To all our valued ACEL New South Wales Members,

A highlight each year for the Australian Council for Educational Leaders NSW South Wales Branch (ACEL NSW) is the annual presentation of Fellowships and leadership awards. It is through these awards that ACEL NSW honours educational leaders who have made a significant contribution to education, educational leadership and the improvement of child or student learning outcomes, teacher professional practice and/or effectiveness.

ACEL NSW 2020 Award Recipients:

ACEL NSW Dr Paul Brock Memorial Medal
The ACEL NSW Paul Brock Memorial Medal is awarded to a prominent educational leader who has significantly impacted educational direction and achievement. The recipient will also have demonstrated the values of social justice in making a substantial contribution to evidence informed policy, practice and research.

Professor Deb Hayes

Professor Deb Hayes' research demonstrates her abiding interest in an improved and fairer education for all young people. Her strong transdisciplinary research has impacted teachers, and school and system leaders, particularly those seeking to improve the educational achievements of the young people who benefit the least from schooling. As an outstanding educational leader, Deb's influence on pedagogy and leadership, has added significantly to our understanding of the school practices, and system policies, that contribute to, as well as those that limit, young people's outcomes of schooling. Professor Hayes demonstrates the integrity, efficacy, and commitment to social justice that confirm her as a highly worthy recipient of the Dr Paul Brock Memorial Medal.


ACEL NSW Patrick Duignan Award for Leadership
The ACEL NSW Patrick Duignan Leadership Award is given to a NSW or National Fellow of NSW who actively promotes and contributes to ACEL initiatives and activities at local, state and/or national level, and has made a significant, sustained contribution as an exceptional educational leader across one or more areas or organisations.

Vicki Treble

Vicki Treble is an outstanding educational leader. She has been a highly active contributor to the professional learning of preservice, early career and experienced teachers and she has provided significant professional learning for school leaders and executive teams. Her lifelong passion for teaching and commitment to professional learning has been a key driver for improved practice. In conferring the Patrick Duignan award to Vicki, we recognise her exceptional contribution to educational leadership and to ACEL NSW.


ACEL NSW Fellowship
ACEL NSW Fellowships are awarded to members of ACEL who have demonstrated outstanding educational leadership and made a significant impact and contribution over an extended period of time to educational leadership and educational outcomes within their workplace and beyond, e.g. at a local, regional, system, state and/or national level.

Kate English

Kate English has worked in public education as a teacher, executive member, consultant, program director and senior regional leader. She has been instrumental in building the reputation, strength and reach of distance education in rural regional and remote NSW. Her work in this area has grown capacity in developing and delivering learning via distance education technologies that continues to influence current work in this field. She is a worthy recipient of an ACEL Fellowship.

Michael Krawec

Michael Krawec is recognised for his significant contribution to leadership in Catholic education, both through his own actions as a leader and his commitment to building capacity in other leaders. He has made it the work of his career to focus on the needs of students, and to foster their learning and wellbeing in the classrooms and schools for which he has been responsible, and in various volunteer capacities. He is a worthy recipient of the ACEL Fellowship.

Dean White

Dean White is an outstanding leader who has influenced state education policy and the development of both school and system leaders. He has designed and implemented strategies to support teacher and school leadership capacity to improve student learning. He has provided strong leadership and professional learning as Director and Executive Director in metropolitan and rural NSW. He is a strong advocate for ACEL and a worthy recipient of the ACEL Fellowship.


ACEL NSW Leadership Awards
ACEL NSW Leadership Awards are given each year to individual educators or teams of educators who have demonstrated outstanding performance in leading an educational organisation or initiative which has accomplished significant growth in outcomes for children, students and/or teachers, or major cultural change within that organisation or the profession at large.

Ian Bowsher

Ian Bowsher is recognised for outstanding leadership in the field of student wellbeing. He has created innovative programs and systems that have led to significant impact in the lives of students within his school and across the community of schools. Highly regarded and respected within the profession by colleagues, peers and staff, as well as within his school community for his vision and moral purpose, Ian is a worthy recipient of this ACEL Leadership Award.

Damien Carlton

Damien Carlton is an outstanding educational leader. Throughout the 11 years of his principalship at St John Bosco College, Damien has upheld the College values and enhanced the reputation of the school in the local community. His strong leadership has led to consistent growth through the building of a collegial culture in the College community. Damien has shared his insight and expertise with colleague principals across Australasia. He is a worthy recipient of the ACEL Leadership Award.

Larissa Maraga

Larissa Maraga is an exceptional educational leader who has over many years and in many contexts developed other leaders and built teacher quality. Her understanding of the strategic needs of teachers and leaders has enabled cultivated improved teaching and delivered significant student growth. Larissa has worked with teachers and leaders at her school and beyond, providing quality leadership and learning in step with current best practice. She is a worthy recipient of this ACEL Leadership Award.

Lucy McLure

Lucy McLure has demonstrated outstanding educational leadership in leadership roles at Campbelltown Performing Arts High School. She has led action learning teams and the implementation of innovative practices in integrated learning, personalised learning, self and peer assessment and future-focused pedagogies. She has promoted the development of staff capacity, student wellbeing, and the provision of authentic and rigorous learning opportunities for students in the performing arts. She embodies the best qualities we seek in the ACEL Leadership Awards.

