2020 PASS Awards Press Release

Winners - 2020 PASS Awards

11th December, 2020


Lisa Sette

Outstanding Volunteer Award

Lisa Sette, Jacana School for Autism

(sponsored by Department of Education & Training)

Lisa has been a longstanding school council president at Jacana School for Autism.  Her volunteer work includes raising $45,000 for specialised equipment to furnish a Sensory Modulation Room. Her valuable contribution demonstrates the importance of involving parents and carers in their child’s school. Mutual trust, respect and responsibility for their education contributes to improving learning, health and wellbeing outcomes for all students.


Lisa helped to establish a framework of authentic engagement between parents, carers and the school, as well as creating a schedule of fundraising events that supported both the school and local community to help meet their fundraising target. This was a long term project, requiring 3 years of commitment from the project team.  The fundraising that followed has resulted in the purchase of specialised equipment for Jacana School for Autism’s new Sensory Modulation Room, known to the students as the Climbing Gym.


This project has also raised the awareness in the community of the importance of sensory processing difficulties.  Lisa is a very worthy recipient of this award. Congratulations



Outstanding Education Support Award

Tyler Dempster, Bendigo Special Development School

(sponsored by Department of Education & Training)

Tyler is the successful 2020 PASS Awards Winner for the Most Outstanding Education Support Person.


His commitment to his school staff and team through the innovative development of a series of professional development modules for staff at Bendigo SDS make him the outstanding nominee for this award.


Tyler’s experience, knowledge and skills in the role as a classroom ES working with students with complex needs has allowed him to become a member of Bendigo SDS Leadership team and the co-ordinator of ES across the school. Tyler has coached other ES staff as a mentor and guide. Tyler’s implementation of new processes and the creation of a series of professional development modules at Bendigo SDS has improved the professionalism and focus across the school.


The specialized skills, capacity and confidence of Education Support staff has been dramatically impacted in a positive way due to the implementation of Tyler’s professional development modules. The collective efficacy of staff across the whole school has improved from Tyler’s modules of professional learning and has now even been shared across all schools with Education Support staff in the Greater Bendigo Network. His impact has had a far bigger influence than just within his own school.



Outstanding Graduate Teacher Award

Justin Bennett, Hamlyn Views School

(sponsored by Department of Education & Training)


In his first years of teaching, Justin demonstrated a strong willingness to learn the theoretical understandings of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and been able to apply these to practice in his own classroom and across the school. Justin’s willingness to learn demonstrated high levels of professional learning and being a reflective practitioner.


Justin demonstrated a deep commitment to his students and aligned to the vision of Hamlyn Views School, to role modelling best practice and supporting other staff in the school to have a consistent and clear understanding of UDL that contributed to embedding the schools instructional framework.  Justin’s enthusiasm and willingness to learn more about UDL has helped him build his knowledge and he has been able to effectively combine aspects of this with SWBS and structured teaching to transform his learning environment and manage complex behaviours both in his classroom and also across the middle years team.


With his own initiative, Justin worked with the ICT leader to develop a series of interactive learning tasks for remote learning that focused on UDL, this supported students across the whole school during remote learning and also when students returned onsite, it increased student engagement, attendance and improved learning outcomes.


Justin also worked well above his roles and responsibilities’ of a graduate teacher and used his new learning and knowledge to step up into an assistant PLC leader role, where he has built strong report and respect from his colleagues and constantly receives positive feedback on his ability to explore data and evidence based interventions to support inclusive education.



Outstanding Specialist Teacher Award

Clare Redenback, Waratah SDS

(sponsored by ANZUK)


Clare has evidenced her commitment to special education through her development from volunteer, Educational Support person to teacher training and Special Education qualification. She has implemented a range of highly effective and engaging physical education programs as a specialist teacher and a member of the multi-disciplinary team at Waratah SDS, over a number of years.


In addition to her regular and ongoing implementation of an exceptional program, Clare’s contribution to student learning, health, fitness and wellbeing throughout the remote learning period was outstanding.  She was able to successfully transition her physical education programs to an online platform that was easily accessible for students and their families. The impact of her programs was evident in the number of students and families who engaged with her online programs and the positive community feedback provided.


