World Teacher's Day


October 28 is World Teachers’ Day so we’re taking this opportunity to celebrate and thank our teachers for the vital role they play in our communities and for the positive impact they have on the lives of students. Here’s a glimpse of some of our amazing teachers on the Gold Coast

Ashley Passmore – Benowa State High School

Ashley Passmore believes the key to being a great teacher is to inspire lifelong learning so students can live a long, healthy and safe life. As a Health and Physical Education teacher, Ashley dreams of owning a therapy dog to assist students with disability and contribute to wellbeing in the wider community. During her time at Benowa State High School Ms Passmore was promoted to Director of Sport, implementing a whole school approach to sporting programs that saw the integration of athletes with disability into schools and representative sporting programs. “I believe true success as a teacher is not how you can describe yourself, but the impact that you have on others – students, parents, colleagues and administrators.”

Tania Malik – Coombabah State High School

Ms Tania Malik is a language dynamo. The Coombabah State High School language teacher enjoys bringing her classroom to life through restaurant scenarios, excursions, fashion shows and pizza. During her time at Coombabah, Tania has expanded the Italian program from only Years 7 and 8 to now include Years 9 and 10 where she promotes intercultural understanding, empathy and an appreciation of language through memorable experiences. Her commitment is reflected in the successes of her students, who this year placed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd at the MLTAQ Language Speaking Competition. Next year will become Coombabah State High School’s first cohort of senior ATAR Italian students.

Tania Malik promotes intercultural understanding, empathy and an appreciation of language through memorable experiences.

Mick Watson, Mick Platt and Zac McConnell – Elanora State High School

This amazing trio of teachers from Elanora State High School has brought students and their significant adults together to design and construct a skateboard together. Everyone from mums, dads, grandads and a next-door neighbour have been involved in this project which aims to provide quality one on one time and provoke meaningful conversations. Teachers Mick Watson, Mick Platt and Zac McConnell volunteer their time to the program and go above and beyond every day. The program started last term and was so popular they had a waitlist for the next program, which has kicked off again this term. 

Suni Moraes – Foxwell State Secondary College

Foxwell State Secondary College Science teacher Suni Moraes believes the key to success lies in strong learning partnerships. As a Girls in STEM Excellence Program teacher she takes and active role in partnering with many organisations to allow female students to be mentored by other inspirational females. Suni also maintains connections with learners in her own community through youth education sessions at the annual Sri-Lankan New Year Festival, while also leading a women’s social cricket team, which she established for young Sri-Lankan girls who would otherwise not have the skills, confidence, or time to play cricket for a club. “As a proud teacher in our state school system for over 14 years, my goal has always been to make a difference in the lives of students.” Ms Moraes was this year’s nominee for Foxwell in the Gold Coast State Secondary Excellence Awards. 

Matt Dwyer – Helensvale State High School

Matt Dwyer is an inspiring teacher who has taken out the title of AFL Secondary School Teacher of the Year for 2022.  Matt has been instrumental in the creation of the Helensvale SHS AFL Academy and aside from being home to some of the top AFL school teams in the state, the Helensvale AFL academy has produced seven AFL/AFLW drafted players, plus many more VFL, QAFL/W and NEAFL players in recent times. Matt holds his level two coaching accreditation and in addition to his Helensvale SHS coaching role, is a South Coast and Broadwater School Sport AFL Coach. Outside of school, he also devotes time to community coaching, with many roles at Broadbeach Cats and Robina Roos in recent years.  

Josh Corbett – Helensvale State High School

Josh Corbett has significant industry experience as an engineer and has been teaching at Helensvale since 2017. Mr Corbett’s previous life as an engineer saw him work in Africa, the Middle East, and a host of other countries. He changed careers because he wanted to settle down in one place and make a difference in the lives of students. Josh is a highly regarded and well respected member of the Helensvale State High School community. 

