Australian Sustainable Schools Alliance (AuSSA)

The Australian Association for Environmental Education has taken the lead in coordinating the network that supported the Australian Sustainable School Initiative (AuSSI) from 2001 - 2011. The decision was made, by this group, to broaden the original National Environment Education Network (NEEN) made up of representation from all states and territories Environment Department. With the inclusion of national program providers that support schools in orientating their curriculum to action sustainability this group now collaborates on shared goals of increasing the uptake of the Sustainability Cross Curriculum Priorities by educators from early years through to tertiary sectors.

AuSSA Network objectives

  • To link, learn and share across Sustainable Schools programs in Australia
  • To foster a closer working relationship between AAEE and the AuSSi programs
  • To encourage best practice for Sustainable Schools programs across Australia
  • To foster a combined voice when talking to the Australian government to support AuSSi
  • Undertake combined activities across the AuSSi network

The Australian Sustainable Schools Alliance - Teacher of the Year Recognition Award

This award recognizes the nominated teachers from each Australian State and Territory Sustainable Schools program.

This provides an opportunity to highlight the amazing contribution teachers make to our sustainability journey in Australia. Each Sustainable School program was asked to put forward a nominee to be recognized as an outstanding Sustainable Schools Teacher from their State or Territory.

AuSSA Teacher Award recognition criteria.

  • demonstrates sustainability leadership
  • leading sustainability activities in schools including addressing sustainability as a cross-
  • curricula priority in the Australian Curriculum mentoring student leadership in sustainability
  • leading engagement with the school and broader community
  • leading campus innovations with best practice methods & standards on school grounds

AuSSA Teacher Award Booklet 2020

We have great pleasure in presenting the Inaugural AuSSA Teacher Award for 2020. Each teacher was nominated the Sustainable Schools network in the state or territory. The school they work in was asked to present a certificate and the booklet of all recipients achievements.

We encourage you to read the complete submission about each of these outstanding educators achievements for their schools and communities in this booklet.

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY Jointly nominated by AAEE ACT and ACT Smart Schools Program

Tarun Whan - Caroline Chisholm School

Tarun Whan, known as Mr Taz, is a Science and Digital Technology teacher who arrived at Caroline Chisholm School in 2016. The Sustainability Squad consists of 12 students that strive to create positive change for sustainability in our school community. Under his leadership they won ACT Smart Schools’ Student Leadership Team Award in 2019. As a consequence of Tarun and the Squad communicating data and research results, sustainability issues are now viewed with importance and are an agenda item at school board and P&C council meetings.

NEW SOUTH WALES Nominated by AAEE NSW managing Sustainable Schools NSW program

David Giblin, Chifley College, Bidwill Campus

David Giblin is Science and Agriculture at Chifley College, Bidwill Campus since 2007. During this time, he has embedded Agriculture as a key subject at our school with up to a quarter of our students participating in the subject. He has taken what was a rundown facility and effectively rebuilt the resource so that it is a model of, not only Agriculture teaching, but the teaching of sustainability. In 2016 the school farm was nominated with the Department of Education, Futures Directorate, as a classroom of the future due to the strong focus on sustainability.

QUEENSLAND Nominated by Sustainable Schools Network Queensland

Erin Merrin, All Saints Anglican School Gold Coast

As the Chairperson of the Sustainable Schools Network Limited, Erin Merrin has made a significant contribution to Education for Sustainability. Erin is a founding member of the SSN and has been a part of the development of this organisation. As both an AAEE member and the SSN Board Erin is demonstrating her ongoing passion and commitment for all things EfS. An example of Erin’s significant contribution to EfS was her recent presentation to Minister Enoch’s and Minister Grace’s policy advisors. Erin acted as an advocate for many QLD organisations and did so in a professional and dedicated manner. Her School was right behind her allowing her the day off to participate in this process, which demonstrates how she has engaged her employer in the important work she does.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA Nominated by the Green Adelaide Education Team

Laura Carrington, Sustainability Coordinator Golden Grove High School.