Melinda Mestre

Melinda Mestre has demonstrated outstanding leadership both within her faculty and the wider school community. She has led her Science team to develop high quality programs, teaching methods and assessment practices. Beyond the Science faculty she has been generous in sharing her expertise in assessment development, innovative teaching practices, and program writing through professional development workshops and a recently co-authored text book. She clearly merits this ACEL Leadership Award.

John Ralph

John Ralph is a proud Gumbayngirr Nation – Nambucca Heads man. He is a strong and visionary leader of Gawura (an Indigenous school within a school) at St Andrew’s Cathedral College. His leadership has changed the face of education for his Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.. His hard work and determination has led to major cultural change within Gawura, and hence to significant growth in outcomes for students. He is a worthy recipient of the ACEL Leadership Award.

Tania Riley

Tania Riley’s outstanding leadership of authentic and targeted professional learning has built the capabilities of educational leaders and resulted in genuine accountability and ownership for learning across all levels within the Department of Education. A genuine passion for inclusivity has driven Tania to ensure all stakeholders are involved in the process of change through building a culture of constant reflective practice, evaluation and review. Tania is a worthy recipient of the ACEL Leadership Award.

Amy Sackville

Amy Sackville is an exemplary educator whose leadership has empowered both students and teachers. She has a commitment to personalised learning through the provision of targeted programs, building connectedness and innovative curriculum pathways. She is motivated by a strong moral purpose, ensuring that we prepare students for what the Department of Education Strategic Plan describes as “rewarding lives as engaged citizens in a complex and dynamic society” . We are pleased to present Amy with this ACEL Leadership Award.

Susan Tickle

Susan Tickle, is a passionate public school advocate who demonstrates outstanding educational leadership. She is committed to building the capacity of all educators through her energy, expertise and strategic insights for whole school growth and strengthened student learning. She mentors beginning teachers and prioritises targeted, differentiated professional learning for all staff. Beyond her own school, Susan has successfully led educational initiatives regionally in both Gifted Education and Aboriginal Education. Susan clearly merits this ACEL Leadership Award.

Jake Tonkin

Jake Tonkin is an exceptional leader of professional learning communities which work towards evidence-based pedagogy. He inspires a growth mindset among colleagues through his facilitation of transformative professional learning in his own school and beyond, where he focuses on quality teaching practices and cultures of thinking. His digital programs and databases facilitate a systemic culture of data-driven teaching and learning. We are pleased to recognise Jake with this ACEL Leadership Award this evening.

St Agnes Catholic High School Year 7 Literacy Team

The Year 7 Visible Literacy Team at St Agnes Catholic High School has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the achievement of significant literacy improvements for their students. Team leaders have contributed to educational leadership by presenting their learning at both National Literacy Conferences, and as guest speakers at Visible Literacy conferences. All the resources they have created, including the Visible Literacy Continuum, and its supporting materials, are freely shared with over 40 schools and literacy educators Australia-wide.

Canley Heights Public School Curiosity & Powerful Learning Team

The outstanding leadership of the Curiosity and Powerful Learning team is based on their shared vision. The team have led from the inside out, building on bright spots, supporting change and continually readjusting practices. This has led to deep conceptual and powerful change; learning and teaching practices have greatly strengthened and students, teachers and the wider community have a new thirst for learning and growth. The team clearly merits this ACEL Leadership Award.


ACEL NSW Mary Armstrong Award for Early Career Teacher Leadership
ACEL NSW Mary Armstrong Awards for Early Career Teacher Leadership are given each year to educators in the first five years of their professional career who have demonstrated outstanding educational leadership and commitment linked to one or more initiatives within and/or beyond their organisation, consequently making a significant difference to child or student learning, teacher professional practice or organisational effectiveness.

Lucy Birts

Lucy Birts has demonstrated passionate educational leadership in the field of Gifted Education and plays a significant role in many initiatives within and beyond her own school community. She has made a significant difference to student learning and engagement across K-6 as well as to teacher professional practice through developing best practice teaching stratagems based on research. We are delighted to be able to present her with a 2020 Mary Armstrong Award.

Olivia Havelka

Olivia Havelka is an exemplary classroom teacher and inspirational leader whose actions promote the best in pedagogy. Olivia is the Year 1 coordinator, co-leader of the Inspiring Innovators team at the school, and has led the launch of both an Industry and Community Partnership program, and the school’s Multi-Faith Room She regularly leads professional learning sessions to build capacity both within and beyond her own school. We are delighted to be able to present her with a 2020 Mary Armstrong Award.

Glenn Lawless

Glenn Lawless is an outstanding classroom practitioner and educational leader, particularly in the areas of gifted and talented education and STEM programs. His influence extends beyond his own school to the broader school network. His well developed interpersonal skills allow him to build strong relationships across the school community, fostering highly effective family-school and community partnerships. He is deeply respected by his colleagues. We are delighted to be able to present him with a 2020 Mary Armstrong Award.

Jaylee Love

Jaylee Love is an exemplary classroom practitioner, English stage coordinator and Year 8 Wellbeing Advisor. She has demonstrated innovation in her classroom with key contributions to the Stage 4 Integrated curriculum and HSC English. She uses evidence informed practices and works collaboratively to lead initiatives to improve student learning outcomes and to build a positive rapport with colleagues, students and the community. We are delighted to be able to present her with a 2020 Mary Armstrong Award.


 Thank you,