Former engineer Josh Corbett wants to make a difference in the lives of students

Daniel Riccardo – Merrimac State High School

Former software developer Daniel Riccardo is an exceptional innovative leader in the realms of technology and design and all things STEAM. Adding to his immense trophy cabinet at Merrimac SHS is his International STEAM competition title, a finalist in Cyber Taipan, as well as being a mentor to the recent winner of the television series “Ultimate Classroom.” 

Steve Gasson – Nerang State High School

As a teacher and the Dean of Year 7, Steve Gasson strives to make a positive difference to the attitude, behaviour and relationships of his students. He focuses on student engagement while working with them on attendance, behaviour and classroom engagement. He was also involved in the implementation of the Resilience Program at Nerang State High School for Year 7 and 8 boys to help develop students’ capability in managing in managing their responses to events. This year Mr Gasson was nominated as the Teacher of the Year representative for Nerang State High School in the Gold Coast State Secondary Excellence Awards.

Ash Coburn – Ormeau Woods State High School

Ash Coburn is currently in his ninth year of teaching mathematics and physical education at Ormeau Woods State High School, which he loves because of the community feel. “I enjoy seeing higher level students advance into the top tier, but I get equal enjoyment seeing a struggling student gain understanding and start to look at maths as a challenge they can overcome rather than a point of stress,” he explains. Ash says teaching offers such variety as a career. “If I had any advice for new teachers, it would be to let students see who you really are – be yourself, and get involved with the students you teach in a capacity other than your curriculum area – like helping out with sport, or some other extra-curricular activity.”

Michelle Gray – Robina State High School

Michelle Gray is a senior Japanese teacher at Robina High School who is passionate about foreign language studies, global citizenship, community connections, sustainable practices, student agency and articulate communication. Ms Gray has worked at Robina High for over 20 years and during this time she has led a number of projects that has enabled students to develop amazing skills and intercultural connections. It is through Michelle’s community connections that the school has been invited to represent Australia at the Parliamentary Debate World Congress over the past seven years, a catalyst that led to the formation of the school’s debating club. Ms Gray inspires her students to be more thoughtful and articulate, skills that help them in all their studies.  Her inspiring teaching and supportive student relationships were recognised in 2017 when Michelle was awarded Best Gold Coast Teacher in 2017.

Michelle Gray inspires her students to be more thoughtful and articulate

Nicole Richardson – Pacific Pines State High School

Nicole is a dedicated and inspiring educator, both to her students and her peers. She embraces all parts of education, from being her school's university practicum co-ordinator to being the school's QTU representative, as well as delivering a range of engaging and interactive subjects. Ms Richardson’s passion for teaching is contagious. She supports and lifts those around her, and Pacific Pines believes that both their school and the wider community is lucky to have her. 

Elly Arnott – Pacific Pines State High School

Elly Arnott’s teaching practice is synonymous with compassion and excellence in differentiation. Elly is one of the established junior phase teachers who came to the school having years of broad experience with students who have various complex learning and behavioural needs. As a junior phase intervention and co-taught class teacher Elly’s key strength is building capacity in students with individualised learning plans, students with social and emotional differentiated needs and students who need behavioural and engagement support at school. Elly’s inclusion skills enable students of all abilities to flourish, and her students adore her for her care, high expectations and support.

Tom Pasley – Palm Beach Currumbin State High School

Tom Pasley’s passion for sustainability has seen him work tirelessly to educate students on the need for our community to work together to recycle waste, reuse waste and make dramatic changes culturally, environmentally and fiscally on the school’s waste output. Outside of his teaching schedule, Tom has re-educated, empowered and trained students as to how to best dispose of their waste at all times of the school day. Tom spends hours after school with staff and student volunteers sorting rubbish from the school’s hundreds of on-site bins to ensure effective waste management systems positively impact our immediate environment.

Josh Ubank, Pimpama State Secondary College

Josh Ubank joined Pimpama State Secondary College in 2016 as a Maths, Science and Health & Physical Education teacher and in 2019 was appointed Junior Secondary Head of Department. Working in collaboration with feeder schools, Josh has developed junior extension programs, providing opportunities for students to leverage and extend their passion and knowledge in the areas of STEM, the performing arts, enterprise, and technology in simulated real-world learning environments. He is an inspirational leader and has played a key role in ensuring his school is years in front of others in technology advancements. Partnering with Apple, Mr Ubank has worked alongside Curriculum Heads of Department and the Quality Teaching Team to bring technology and innovation to life in the classroom.

