Three St Andrew’s Cathedral School staff members were shortlisted for the Australian Education Awards held in early December, with Rhonda Robson winning the prized Primary School Principal of the Year award.
Rhonda Robson – Winner of Primary School Principal of the Year (non-Government schools)
Rhonda is a Deputy Head of St Andrew’s Cathedral School and the Head of the Junior School and the Gawura School. Over her 10 years at the school, Rhonda has overseen the growth of the school from 150 to 429 students. Her vision for the school motivates and inspires the teaching staff to excel in all that they do. She also ensures high quality professional development programmes are offered to her staff.
The Junior School NAPLAN results have improved significantly under Rhonda’s leadership. In the last few years, she recognised the need for additional support for our students who are struggling academically. Additional resources were allocated to the Junior School learning support team, which resulted in improved student performance in all year groups. This was reflected in the NAPLAN results and standardised testing data.
Rhonda ensures staff receive the support needed to do their jobs well. Her management style creates a sense of ownership and collegiality that empowers staff and provides them with opportunities to progress professionally.
Katharine Groves – Nominee for Innovation in Curriculum Design
Katharine is the K-6 Literacy Coordinator at St Andrew’s Cathedral School and Gawura School. She’s an outstanding teacher who has worked over the last three years to redevelop our English Curriculum. Her English programme has pre-empted many of the changes soon to be introduced in the new NESA English syllabus. She conducted an extensive audit of all school texts and spent time discussing with teachers their perceptions of the existing curriculum. Katharine also liaised with several schools, locally and interstate, to discover the best pedagogies to improve literacy outcomes, lifting the quality and richness of our entire English programme.
This year, Katharine is working closely with the teachers in our Gawura School to explore student data and work samples in order to target the specific learning needs of students. Katharine has helped these teachers create individualised literacy plans for each student. It is Katharine’s confident, persuasive and visionary leadership that has enabled teachers to embrace her innovations in our English curriculum.
Harriet O’Donnell – Nominee for the Education Rising Star of the Year
Harriet is an impressive Year 5 classroom teacher who has worked hard to develop her teaching practice. Last year, Harriet completed a six-week online professional development course with the University of Tasmania to increase her skills and understanding of teaching of gifted children. In 2020 Harriet completed an action research project in her classroom to develop inquiry based learning in Mathematics to improve differentiation strategies so that all students could access challenging problem solving in mathematics. Harriet is now exploring how to use inquiry based learning in other Key Learning Areas in 2021.
Harriet has strong leadership qualities. While being an excellent team player who works well with her colleagues, she also has confidence to speak out when required. Her presentations at staff meetings on strategies that are working in her classroom are always well received. Harriet has shown wisdom in spending the first years of her career developing consistently high standards of teaching and learning, but as opportunities arise, it is becoming clear that she has strong leadership potential.