About the Recognition of Service ceremony

The Recognition of Service ceremony is an annual event that recognises and celebrates dedication, loyalty and longevity of service to the Department of Education.

Service recognition is awarded at a state level each year for staff who have achieved 40 years, 45 years, 50 years, 55 years and, in some cases, 60 years of service. Regional offices coordinate service recognition ceremonies for staff who have achieved 35 years of service.

Unfortunately, due to the impact of current COVID-19 restrictions, the 2021 Recognition of Service presentation ceremony will not proceed on Sunday 12 September.

All service recognition recipients for 2021 have now been notified of this change.

Please scroll down to view the 2021 Recognition of Service Honour Roll and a series of videos featuring some of the service recognition recipients from this year.

The Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, the Hon. James Merlino MP, also recorded this special message to congratulate the 2021 Recognition of Service recipients on their exceptional career milestone.

Audio transcript

The Hon. James Merlino Deputy Premier Minister for Education

Hello everyone. The Recognition of Service presentation ceremony is one of my favourite events. It recognises teachers, principals, administrators and policy makers who have served in public education for 40, 45, 50, 55 or even 60 years.

This year, we celebrate 342 of these special people – the stayers of Victoria’s state education system. Thank you so much for your commitment and service. I’m very sorry we can’t meet in person.

The global pandemic has required us to accept a huge amount of change. What hasn’t changed one bit is my respect for all of you. You’ve nurtured generations of Victorians. And you have supported your students through many weeks of remote and flexible learning. Thank you. I’m in awe of your knowledge and wisdom.

One of the teachers being recognised this year is Deborah Patterson of Mill Park Heights Primary School. She is a member of the ‘class of 1975’ and features in a lovely video about this year’s recipients. I’m told that Deborah has the same passion for teaching now as she did when she started 45 years ago.

Bruce Kearney, a member of the ‘class of 1980’, is the principal at Reservoir West Primary School. His skill as a teacher – and his spectacular mullet – made such an impact on one student that she wrote an essay about him in The Age. The essay said Bruce made students feel capable, confident and acceptable. I see Bruce has lost his mullet but not his empathy!

Great teachers encourage students to find their voice and follow their dreams. Congratulations on your long careers. Education is a noble profession, which changes lives.

During your careers, you will have made a real impact on the lives of people who are now adults with their own careers. And just like I remember the teachers who had a real impact on my life, there will be people for whom you have been that teacher.

Thank you, again, for your commitment to public education. Well Done.



To contact the Recognition of Service team email service.recognition@edumail.vic.gov.au.