PASS Awards - 2018

2018 PASS Awards


We are pleased to announce the results from last Friday night’s PASS Awards. 


Once again, a spectacular night with an opening address from Hon James Merlino, Deputy Premier, Minister for Education and Minister for Emergency Services followed by dancing to the melodious tones of The Headmasters Apprentices. 


Over 200 people from specialist schools all over Victoria were in attendance for the prestigious event at Marvel Stadium.  PASS received approximately 60 nominations for the various categories and the judging panels had a very difficult task selecting shortlisted nominees and eventual winners. 


Congratulations to all for the fantastic work you do each and every day in all specialist schools across Victoria.  Thank you to our fantastic sponsors, Bank First, ANZUK and the Department of Education & Training, who, without their support, this night wouldn’t be possible


The Most Outstanding Education Support Staff Award-DET


The shortlisted nominees were

  • Alan Cady-Ellis, Naranga School
  • Sandra Doody, Echuca Specialist School
  • Rosie Richmann, Springvale Park SDS


Congratulations to Alan Cady-Ellis, Naranga School.


Sometimes it’s the little things that count. The things that go unnoticed that make all the difference to others. The things that show that somebody cares. Those things that foster self-esteem and that show positivity and pride. Those things that take little more than the shortest amount of time to complete, but very few find the time to do. That’s the way that Alan Cady-Ellis has contributed and continues to contribute to the staff, students, and community of Naranga School.


In football talk, it’s those one-percenters that are immeasurable, but are invaluable to the esprit de corps and the greater school success. Alan’s sustained support to staff and students for over 25 years is truly outstanding. He tends to the school buildings and grounds without question, without expectancies, or the seeking of kudos. He willingly develops the learning of other staff in attaining their bus licenses and school projects. He mentors students and assists them with their work education programs.


His altruistic tendencies and generosity extend to an annual award for students in financial need in his namesake, the ACE award. The role of an Education Support staff member can be thankless, demanding, underappreciated, and often unrecognised. Any and all ES who go above and beyond their regular duties are deserved of recognition and praise. Alan truly shows his care, compassion, and humility in supporting those most in need. He is truly worthy of the label of “Outstanding”.


Congratulations, Alan. What you do truly matters and means more than what will ever be conveyed back to you. Well done.


The Most Outstanding Graduate Teacher – DET


The shortlisted nominees were

  • Filbert Bacus, Naranga School
  • Darcee Brown, Barwon Valley School
  • Lesley-Ann Mouritz, Echuca Specialist School


Congratulations Lesley-Ann Mouritz, Echuca Specialist School.


Lesley-Ann has excelled as a graduate teacher at Echuca Specialist School and has incorporated High Impact Teaching Strategies in her classroom.  She sets high standards for her students and provided appropriate challenges for the individuals in her class.  Lesley-Ann plans lessons that incorporate adjustments for content, process and product and teamed with a speech therapist to create assessments tasks where all students were able to display their learning. 


By constantly evaluating evidence on impact Lesley-Ann has created a classroom environment that has met all the learning needs of her students and has provided the greatest opportunity for student outcomes.   


Congratulations Lesley-Ann – not only have you excelled as a graduate teacher you have maximised student learning, demonstrated high level teaching skills and shared information with other teachers including mainstream school staff.



The Most Outstanding Specialist Teacher Award-DET


The shortlisted nominees were

  • Mark Barber, Bayside SDS
  • Geoff Galloway, Melton Specialist School
  • Samuel Kellow (Sam), Kalianna School


Congratulations to Mark Barber, Bayside SDS


Mark introduced and developed ‘Intensive Interaction’, a research-based teaching approach for students with profound levels of intellectual ability.  He has developed Bayside SDS as a national Hub for training and professional development for teachers, ES Staff, Allied Health professionals, parents and family members since 2006. 


He has supports the Bayside SDS CoP and initiative inter-school moderation practises with other schools.


The Most Outstanding Allied Health Staff Award-ANZUK


The shortlisted nominees were

  • Sonya Gregorio, Barwon Valley School
  • Deri Singleton - Swan Hill Specialist School
  • Stephanie Vassallo, Bayside SDS


Congratulations to Deri Singleton, Swan Hill Specialist School


Not only does Deri preform exemplary work across three schools in Swan Hill, her work also extends into the Swan Hill region where she provides advice and professional development to educators and families. 


Within the scope of her work, Deri has opened up communication possibilities for a range of special needs students utilising a broad scope of communication strategies specific to the student.


To achieve this, she has worked with teachers, support staff and the broader Swan Hill community to extend their knowledge of the implementation of highly effective communication strategies for a diverse student population. Deri’s work is also recognised within the northern network of schools.


