Outstanding Early Career Teachers impress at Lighting the Way Awards Evening

News | Outstanding Early Career Teachers impress at Lighting the Way Awards Evening

Posted 23 November 2017 by Catholic Education in News

Congratulations to Stella Maris, Shellharbour's Siobhan Rooney and St Joseph's, Albion Park's Zachary Ellul for winning CEDoW's inaugural Outstanding Early Career Teacher Awards.

Siobhan and Zachary took out the top gongs in their field at the 2017 Lighting the Way Faith and Learning Awards Evening for the energy and commitment they've demonstrated in their first years of primary teaching and secondary teaching, respectively.

Siobhan Rooney

CEDoW Early Career Teacher Support Officer, Sherryn Moore, presented both recipients with their awards, starting with Siobhan:

"Siobhan Rooney commenced teaching at Stella Maris Catholic Primary School, Shellharbour in 2015. In such a short period of time she has earned herself the reputation of being an outstanding educator, who goes above and beyond to support students to achieve their very best learning outcomes," she said.

"She develops learning opportunities that resonate brilliantly with the students and result in the students always being actively involved in learning. She designs daily learning experiences using technology that are both engaging and meaningful...and regularly explores ways to improve her teaching and focusing on maximising learning outcomes for all students."

In her short time at Stella Maris, the Year 5 teacher has contributed to the school's Sacramental Preparation Programs, Gifted & Talented Program and yearly Christmas concerts and Christmas Story Art Competition entries. She's introduced Project Based Learning (PBL) units into teaching practice, and implemented the "Letters and Sounds" Program into classrooms as part of a whole-school initiative, resulting in increased spelling results for students across the school.

As leader of Information and Communication Technologies at the school, Siobhan developed a three-year ICT plan for the school and has coordinated the 1:1 Stage 3 iPad program, cyber safety education and the formulation of responsible use policies and procedures. She's also introduced a school-wide focus on STEM activities, including the organisation of a whole school STEM day and lunchtime activities for interested students and a K-6 STEM Competition.

Congratulations Siobhan, on being named the Outstanding Early Career Teacher - Primary for 2017!


Zachary Ellul

Ms Moore went on to announce Zachary as second recipient of the Award, commending him on his efforts as a young Science Teacher at St Joseph's Catholic High School, Albion Park:

"Zachary has managed all the challenges that beginning teachers face in their first year out superbly, especially considering he's done this for a subject area outside of his [PD/H/PE] training...he has committed to developing his knowledge and understanding of the Science syllabus in order to deliver junior science lessons that are of a high quality, contain interesting and relevant learning experiences, and give all students at all academic levels an opportunity to access the content being covered," she said.

In addition to his classroom teaching, Zachary has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to whole-school initiatives. He has volunteered to attend overnight camps and retreats, be involved in pastoral team initiatives, coach sporting teams, and participate in Book Week and St Joseph's Day celebrations. He's managed the judging panel at the Athletics Carnival, run Science workshops at St Joseph's Open Days, and introduced guest speakers at assemblies. 

Zachary's involvement and evident expertise in managing whole-school activities has resulted in him in his short time at St Joseph's, already being approached by the School Executive team to be Sports Organiser - a role he's enthusiastically taken on, managing the running of weekly school sport and organised sporting teams, assisting coaches in the selection of teams, and organised awards, guest speakers, and the overall running of St Joesph's Annual School Sports Awards.

Congratulations Zachary, on being named the Outstanding Early Career Teacher - Secondary for 2017!


Director of Schools, Peter Turner, praised the two recipients of the Outstanding Early Career Teachers Award on the evening for their outstanding achievements in their local school communities. 

"Tonight, we gather together to recognise and promote the value of professional and personal accomplishment in the ministry of teaching and Catholic education," Mr Turner said, "[This] recognition and affirmation for the professional educators and staff who work across our system of schools is essential."

"I commend all of the nominees and congratulate our two recipients of the Outstanding Early Career Teachers Award as most worthy recipients of this prestigious honour and recognition."

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