After only three years in the job, Riverside Primary’s Ashlee Otway has been named WA Aboriginal and Islander Education Officer of the Year in the WA Education Awards.
Riverside Primary principal Deborah Bloor said it was great news for both Ms Otway and the school itself.
“This is [Ashley’s] first job working in a school, but she’s just grown in herself… the students she’s worked with, she helps them reach their full potential,” Ms Bloor said.
Riverside Primary School has about 50 Aboriginal or Islander students in its total population of 500 students.
Ms Bloor said she was particularly impressed by Ms Otway’s strong connections with the families of Aboriginal and Islander students, following up on their attendance and making sure their needs are met so they can best access their learning.
She said Ms Otway has also helped raise the profile of special days including Reconciliation Day and NAIDOC Day.
The award grants Ms Otway $25,000, half for professional development and half for personal use.
“I know she wants to study the Nyoongar language, or the Aboriginal languages... so then she can teach it to students,” Ms Bloor said.
Premier Colin Barnett said the principals, teachers, and school staff recognised in the WA Education Awards were inspirational.
"I am proud to acknowledge the best in WA's public schools, and the excellent staff who make an extraordinary contribution to the lives of students," Mr Barnett said.
"These exceptional school staff influence and shape young people to become confident, resilient and well-rounded individuals who have the opportunity to achieve success in their adult lives."