Josh Ubank bring technology and innovation to life in the classroom.

Sophie Boissery – Queensland Academies Health Sciences Campus

Sophie Boissery is a language teacher at Queensland Academies Health Sciences Campus who enjoys the motivation and commitment that students bring to class on a daily basis. As an Academy teacher who also delivers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, Sophie says it has allowed her to reach her full potential as a language teacher. “I believe every student can succeed and support students with their successes in and out of the classroom. I am proud to share French culture, building awareness and passion for the French language.”

Tassy Engel – Southport State High School

Tassy Engel’s magic power is in gaining trust from the students she teaches and comes from the perspective of identifying and amplifying the potential of her students. Tassy is an optimist who works with students with significant disabilities and as such, her influence has exponentially grown because she works intimately with teacher-aides and the parents of the children in her classes. Through her dedication as a teacher Tassy was nominated for the 2022 Gold Coast Women of the Year Awards as a Champion of Education for her commitment and dedication to the education sector.

Luke Deeley – Varsity College

Luke Deeley is always willing to put his hand up, both socially and professionally. This year he led a student Kokoda team to the finish line and was part of the winning staff golf team. Professionally he is part of the Case Management team, leads a Maths Professional Learning Community group, is trialling a new digital platform with Varsity’s Year 9 ASPIRE class, and shows equal excellence teaching across both support classes and ASPIRE classes. Luke is a continually positive and polite person who expects nothing from others and gives without thought for himself. He will always think of those around him and is a wonderful support to his colleagues. Mr Deeley is an incredible asset and wonderful role model for both staff and the students he nurtures.

Skye Rodgers – Robina State High School

Skye Rodgers is the Robina SHS Humanities and Social Science Head of Department, as well as the teacher leader of the RSHS ‘Sustainabulls’ club. She is a passionate and innovative educator who always takes her students to the next level.  Ms Rodgers leadership of the ‘Sustainabulls’ club has seen membership grow to over 30 students from Year 7 through 12. In 2022 under her leadership, the club forged a meaningful partnership with the Numinbah Environmental Education Centre that has seen students attending on school trips as well as once a month on weekends to engage in re-forestation and native wildlife conservation activities. The ‘Sustainabulls’ have planted 1000 trees and built 50 bird boxes to date as part of this project. Skye leads her faculty in an innovative manner and ensures her leadership is impactful. Academic results in her faculty have grown substantially over the last 18 months and can be attributed to quality assured processes and systems as well as her deliberate focus on engaging pedagogical practice.

Sky Rogers is a passionate and innovative educator leading the way on sustainability

Sarah King – Elanora State High School

Sarah is a mathematics and home economics teacher at Elanora State High School and the winner of the 2022 Gold Coast Secondary Teacher of the Year. 

Mrs King's approach to teaching and learning has contributed to a substantial increase in mathematics results for her Year 9 students through the implementation of an intensive literacy and numeracy program at the school. 

“My philosophy of education is that all children are unique and must have a stimulating educational environment where they can grow physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially,” Sarah says. “It is my desire to create this type of atmosphere where students can meet their full potential.”

Belinda Flesser – Robina State High School

Belinda Flesser assisted in the development of a new co-teaching model that moved away from a traditional ‘Special Education Unit’ by exposing all students to a highly qualified content area, leading to Belinda being named Education Leader of the Year at the 2022 Gold Coast State Secondary Education Awards. 

As the Head of Special Education Services, Mrs Flesser says it was an absolute pleasure to continue this inclusion journey alongside a high performing professional team at Robina State High School.  

“I am inspired by the growth in inclusive culture across the school and the strong evidence of high level of differentiated curriculum, pathways and support for all students.”

* Main picture: Suni Moraes, Foxwell State Secondary College 

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