jarvis, Teacher

Joshua Casey, Indigenous coordinator/technology and enterprise teacher

Ormiston College (Qld)

Guildford Grammar School (WA)

Bianca Fenech, Classroom teacher

Kyle Hennig, Link and launch coordinator

Ingleburn Public School (NSW)

Northern Beaches State High School (Qld)

Bonnie Becker, Literacy program leader and senior English teacher

Lauren Korotkov, HSIE teacher and Year 7 coordinator

St Joseph’s Nudgee College (Qld)

Emanuel School (NSW)

Carly May, Physical education and sports coordinator Australian International Academy, Caroline Springs campus (Vic)

Matthew Johansen, Head of department – explicit teaching and data analysis

Casey Paron, Head teacher, PDHPE and Stage 5

Mitchell Stokes, Assistant principal

Murwillumbah High School (NSW)

Kincumber Public School (NSW)

Celine Decoux, Languages teacher (French)

Oliver Clarke, Principal policy officer – youth engagement

St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls (WA)

Queensland Department of Education

Charles Bootes, Acting house dean

Phil Carew, Head of digital technologies and e-learning

Ipswich Grammar School (Qld)

Marist College Canberra (ACT)

Toorak College (Vic)

David Hrovat, Head of Year 8

Rokiyah Bin Swani, Indigenous scholarship program coordinator

Ivanhoe Grammar School, Plenty campus (Vic)

Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Perth (WA)

Emily McLachlan, PDHPE teacher/physical activity advisor

Sally Berger, Education support

Chatswood High School (NSW)

Kalianna Special School (Vic)

Georgia Bellchambers, Assistant English faculty coordinator

Scott Corbett, Head of catalyst

St Philip’s Christian College Cessnock (NSW)

All Saints’ College (WA)

Jacob Elms, Dean of academic welfare (secondary)

Stephanie Sanders, Co-head of junior school English

John Paul College, Qld

Ballarat Clarendon College (Vic)

Jacqueline Gough, Head of curious minds

Steven Kolber, Literacy improvement teacher and learning specialist

Haileybury (Vic)

Brunswick Secondary College (Vic)

Jane Martens, Secondary teacher St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School (Qld)

Wilbur Donovan, Consultant – learning and teaching Cairns Catholic Education Services (Qld)

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ince becoming deputy principal at Kolbe Catholic College in 2020, Dane Calleja has been shaking up teaching and learning in a variety of ways that have staff and students heading into 2021 with confidence and optimism. At the heart of Calleja’s drive to improve outcomes at the college is a strategic plan built upon the ‘Five L’s of Learning’: learner-centred learning; learning partnerships; literacies for the world; learning experience, environment and engagement; and learning practice. “This framework underpins the Learning and Teaching Strategic Plan, which aims to provide a liberating and holistic education that maximises student outcomes and establishes learner pathways that are tailormade to suit the needs and interests of each individual,” Calleja says. Since the implementation of the plan, Calleja says students and staff have continued to experience significant growth


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as the college expands pathways and programs on offer for students. “The implementation of pedagogical coaching, growth data tools, accelerated learning programs and wholesale curriculum reviews are just some examples of the success achieved as part of this,” he says. During last year’s COVID-19 school lockdowns, Calleja oversaw the development of a Remote Learning Plan and Remote Learning Suite, which helped keep students engaged during the enormous shifts to their learning routines. “Informed by research associated with evidence-based high-impact teaching, the approach enabled students and staff to engage in face-to-face online learning for every lesson, providing opportunities for the continued development of knowledge, skill and understanding,” he explains. “Complementing online lessons was the live release of results, micro testing and the

delivery of online feedback. The college also ran online parent-teacher student interviews and various staff, student, and parent Remote Learning Workshops to support the operation of the platform in place.” Calleja’s current work is focused on evidence-based high-impact teaching strategies, which provide a foundation for innovation in teaching and learning at the college. “Paired with a focus on the use of growth data, these strategies have formed the basis of our pedagogical coaching program and the design of the various academic pathways on offer,” he says. “These strategies continue to be implemented successfully across all areas of the curriculum, creating consistency between subjects and facilitating maximised growth for each individual. The evidence-based nature of these strategies ensures that lessons remain highimpact and the growth of each individual is able to be tracked.”