The Most Outstanding Team Award-ANZUK


The shortlisted nominees were

  • Echuca Specialist School Team
  • Kalianna School Team
  • Naranga School Team


Congratulations to Team Echuca consisting of: Sandra Doody, Joanne Van Egmond, Karen Fuller, Prue Hosking, Sarah Lees, Jamie Logie, Meagan Marshall, Deb Mclaren, Cheryl McDonnell, Hayley Priest, Anne-Maree Prout and Ian Turpin


Congratulations, to the Echuca VACL team for creating inclusive and innovative programs designed around student voice. Students were surveyed on their interests, what they are good at and what they want to learn. Staff and students were matched with a shared passion.

Programs included off and on school campus, incorporating the local community, families and most importantly the student. All aspects of the FISO model where evident in their teaching.


The change was evident by; best practice planning, student selected courses and applied learning. Student voice resulted in students on task more often with fewer incidences and less suspensions.


Staff dedication, commitment, trust, trial, flexibility and error that led to a successful interest-based learning model.


Truly a team effort



The Most Outstanding Primary Teacher Award-Bank First


The shortlisted nominees were

  • Donna Allen, Verney Road School
  • Kristy Hallam, Melton Specialist School
  • Stelio Panayides, Austin Hospital School


Congratulations to Donna Allen, Verney Road School


The Panel unanimously selected Donna Allen as the winner of this award.


Donna has made a significant contribution in improving outcomes for students with a disability, particularly in the area of upskilling all staff members at Verney Road School in the area of Literacy.


As the Literacy Leader, she developed the Verney Road School Writing Moderation Tool, as part of her BASTOW research project, and provided professional learning, and mentoring and coaching to her colleagues.


She has also implemented the 4Block Model which has empowered teachers to gain a greater awareness and understanding of the impact of their teaching for learning outcomes for students.


The Most Outstanding Secondary Teacher Award-Bank First


The shortlisted nominees were

  • Lyndal Hancock, Manor Lakes P-12 College
  • Debbie Ann Johnson, Sale & District Specialist School
  • Brigette Moore, Bendigo SDS


Congratulations to Debbie Ann Johnson, Sale & District Specialist School

Through community partnerships and a Commonwealth Bank Community Grant, Debbie produced a film and printed resources to support the teaching of the Eight Employability Skills.


The aims of the project were to develop a tool consisting of visual and written materials to show case how people with disabilities can be valuable employees and to support future employers of young people with a disability.


This is a valuable resource to teach young people with disabilities about the key skills needed for employment.


The Most Outstanding Leading Teacher Award-Bank First


The shortlisted nominees were

  • Matthew Di Domenica, Austin Hospital School
  • Britt Holmberg, Kalianna School
  • Venessa Sigamoney, Berendale School


Congratulations to Matthew Di Domenica, Austin Hospital School


Matthew is a Team Leader for the Social Education Program at the Austin Hospital School and has co-ordinated the External Education program for the past 3 years.


During this time, he has reinvented the school’s Professional Development program, significantly increasing its delivery to schools in the Melbourne Metro area as well as regional areas across the state.


Matthew has made an outstanding contribution to Special Education in Victoria by educating school staff in understanding those students who struggle with mental health issues stemming from a trauma background. 


The programs he has developed focus on trauma, anxiety, ASD, school disengagement and refusal. The program aims to increase staff understanding of this student cohort, so they are able to give all of their students the best possible chance to engage in a positive and inclusive educational experience. Matthew has worked tirelessly to network with other agencies who use many of the resources and programs developed by him.


 Matthew’s work has a very big impact on some of our most vulnerable students. The learning within this project is relevant to all teachers across Victoria and promotes best practice and sharing of knowledge.



The Most Outstanding Principal Award-Bank First


The shortlisted nominees were:

  • Susan Coull, Naranga School
  • Ashwini Sharma, Yarraville SDS


As Principal of Naranga School from 2011 Sue Coull has led the school community on a student-centred journey from improvement to innovation.


To initiate and embed innovative and sustainable best practice across the school Sue established a strong leadership team to develop a culture of professionalism and accountability and build the capacity of staff to provide high quality teaching practice resulting in improved student outcomes. 


The three-part framework leading to improved practice was SWPBS, Team Teach and restorative practice.  


Sue’s advocacy for and commitment to quality education for all students with disabilities is demonstrated through her extensive work with mainstream schools and her state-wide contributions to special education.


School data and practices demonstrate a strong collective focus on student learning, engagement and wellbeing and staff reflections state: “We had no idea how far she would take us and how proud we would become of our school.”


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