Golden Grove High School has a well-established Environ- mental Action Team (EAT), led by the school’s Sustainability Coordinator, Laura Carrington. EAT includes a dedicated team of staff who volunteer their time to engage the school com- munity in a range of sustainability-related projects, students from Student Voice who are passionate about the environ- ment and members of outside agencies such as KESAB and Green Adelaide. The school’s vision is to have an educated and informed school community that recognises that they have a moral responsibility (personally and collectively) for the environment that motivates action through knowledge and respect for the environment around us.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA Nominated by the Green Adelaide Education Team

Mary-Alice Williams, Allenby Gardens Primary School.

Mary-Alice, the Reception teacher, provides inspiration to other teachers in the way she uses the school garden as an adaptable learning space. She plans garden activities to align with curriculum outcomes that meet student learning needs. Other teachers have adopted this approach, viewing the garden as a place where student learning and wellbeing can be fulfilled. Cross-curriculum priorities, in particular, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures and Sustainability are a focus. Garden activities that link to the curriculum include exploring, digging and planting. The students discuss the learning intentions so that expectations of the tasks are clear.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA Nominated by the Green Adelaide Education Team.

Sandy Warner, Port Elliot Primary School.

Sandy takes a leadership role with sustainability at Port Elliot Primary School. She has coordinated Student Speak Summits at the school for last two years, focussing on sustainability issues including climate change and biodiversity, and has included two other schools in the event each year. A big part of this is mentoring student leadership, and them having a focus on sustainability, to run the summits. Sandy has led a drive to include sustainability activities in the school across subject areas integrating sustainability as a cross-curricula priority. She worked with other staff to plan and implement planting days with students to revegetate local coastal areas working with the local Coast Protection Officer and Friends of Group.

TASMANIA Nominated by AAEE Tasmania Chapter

Jenny Dudgeon, Sustainability Learning Centre Hobart College

Jenny has had a long career in teaching – she started teaching in 1980 and began an Australian Sustainable Schools job in the mid-2000s. Jenny manages the Sustainability Learning Centre, incorporating Aboriginal education, and Jenny conducts sustainability activities as well, daily. Jenny co-ordinates the Kids4Kids conference every year since 2009, State-wide, with 1000 school participants every year.  This involves the co-ordination of many teachers, student leaders and adult mentors. Jenny is pivotal in AAEE Tas, with the role of president for the past 10 years until 2020. Jenny has had and continues to have roles on AAEE national helping to develop national Sustainability cross-curriculum priorities and assisting in the Early Childhood education sector.

VICTORIA Nominated by VAEE partner organization ResourceSmart Schools Victoria

Loretta Leary, Mount Waverley Primary School

Loretta has led the sustainability program at her school for 19 years. This in itself is worthy of a medal. Loretta has put an impressive range of achievements to her name, leading up to some fabulous new outcomes in 2019 for the  environment and the greater school community. Loretta provided great leadership and mentorship in the EfS Community of Practice. Since becoming Principal of Mount Waverley Primary School I have observed our Environment leader, Loretta Leary both initiate new ideas with regards to environmental education and continue to improve existing programs she had already implemented. Each term Loretta delivers a one hour    professional learning session for teachers which are informative, engaging and continue to lead teachers in their own under- standing of the importance of environmental education.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA Nominated by AAEE WA and Sustainable Schools WA

Elaine Lewis, Coolbinia Primary School

Dr Elaine Lewis is the Cross Curriculum Leader at an independent public school, Perth, Western Australia.  In this role Elaine works collaboratively with school staff to embed the Sustainability Cross Curriculum Priority of the Australian Curriculum across all Learning Areas. She has worked as a teacher K-Year 7, for many years and in 2008 was awarded the de Laeter Medal for “Outstanding Contribution to Science Teaching”. Her research interests focus on Education for Sustainability (EfS), with particular interest in the Sustainable Schools WA initiative. Elaine completed her doctoral research in this area, con- ducting a longitudinal study of the impact of EfS at a primary school. In 2012 Elaine was presented with the national “Educator of the Year” award by the Australian Association for Environmental Education. Then in 2015 and 2017, the United Nations Association of Australia  acknowledged Elaine’s work in school carbon emission reduction action by presentation of the “World Environment Day” Sustainability Awards (Schools category).