Meet more Excellence Award finalists

Zoë Carolan of Wantirna College and Jade Hunter of Swan Hill College are two more of your finalists for the Victorian Education Excellence Awards

The 2019 finalists for the Victorian Education Excellence Awards (VEEA) have been announced. These awards recognise outstanding educators dedicated to making positive change across Victoria.

Outstanding Secondary Teacher Finalist

As Leading Teacher at Wantirna College, Zoë Carolan believes that Mathematics is a foundation for all students to be successful at school and in life.

'My previous career as an engineer taught me about the exciting places mathematics can take you,' she said.

'Now, as a teacher, I'm committed to finding ways for students to achieve higher levels of numeracy and to become the best they can be.'

At Wantirna College, students are provided with the opportunity to learn and demonstrate a range of different skills, mapped against a continuum aligned with Victorian Curriculum standards. Working at their own pace and point of entry, they are encouraged to challenge themselves and bridge gaps in their learning.

Zoë has also developed tailored subjects and pathways, including numeracy electives to prepare struggling students for their VCE units, and an advanced core subject to meet the needs of students entering Specialist and Maths Methods, as well as providing the opportunity for some students to study university enhancement subjects. Zoë's reforms have significantly improved the numeracy outcomes of students at Wantirna College, with significant learning growth data reported across year levels.

'I love seeing students at every stage of development improve. Watching their understanding grow is a privilege and a great source of inspiration.'

Excellence in Physical Education and Activity Finalist

Jade Hunter brings a unique sense of purpose to her role as a Physical Education Teacher at Swan Hill College – she attended the school herself 20 years ago and wants her students today to experience the same sense of excitement about a healthy lifestyle that inspired her all those years ago: 'That experience played a huge part in shaping my life and the kind of person I've become.'

In 2017, Jade organised a series of health and wellbeing activities during Mental Health Week. The success of this project inspired her to take further steps to make the school a healthier place.

Her efforts have evolved into the 'Moving Minds' project, a diverse program of activities aimed at building resilience and teaching positive mindsets to students, staff and the community.

Jade is aware of the powerful effect that good role models have in a small community. She sets high standards for herself and strives to be a living example of the physical fitness and positive mindset that she teaches to others.

'Over the last 10 years I have been a positive influence on my students, demonstrating the benefits of a physically active lifestyle and encouraging them to make healthy life choices.'

'The best part of this job is to watch students grow in their confidence and abilities and become healthier – physically, emotionally and socially.'

Celebrating inspirational educators in Victoria

Finalists like Zoë and Jade have helped create the best learning conditions for their students. They are equipped with the knowledge, skills and dispositions to become lifelong learners and engaged citizens who will shape the world around them.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on Wednesday 25 October. Categories include nine school and student outcome awards, and three new specialist awards categories

Winners are awarded professional development grants of up to $25,000 to support their work in schools.

Category award winners are also eligible to win Victoria's top public education prize, the Lindsay Thompson Award for Excellence in Education, and a further $20,000 grant.

The Lindsay Thompson Award for Excellence in Education is awarded to the winner of a School and Student Outcome Award judged to be most outstanding.

Celebrate the finalists of the 2019 Victorian Education Excellence Awards
Recognising the dedication of some of Victoria's most passionate educators