Toomelah Public School teacher Sharlene Deamer has been celebrated for her excellence in Aboriginal education in NSW public schools at the 17th Nanga Mai Awards.
The awards were presented by the NSW Department of Education and recognise students, school staff and Elders who have made significant contributions in their communities.
Sharlene was among seven dedicated public school staff members and six community leaders and schools who were recognised at the award ceremony held on November 30 at Sydney Opera House.
Thirty academically successful students, confident public speakers, talented performing artists, outstanding sportspeople and student leaders also won awards this year.
Sharlene has dedicated her career to teaching First Nation students at Toomelah Public School.
She has been a constant in the school for students and the community and is highly respected by Elders, students, staff, parents, and community.
Learning the Gomeroi language enabled Sharlene to support the teaching of language.
Through her teaching she helped foster a greater understanding of language and culture in the community.
She has worked with local language speakers to write and deliver language programs and her work at the school has also included planning events including meticulously prepared NAIDOC days at school, excursions to Boobera Lagoon and local fishing trips.
She has also planned, prepared, and presented the Toomelah Public School fete.
Meanwhile, her classrooms were always student focussed with a link to culture and hands on student-centred learning, including the Bush Tucka Café, which culminated in a café on a verandah, serving the local community.
Sharlene has also taken on the role of Assistant Principal for the last four years, supporting the work of the executive team.
Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said the Nanga Mai Awards celebrate schools that have established a culture of respect, caring and inclusive teaching practices that recognise, value and meet the diverse needs of Aboriginal students.
"Nanga Mai is an Eora word for "to dream" and these awards embrace the diversity of all the schools and supporters who champion our students so they can follow their dreams," Ms Mitchell said.
"We are also honouring the Elders and Aboriginal school staff and community members who bring language, culture and wisdom into our schools."
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