Clare makes an ongoing outstanding contribution to the Victorian special education community through her daily specialist program and her contribution to the whole school community.  She clearly demonstrates her extended commitment through her links with tertiary institutions in support of their special education courses.  Well done Clare!



Outstanding Team Award

Eastern Ranges School Therapy Team

(sponsored by ANZUK)


The scope of the work the therapy team at Eastern Ranges School have implemented has had an impact on all students


Providing a wide range of programs across the school and ensuring staff, families and students are supported within each program reflects a highly collaborative and effective therapy team.


The team clearly assessed and understood the varied needs of the students at the school and tracked data to ensure the chosen programs were having an impact.


The PASS Awards Judging Panel acknowledge the significant impact this work has had on students and families across the school and in particular the inclusive nature of the approach, ensuring all students are supported to achieve the highest level of engagement in their learning. 



Outstanding Primary Teacher Award

Lacey Pietsch, Hamlyn Views School

(sponsored by Bank First)


In 2019 Lacey learned the inner workings of COMPASS and worked with leadership to create reporting cycles and whole school schedules for 2020.


Through Lacey’s initiatives, she lead staff through the use of school wide ICT and supports an increased understanding of use of SEESAW, COMPASS and Cloud based  software.


In March 2020, when COVID-19 began impacting the ability to teach face to face, Lacey was able flexibly utilize and adapt her existing skills to support the whole team to pivot to remote learning.  Lacey worked onsite with the leadership team to ensure all staff and students had access to devices and internet.  Staff were upskilled in the use of SEESAW learning activities and technical support was provided when required all the while managing to provide remote learning and support to her own class of students and families.


Lacey’s work in ICT ensured that all student’s at Hamlyn Views School accessed remote learning and  had the required resources. Parents were supported to learn how to use devices or programs and this made home learning accessible and engaging for many students. Parents also expressed the positive impact of WebEx sessions in supporting them to support their child with learning.


On behalf of the PASS Awards Judging Pane, we would like to Congratulate Lacey Pietsch on receiving the “2020 Outstanding Primary Teacher Award”



Outstanding Secondary Teacher Award

Miranda Milburn, Waratah SDS

(sponsored by Bank First)


Through the implementation of a targeted program of instruction, Miranda has had a significant impact on developing the independence skills of secondary age students at Waratah SDS.  Miranda’s outstanding ability, initiative and leadership skills have seen her team re-engage students in their classroom program resulting in an unanticipated growth in their skills and a reduction in their reliance on adult prompts.


Through the effective use of coaching, team teaching, and targeted professional development, Miranda has been able to share her strong practice and enhance the teaching practices of her colleagues at Waratah SDS. Her reach into other classrooms has seen a positive impact on the learning progress of a number of Waratah students.  Miranda should be congratulated for her initiative, passion and commitment to the students within her school.



Outstanding Leading Teacher/ Learning Specialist Award

Congratulations Barb Johnstone, Bendigo SDS

(sponsored by Bank First)


Barb has been instrumental in using the PLC inquiry process, especially the use of data, to increase teacher professional learning and reflection.


This has in turn driven and supported student outcomes.  Congratulations Barb



Outstanding Principal Award

Jenny Wallace, Waratah SDS

(sponsored by Bank First)


Jenny Wallace led the creation of a holistic approach to teaching and learning for students with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities drawing on evidence based practice.


This approach was developed over a 3 year period at the school level and then it was made available to the wider education community.


At a regional and state level Jenny:

  • Lead forums with other Specialist Schools
  • Supported and implemented Centres of Expertise
  • Worked within the local network in Communities of Practice


This led to the implementation of the Multi-Tiered system of support. With the implementation of Centres of Expertise Waratah SDS staff under Jenny’s leadership supported mainstream colleagues to build their capacity and enhance student learning outcomes.




This year's awards was conducted virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions.

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