The 2017 CHOOSEMATHS Awards were presented in Melbourne on August 31, recognising students and teachers from around the country.
The Teacher Awards acknowledge Australia’s most engaging and innovative maths teachers dedicated to fostering student achievement, enjoyment and potential. With categories for Outstanding Primary Teacher, Outstanding Secondary Teacher and Mentoring Girls in Mathematics, the awards celebrate teachers who passionately communicate the beauty of mathematics and empower students to succeed.
Congratulations to all the 2017 winners!
Mentoring Girls in Mathematics
Newton Moore Senior High School, WA
As Head of Mathematics, Ashley has provided sustained support and mentorship to both students and colleagues at Newton Moore Senior High School. Traditional teaching approaches fail to engage the school’s large population of Indigenous students. Ashley realised these students, many of whom are Noongar boys and girls, learn best through interactive activities. Reflective of these insights and the diverse abilities across the school, she implemented a Year 8 engineering course. The success of this initiative has seen similar courses rolled out across all year groups.
Having encouraged students to enter the Mathematical Modelling Challenge, this year Ashley encouraged the entry of Newton Moore’s first all-girls team. With three teams in 2017, the school was among only seven schools in Australia to have this many teams compete. As well as driving innovative STEM programs, Ashley has led the integration of new technologies and teacher mentoring to enhance learning and student engagement.
Newton Moore Senior High School, WA
Outstanding Primary Teacher
Epping North Public School, NSW
It seems fitting that Keith’s journey began in the classroom, where the passion and enthusiasm of a great teacher led to a love of learning. Now, over two decades into his own teaching career, he is on a mission to teach maths in an engaging and accessible way that excites his students. At Epping North Public School, learning is given real-world context through classroom-industry engagement and links to environmental science, current events and data.
Students engage in a wide range of mathematical concepts through a combination of inquiry-based learning, digital platforms and outreach. As well as initiatives such as a Financial Literacy program, Keith’s achievements include leadership of the school’s participation in the Elevate project and establishment of a Tournament of Minds team. Beyond the classroom, he is drawing on his deep understanding of Australian and international education to inspire a new generation of educators through lectures and personal development sessions.
Epping North Public School, NSW
Outstanding Secondary Teacher
St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School, QLD
Patricia knows mathematics is her students’ golden ticket to future employability. This underscores her unwavering commitment to fostering a love of mathematics in girls at St Aidan’s. As Head of Mathematics, she has led high-level mathematics and overall classroom results. Her innovative and adaptive teaching approaches ensure relevance and incorporation of technology to facilitate student engagement and understanding. Her enrichment and outreach programs draw on ‘Old Girls’ networks as avenues to incorporate powerful female mentorship into classroom learning.
With a focus on adapting content delivery to student understanding, her innovative teaching methods draw on problem solving, modelling approaches and provision of real-world context. University and industry collaboration and access to external outreach and enrichment activities have deepened student engagement. Patricia’s ongoing investment in improving teacher practices and empowering her colleagues underscores her leadership. A field leader, the impact of her engagement within the mathematical and education communities extends beyond the classroom.
St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School, QLD
Australian Science & Mathematics School, SA
Vanessa loves those light-bulb moments when learning falls into place: those flashes of understanding as students apply mathematical concepts and techniques to solve problems. As the school’s Girls and STEM coordinator she is challenging gender stereotypes and running a Professional Learning Community to foster engagement of girls. A prolific maths champion, she has led the design of innovative and engaging maths activities to deepen engagement and linkages to real-world applications.
The success of her popular maths clubs has necessitated caps on membership and seen students transfer to the school. As well as outreach such as quiz nights, she works with girls of all ages to empower learning. In one example, a group of struggling Year 12 students embraced growth learning under her mentorship to achieve distinctions. A respected leader, her connections across the mathematical community have deepened collaboration with both colleagues and the scientific community to strengthen collaborative learning approaches.
Turner School, ACT
A champion of maths, Sam’s genuine passion opens its wonders, curiosities and joy to students, colleagues and parents. When he teaches everyone wants to be part of his lessons. As 5/6 Team Leader and Numeracy Coach Sam has transformed mathematics for the Turner School community. Project learning has provided real-world 21st century context, incorporating technology platforms and resources to empower students and encourage their love for exciting and innovative mathematics. Bringing industry into the classroom, he has led the establishment of initiatives such as STEM clubs, a biennial STEM Festival, and participation in opportunities such as the Statistical Society of Australia’s poster competition.
