Teacher Awards 2023: Meet the Judging Panel

Teacher magazine has a proud history of highlighting the incredible work of teachers and school leaders in primary and secondary school settings who are working to lift student achievement and wellbeing.

We are excited to share that we are launching the Teacher Awards to recognise outstanding approaches to teaching and school leadership.

Teacher Editor Jo Earp says: ‘In my role, over the years I’ve been very lucky to speak with many amazing school leaders, teachers and support staff who are making a difference to the lives of their students. I know that there are thousands more out there who are doing outstanding work and can’t wait to celebrate their achievements through the Teacher Awards.’

The Judging Panel is comprised of 10 experts in education. The Judging Panel is the second tier of the Awards evaluation process. Preceded by a selection committee which selects a shortlist of candidates, the Judging Panel reviews the shortlist and goes on to select the winner in each category.

All categories in the Teacher Awards 2023 are open to educators working in the K-12 school education community in Australia and recognise achievements of the last 12 months. Nominations for the awards will open from 9.00am (AEST) 9 June until 11.59pm (AEST) 16 July 2023. Click here to learn more about eligibility and the application process.

Let’s meet the judges on the panel.

Professor Geoff Masters

Australian Council for Educational Research

Professor Geoff Masters is CEO and a member of the Board of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). He has conducted a number of reviews for governments, including reviews of strategies for improving literacy and numeracy learning in government schools in Queensland and the Northern Territory; a review of senior secondary assessment procedures in Queensland; and a review of the NSW school curriculum.

He is author of the National School Improvement Tool and Principal Performance Improvement Tool. He was awarded the Australian College of Educators’ Medal in 2009 and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2014.

Professor Lyn Sharratt

University of Toronto, Canada

Lyn Sharratt is a practitioner and researcher working in remote and urban settings worldwide. Lyn is an Adjunct Professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada; an Honorary Fellow at University of Melbourne, Australia; an author consultant for Corwin Press; an advisor for International School Leadership with the Ontario Principals’ Council; and consults internationally, working with system, school, and teacher leaders at all levels in Australia, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Lyn focuses her time and effort on increasing each student’s growth and achievement by working alongside leaders and teachers to put FACES on their data, taking intentional action to make equity and excellence a reality for all students.

Professor Pasi Sahlberg

The University of Melbourne

Pasi Sahlberg is a Finnish teacher, academic, and author. He has worked as a schoolteacher, teacher-educator, and policy-advisor in Finland, and supported education system leaders around the world to improve teaching and learning in their schools.

In these capacities Pasi has also served as a senior education specialist at the World Bank (Washington, DC), lead education specialist at the European Training Foundation (Torino, Italy), and director general at the Finland’s Ministry of Education. He is a recipient of several awards for his lifelong service in education, such as the 2012 Education Award in Finland, 2014 Robert Owen Award in Scotland, 2016 Lego Prize in Denmark, 2017 Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Resident Fellowship in Italy, and 2021 Headley Beare Award in Australia.

In 2013 his book Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland won the Grawemeyer Award in the United States for an idea that has potential to change the world. His most recent books include Let the Children Play: For the Learning, Well-Being, and Life Success of Every Child (2020, with William Doyle), and In Teachers We Trust: The Finnish way to world-class schools (2021, with Tim Walker).

Since his arrival in Australia in 2018 he has held professorial positions at UNSW Sydney and Southern Cross University in Lismore (NSW). Currently he is Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Melbourne. Pasi lives in South Melbourne with his wife and 2 sons.

Professor Amy Cutter-Mackenzie Knowles

Southern Cross University

Professor Amy Cutter-Mackenzie-Knowles is a Professor of Sustainability, Environment and Education at Southern Cross University. She commenced her career as a primary-secondary school teacher. Professor Cutter-Mackenzie-Knowles was the youngest woman in Australia to be made a full professor at the age of 37.

She is the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Education, as well as the Research Leader of the Sustainability, Environment and the Arts in Education (SEAE) Research Cluster. Professor Cutter-Mackenzie-Knowles’s research centres on climate change, childhoodnature, posthuman philosophy, and child-framed research methodologies.

She is particularly focused on the pivot points between education, science, philosophy, and the Arts. She has led over 40 national/international research projects and published more than 150 publications. Amy has been recognised for both her teaching and research excellence in environmental education, including an Australian Teaching Excellence Award (OLT) and an Australian Association for Environmental Education Fellowship (Life Achievement Award) for her outstanding contribution to environmental education research.

