Outstanding Primary Teacher Award Finalists

Outstanding Primary Teacher Award Finalists for the Victorian Education Excellence Awards program.

Ruth Chambers, Wonthaggi Primary School

Ruth Chambers’ long-standing commitment to the musical and cultural education of children at Wonthaggi Primary School is made stronger by incorporating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives.

Ruth has developed programs of song and dance that bring Wonthaggi Primary School together to work alongside Senior Boon Wurrung Elder, Aunty Fay Stewart-Muir. Ruth brings in music, language, and games from the Boon Wurrung community. Ruth’s work is joyous, with other teachers keen to learn from the programs that she has developed with students.

Modelling best practice in cultural awareness, Ruth’s approach is enriched by her lived experience of working in Aboriginal communities. Initiating and now leading the Cultural Awareness team, Ruth is supporting staff to embed their knowledge of Koorie perspectives within their classrooms and daily practices.

Ruth’s musical and cultural leadership has created a celebratory engagement with Koorie knowledge at the school that is bringing great joy and new awareness to staff, students, and their families.

Lauren Jeffery, Mooroopna Park Primary School

Since Lauren Jeffery joined Mooroopna Park Primary School in 2022 as their Foundation teacher, the school has seen its highest growth in reading and writing skills for Foundation students.

Implementing well-documented evidence-based and play-based teaching practices in her classroom, Lauren is providing students with opportunities for hands-on numeracy and literacy learning that is building their confidence, fluency, and oral language skills.

Dedicated to teaching literacy to children, Lauren has applied her extensive experience and expert knowledge to mentor staff, provide professional development and lead the implementation of an evidence-based approach to literacy that is positively transforming the school’s instructional model, planning documents and assessment tools.

Working with experienced teachers, new techniques and resources, Lauren’s passion for improving literacy is guiding a whole-school improvement of the ways children learn at the school.

Ashlee Smith, Canterbury Primary School

A highly accomplished educational leader, Ashlee Smith is dedicated to improving confidence and achievement in the learning and teaching of mathematics.

In her dual roles of Learning Specialist and Numeracy Leader at Canterbury Primary School, Ashlee has brought cutting-edge methods, expertise, and leadership that is ensuring the growing success of the school’s numeracy program.

Ashlee’s commitment to student learning is evident through her innovative application of data, current mathematics research, and best practice. Generously sharing her knowledge and expertise, she is fostering a culture of improvement and collaboration among staff that has led to significant improvements in teachers’ mathematics confidence, instructional techniques, and most importantly, school-wide student numeracy outcomes.

Recently, Ashlee’s positive impact on numeracy learning at the school has been extended to system-wide improvement, including her leading of a local mathematics Community of Practice and receiving an invitation to present her work at the 2023 Government Schools Principals Conference.