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Media Release

Educating young Australians for a brighter future

Educating young Australians for a brighter future

Image source: Lisa Young, Teacher at South Kalgoorlie Primary School

12 Australian educators recognised in 2020 Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards

From remote regional towns to major city suburbs, 12 inspiring teachers and school leaders are today being celebrated for their exceptional work in the profession and an unwavering contribution to their pupils, the school and the wider community.

Their extraordinary programs of work include an immersive virtual reality experience to explain chemistry concepts, consulting with local indigenous elders and leaders to implement their language into the school curriculum, and obtaining students’ input on their future subjects so they can be more engaged and find meaningful employment.

The annual Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards, in partnership with national charity Schools Plus, celebrate and reward educators with the aim of inspiring excellent practice in schools across Australia, with a focus on helping to address the education gap in areas of disadvantage around the country.

Nathan Barker, Head of Community Investment at Commonwealth Bank said, “It’s been an extremely challenging start to the year for educators across the country, so with greater reason today, we recognise those who go above and beyond for their students every day.

“The Commonwealth Bank Teaching awards not only honour educators’ incredible work in engaging young minds to learn, but also recognise a dedication to teaching in areas that need it most. Their work has not only made a positive and tangible impact in students’ lives, it has had a ripple effect throughout their schools, families and local communities.”

Now in its fourth year, the awards are one of Australia’s most prestigious prizes for educators. Each recipient will receive a $45,000 fellowship, which includes $10,000 for their own professional development, $25,000 to roll-out a new education project in their school, and participation in an overseas tour to study a high-performing international education system.

Rosemary Conn, Chief Executive Officer of Schools Plus said, “Now, more than ever, the critical role teachers play in our society is clear. These 12 new Teaching Fellows embody the commitment of Australia’s educators to our students. We welcome them to the Fellowship and look forward to giving them a platform to share their practice and ideas on how to change the lives of students, particularly those who are most in need.”

In lieu of an Awards Ceremony this year, teaching fellows will be sent their awards via post. The 2020 Teaching Fellows are:

  • Scott Sleap, Deputy Principal at Cessnock High School, NSW
  • Jacklyn Roberts, Principal at Bakewell Primary School, NT
  • Chris Buswell, Higher Order Thinking Coach, STEM Coordinator Teacher at Mountain Creek State High School, QLD
  • Jay Page, Technology Specialist and Pedagogy Coach at Goodna State School, QLD
  • Sharon Case, Head of Teaching and Learning at Mossman State School, QLD
  • Wendy Goldston, Teacher, Program Coordinator at Frenchville State School, QLD
  • Julie Murphy, Principal at Elizabeth Vale Primary School, SA
  • Scott Dirix, Senior Leader of Alternative Programs at Salisbury East High School, SA
  • Warren Symonds, Principal at Mount Barker High School, SA
  • Jennie Vine, Assistant Principal at Wooranna Park Primary School, VIC
  • Matthew Knight, Principal at Cobram Primary School, VIC
  • Lisa Young, Teacher at South Kalgoorlie Primary School, WA

These 2020 winners will now join 36 alumni from previous years who have been nationally recognised as leaders and experts in their field, and who have made a real difference to their local community.

For more information on the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards visit

Important information

About the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards:

The Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards are run in partnership with Schools Plus. Launched in 2016, the Awards are run annually to recognise and support 12 teachers and school leaders across Australia with a $45,000 Teaching Fellowship.

The Awards form part of Commonwealth Bank’s ongoing commitment to improving Australian education outcomes. Commonwealth Bank and Schools Plus established these because they believe great teachers help children reach their potential. The Awards aim to elevate the teaching profession by recognising outstanding achievement and to inspire other Australian teachers.

About Schools Plus:

Schools Plus is a national charity that helps close the education gap caused by disadvantage, by connecting Australian schools in need with donors who know the value of a good education. Carefully targeted funding allows schools and teachers to give students extra support or to trial new ways to improve learning. More than 4,600 schools across Australia are eligible for tax-deductible donations through Schools Plus.