His mentorship has built the knowledge and capacity of his colleagues, encouraging innovative practice and a shift to inquiry- learning approaches to maximise student engagement and learning outcomes. His involvement in a range of education and mathematics organisations has deepened the school’s engagement with the Australian mathematical community.
Chatham High School, NSW
Inspired to enter teaching by his own positive schooling experiences, Anthony soon found himself on a detour as he dabbled in engineering and scientific research. Eventually, however, his passion for maths brought him back to the idea of teaching. His strong understanding of scientific and industry mathematical application has served to enhance his delivery and student engagement at Chatham High School.
Taking a flipped classroom approach for HSC Extension 2 Mathematics course delivery, Anthony invested over 300 hours creating tailored course aligned videos. Integration of multimedia resources means students can self-pace learning at home and use class time to consolidate and deepen their understanding.
More recently, Anthony has turned his attention to leading the development of the Mathematics Teacher mentoring program. Aimed at first-time extension maths teachers, the program fosters confidence and content knowledge and has delivered significant benefits in the classroom. His work continues to transform learning at Chatham High School.
St Patrick’s Primary School Wangaratta, Vic
Amanda’s passion for mathematics and empowerment of girls inspires her students to be their best. Tailoring content delivery to student ability, she draws on a combination of interactive and abstract approaches and digital technology to enhance learning and provide real-world context. From nurturing the exceptional to fostering confidence in those yet to realise their potential, she has impacted mathematical engagement through both ‘Adding to Numeracy Thinking’ (ANT), and the Able Gifted and Talented Program.
Beyond the classroom, Amanda equips parents to consolidate learning at home through engagement with real-life maths. Inspired by student achievement she is continuously striving to push boundaries and develop engaging and challenging content. Many of her colleagues have benefitted from her mentorship, as she has helped strengthen mathematics learning and build teacher confidence and capability across St Patrick’s. As well support and guidance, she has provided opportunities for others to observe approaches in her classroom.
Blaxland High School, NSW
An exceptional role model, advocate and mentor, Con’s passion for maths shines through in everything he does in and beyond the classroom. With almost thirty years teaching experience, he has worked extensively with students from disadvantaged and low socio-economic communities. A testament to his extraordinary impact on the Blaxland High community, many of his students have credited his infectious passion for their success and entry into mathematics education.
Following the introduction of the school’s Acceleration Mathematics class, Con’s leadership has been instrumental in driving delivery and programming. His powerful advocacy for girls in maths has transformed engagement and enrolments in higher-level mathematics. As well as investing time in enhancing learning at Blaxland High School, Con also provides mentoring and support to colleagues in neighbouring schools. By collaborating and working with others he has worked to deepen their mathematical knowledge and teaching processes for the benefit of students across his local region.
Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Vic
If the many reasons Sally loves her job, variety, learning, creativity and collaboration are a recipe for classroom success, she is head chef. What started as a childhood game has become a passion for empowering girls with a vision of themselves as a mathematician. As Mathematics Coordinator at PLC Junior School, the Cambridge graduate has motivated, encouraged, nurtured and mentored both her students and colleagues.
With fun and dramatic flair, she has implemented a range of maths initiatives to engage girls of all ages, including Maths in Action, House Maths competitions and the establishment of a Week of Inspirational Maths. Her maths assemblies are a rare celebration of the subject and its real-world impact. Leading professional development across PLC Junior School, she has empowered her colleagues with the instructional capacity and resources to bring out the best in their students. Encouraging active reflection, she has refined reporting and encouraged collaboration.
Beth Rivkah Ladies College, Vic
As Head of Teaching and Learning, Elizabeth has led Beth Rivkah College’s response to declining numbers of girls pursuing mathematics into Years 11 and 12. She has implemented a number of initiatives to increase engagement of girls in mathematics in and beyond senior high school. Elizabeth has also developed programs to re-engage students and foster success, scaffolding aims to develop maths appreciation.
A combination of outreach, enrichment activities, competitions and interactive opportunities has enhanced the learning experience. Recognising the value and impact of real-world careers inspiration, Elizabeth introduced a careers presentation panel called Women@Work. Engaging with successful women in STEM has proved a powerful tool to encourage students to continue with mathematics. The careers program’s success has led to its inclusion as a staple on the school’s calendar with record numbers entering into Methods, Specialist, Physics and Computing subjects and students seeing viable careers in these areas.