Professor Pauline Taylor-Guy

Australian Council for Educational Research

Professor Pauline Taylor-Guy is the Director of ACER’s Centre for School and System Improvement. The work of the Centre includes the development of research, tools and resources to support education system transformation and the ongoing improvement of practice in schools and with school leaders and teachers. She is a passionate educator and her career spans over 40 years as a teacher, school and system leader, teacher educator and academic.

Pauline has won a range of prestigious awards for her research and teaching. Her career has taken her to many countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. She is a life-member of the volunteer teacher education organisation Teachers Across Borders.

Associate Professor Marnee Shay

University of Queensland

Associate Professor Marnee Shay is a Principal Research Fellow in the School of Education at the University of Queensland. She is an Aboriginal woman with maternal connections to Wagiman Country (Daly River region, Northern Territory), born in Brisbane, with strong connections to Indigenous communities in South East Queensland.

A/Prof Shay has an extensive externally funded research program that spans the fields of Indigenous education, policy studies, flexi schooling, and youth studies. She has published in many journals, books and scholarly media outlets. A/Prof Shay is the lead editor of a critical text in the field of Indigenous education, Indigenous education in Australia Learning and Teaching for Deadly Futures, published by Routledge in 2021 (with Prof Oliver). The book won a national award for The Tertiary/VET Teaching and Learning Resource (wholly Australian) category at the Education Publishing Awards Australia.

A/Prof Shay serves on multiple Government and school boards and committees, including the Queensland Department of Education Ministerial Advisory Committee for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education. Her research contributions to education were recognised in 2020 through a National Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL) award, a Queensland branch ACEL Excellence in Educational Leadership Award, and the 2021 UQ Foundation for Research Excellence Award.

Dr Troy Meston

Griffith University

Dr Troy Meston is a Gamilleroi Senior Research Fellow with the Griffith Centre for Social and Culture Research. His work employs critical Indigenous studies and decolonial praxis to investigate the intersections between education, technology and Indigenous studies. He has amassed a diversified body of work, constructed curriculum, and industry outputs across the areas of Indigenous sport, financial literacy, cognitive science, Indigenous health, and education.

Troy applies national research acumen from roles with peak bodies, such as the Australian Sports Commission and Australian Institute of Sport, where he developed the Yulunga: Indigenous Games publication, and managed Indigenous athletes in a program which led toward the Beijing and London Olympic games.

He is a former Research Fellow with ACER, where, as part of an Indigenous team, he produced outputs for the Prime Minister and Cabinet, ASIC, and the ARC Science of Learning Research Centre.

Mali Jorm

Radford College

Mali Jorm is a leading innovator in information management in schools. Passionate about design, marketing and psychology, Mali is an affirmative educator who has worked with primary, secondary and adult education students.

They offer a research-driven mindset to library services, curating innovative programs with excellent student engagement and circulation outcomes. Mali brings together diverse skills in media, teacher librarianship, game design and visual communication to create exciting information spaces and products.

Alex Wharton

Carinya Christian School

Alex Wharton is Principal of an independent P-10 school in regional north west, NSW. He holds undergraduate qualifications in Arts, Education, and a postgraduate degree in Educational Leadership. He is a lifelong learner and has delivered professional learning at state, national and international conferences.

Alex has served as judge on a number of panels, including the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, has contributed across the profession as both a Director for Professional Teaching Associations and as a sessional academic and casual lecturer at Macquarie and Sydney Universities.

Ben Sacco

Education Economy

With almost 20 years of experience in Education and Business management, Ben works with organisations to amplify their connection to passion and purpose harnessing the power of human influence at the core of everything they do. He is the founder of Education Economy and delivers high energy keynotes and presentations that challenge and inspire audiences to leverage their focus on what matters most in work and life.

Ben started his career as a classroom teacher across Primary and Secondary school settings, was a former Deputy Principal and worked at a systems level in policy and implementation, to support school leaders to navigate the uncertainties of change and human behaviour.

Ben’s leadership career spans government, corporate and non-profit sector organisations with extensive experience in strategic consultancy, business development, commercialisation, program management and evaluation, and professional services.

Ben gets to know people and their stories and is passionate about advocating for change and refined practice. He brings both a systems perspective and frontline experience, which allows him to take a balanced approach to improving organisational efficiency, workforce productivity and employee quality of life.

Nominations for the awards will open from 9.00am (AEST) 9 June until 11.59pm (AEST) 16 July 2023.