Students at a Seville Grove high school should consider themselves lucky to be able to say they are being taught by one of the best teachers in the country.
Cecil Andrews College technologies teacher and STEM coordinator John Townley was recently recognised as one of 12 recipients of the National Teacher Awards alongside fellow West Australian recipients Ashley Stewart from Newton Moore Senior High and Jessica Colleu Terradas from Como Secondary College.
Mr Townley said he was humbled and honoured to be named among a group of amazing educators from all over Australia.
“I have been a teacher for 25 years and have always worked with disadvantaged students,” he said. “It is easy to lose faith and energy when there are so many real challenges to overcome.
“The award has given me renewed strength to expand and share my work and I feel more confident in what I know and why it matters to work hard to create a level playing field in Australian education.”
Mr Townley described Cecil Andrews as an inspiring school which has many challenges, as it is has one of the lowest index of community socio-educational advantage scores of any West Australian high school.
“We have a significant number of children who have experienced trauma and very serious life challenges early in life who are great kids with many talents and abilities which we develop and celebrate every day,” he said.
“The college community is strong and very supportive of the programs we run including new STEM activities like robotics.
“Cecil Andrews College really deserves to be recognised for its courageous embracing of future focussed learning and creative approaches to curriculum delivery.”
The award includes a $45,000 prize for a project at Cecil Andrews College and $15,000 for professional learning for Mr Townley and other staff.
Mr Townley was named as a WA Teacher of the Year last year and a Burt Volunteer of the Year finalist for his work in coordinating a network of 12 schools creating robotics clubs with students competing in state, national and international prestigious robotics competitions.