New England teaching staff honoured for dedication to work

THREE New England regional teaching staff have been recognised for top service to public education, among them a furniture support officer and two teachers from Tamworth and Inverell. 

John Etheridge, a furniture support officer from the department’s asset management unit; Lee Preston, principal of Tamworth Public School; and Deborah Snaith, head teacher of agriculture at Macintyre High School in Inverell, were presented with awards by NSW Department of Education and Communities director-general Michele Bruniges in Sydney on Tuesday.

They are winners of the Director-General’s Award for Excellent Service to Public Education.

The three joined 27 others from across the state at the presentation.

“They are outstanding examples of the dedication of staff who work in and with schools and TAFE colleges in this state,” Dr Bruniges said.

She said the awards were given to individuals whose efforts had led to improvements to the teaching and learning environments at their school, institute or regional or state office and/ or to student learning outcomes. 

“That commitment is a wonderful reflection of the dedication and expertise that educators, departmental staff, parents and community volunteers bring to public education and training every day,” she said. 

Mr Etheridge’s citation said he had “earned the respect of colleagues by providing a service of the highest quality”. 

“He has supported 124 schools across a huge geographical area and is courteous in all his dealings with staff and is prompt to respond to inquiries,” the citation read. 

Mr Preston’s award was for an “exceptional principal” whose “leadership has seen the school enhance its community standing across the district for academic, sporting and cultural pursuits”.

“Mr Preston has high standards that permeate across the school community. His professional manner, attention to detail, visible school presence, attendance at school events and high expectations result in a happy workplace and a thriving, proud school community,” the citation read.

Mrs Snaith was awarded for her “commitment to the development of the school farm and the provision of opportunities for students to develop practical skills and knowledge in the preparation and showing of cattle”.

“Deborah devotes hours of her own time to working with students, arranging excursions and taking them to agricultural shows,” the citation read. 

Nominations are taken from the ranks of teachers in primary, secondary public schools or in TAFE colleges or campus, from principals, regional or state office curriculum consultants, administrators, school or TAFE  administrative and support staff, parents, community volunteers or the public.

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