Awarded to Jo-Anne Drayton, Head Teacher, English Hornsby Girls’ High School

The purpose of this award is to recognise an outstanding teacher of secondary English in NSW who has a demonstrated commitment to excellence in teaching and learning in subject English.

Jo-Anne’s citation reads:

Ms Jo-Anne Drayton is an exceptional English educator who has extensive knowledge and understanding of all aspects of the English curriculum and the creative practicalities of its effective delivery to students. She embodies the joy of teaching and learning, and her inspiring enthusiasm is a prime motivating factor for her students and staff.

Chris Cawsey (President SPC), Dr Paul Brock, Dr Jackie Manuel (Syd Uni), Jo-Anne Drayton, Michael Coutts-Trotter (D-G NSWDET)

Ms Drayton’s teaching approaches are student-centred and innovative, drawing out her students’ creative capacities, constantly probing, challenging and extending their imaginative capabilities. She continually implements stimulating and engaging strategies which cater to the needs, abilities and aspirations of her students. Her classroom climate is cooperative and collaborative, while at the same time promoting students’ independent learning and individual growth. She is resolutely committed to the values, creative discipline and sense of personal worth which the study and practice of English can impart to all students. She seeks to develop and refine the students’ knowledge and appreciation of English for its own sake, as well as fulfilling the required syllabus outcomes.

Ms Drayton sensitively utilises the diverse cultural backgrounds which her students bring to their studies, integrating intercultural issues into cohesive concepts to advance their learning. She treats all students as individuals, and provides ongoing personalised feedback which encourages them to reflect upon the nature of their own learning and how it might be further developed.  In the more formal aspects of assessment and reporting, Ms Drayton’s procedures and processes are exemplary, and her students’ results are excellent.

Ms Drayton demonstrates communication and interpersonal skills of the highest order. Without exception her students attest to her delightful sense of humour and to the supportive and positive classroom atmosphere which they find so conducive to their learning. They express the greatest affection for her as a teacher, mentor and personal confidante.

Ms Drayton remains strongly committed to her own professional learning, continually seeking to extend the intellectual quality and rigour of her teaching and always endeavouring to improve her personal skills and expand her professional knowledge. She uses her assessment of student outcomes to evaluate and reflect upon the effectiveness of her own teaching, to inform her classroom strategies and practices, and to revise her teaching and learning programs as appropriate.  These are the characteristics of a true professional.

She is a superb role model for other teachers and for her students. Her commitment to the highest personal and professional standards is unquestioned. Her integrity, compassion, respect for others, and adherence to ethical principles is unwavering. Her common sense, astute judgment, and consistent fairness are exemplified every day, and valued by all around her.

As English Head Teacher at Hornsby Girls High School, Ms Drayton is an inspirational leader to her own staff and to other teachers across the state. Over a long period she has willingly conducted many professional learning activities to share her expertise with her peers.  Her admirable personal qualities and the excellence of her collegial approaches to professional development have earned her the enduring respect and friendship of her colleagues at all levels.  For the past four years she has been the NSW Board of Studies Supervisor of Marking for English Paper 1 Section III of the Higher School Certificate Examination, a role which she has fulfilled in an outstanding manner and with the utmost professionalism.

Ms Drayton is an exceptional leader and educator: her commitment and dedication to excellence in public education over 30 years continues to inspire her colleagues and transform the lives of her students.

August 27th, 2010

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