Head of Years 7 and 8; Mathematics Coordinator, Years 7–9

EAL and English Teacher

Brighton Grammar School

Genazzano FCJ College


atie White is a committed educator with the ability to foster a high-performance learning environment. When Victoria pivoted to distance learning, she took a collaborative approach to driving the Effective Learner model for Brighton Grammar School as a benchmark for students learning both on site and from home. White is passionate about furthering her students’ academic growth. She has helped create first-class data analytics and processes to map the learning journeys of students and has overseen the development of a mathematics program that used research-based teaching and learning strategies to maximise the outcomes of students in Years 7–9. White is also committed to her students’ personal growth. She partners and liaises with students, staff and parents to ensure students get all the support they need and achieve the best outcomes. Her ability to build strong relationships, her understanding of good pastoral care and her ability to be empathetic have been recognised in her recent appointment as director of students in Years 7–12. As a Years 7–9 maths coordinator, White has developed other leaders within the department and has helped subject coordinators run their teams effectively. She has also written high-quality curricula while simultaneously mentoring other teachers with their curriculum writing.


race Hattingh is an integral member of Genazzano FCJ College who has engaged with all curriculum areas to ensure students, particularly those with English as an additional language (EAL) requirements, are supported and integrated throughout the college’s curriculum. Hattingh joined Genazzano in 2019 and has already made a significant impact with her comprehensive, future-focused and engaging EAL programs, as well as her numerous initiatives to promote optimal learning and growth for her students. She has actively contributed to Genazzano’s professional learning programs and to the success of the Year 9 Immersion and Science of Learning Cognizance programs. Her action research project, in which she produced videos for students to watch for homework, has produced astounding results in addressing the disparity in writing skills and the challenge of teaching English content to diverse learners. During the lockdowns, Hattingh facilitated exceptional online learning programs, often with students living overseas, and created specific pages on the LMS platform as a place for college staff to discover how to best support EAL students. A strong advocate of diversity and inclusion, Hattingh has also helped evolve the college’s EAL co-curricular program into a broad group called GenGlobal, with a designated space for intercultural understandings, diverse perspectives and global citizenship.

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RISING STARS 2021 THE 2020 RISING STARS Amy Quilty Blue Haven Public School

Ben Peacock St Philip’s Christian College Cessnock

Clare Ellis Ballarat Clarendon College

Gabrielle Wilson Toorak College

ROSALEEN MAGUIRE Teacher St Patrick’s College Townsville


true professional with dedication, enthusiasm and a positive attitude to her work – this is how Rosaleen Maguire is regarded by her colleagues at St Patrick’s College Townsville. Maguire joined the College last January, and she has already demonstrated extraordinary motivation and a high level of involvement in all facets of the College, despite the challenges brought by COVID-19. She exemplified intentional leadership and innovation in spearheading the development of the junior English, Religion and Drama online modules during the Learning @ Home period, as well as when she helped students transition back into classroom learning. Maguire’s dedication was also reflected in her active participation and leadership of the College Running Club, the College Speech Night and the 2020 Book Week Performance. Her outstanding work, commitment and welcoming personality have been recognised in her recent appointment as Acting Head of House. Prior to coming to St Patrick’s College Townsville, Maguire spent four years inspiring students in Drama, English, Humanities, Dance and Chinese; directed a college musical; was a director and facilitator of the Performing Arts for rural students; and coached netball, rugby league, touch and AFL. In 2019, she received the John Bell Shakespeare Scholarship, which included a week-long professional development program in Sydney.



Grace Want Canterbury College

Joel Procter St Philip’s Christian College Cessnock

Kate Roberts Trinity Lutheran College

Katherine Barton Melbourne Girls Grammar School

Marie Bugge Loreto Normanhurst

Matthew Anderson Ormiston College

Natasha Vinod Toorak College

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