Educational Excellence in Narre Warren South Schools

Two local teachers have been recognised for excellence in teaching as part of this year’s Victorian Education Excellence Awards.

The awards recognise inspirational teachers, principals and education support staff who improve schools and support children and young people.

State Member for Narre Warren South Gary Maas, is pleased that local teachers Ms Samantha Downward of Kambrya College and Ms Averil Mitchell of Hampton Park Primary School are among the 41 finalists in 14 categories up for awards.

Ms Samantha Downward from Kambrya College is a finalist for the Excellence in Physical Education and Activity Award – Secondary Teacher.

Ms Downward has been leading her team in developing the school’s Physical Education curriculum and implementing a Sport Education in Physical Education Program to create an inclusive, engaging and motivating learning environment.

Ms Downward leads initiatives to connect students with local sporting clubs and has also collaborated with the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) and has designed differentiated assessments that ensure each student can effectively demonstrate their learning according to their ability.

Ms Averil Mitchell, Leading Teacher Student Engagement and Inclusion at Hampton Park Primary School, is a finalist for the Outstanding Primary Teacher Award.

Ms Mitchell works with families and students with complex needs to ensure that these students are given every opportunity to succeed.

Ms Mitchell leads programs including the Program for Students with Disabilities and the Education Support Inclusion Team, Respectful Relationships Program and the Student Voice, Agency and Leadership, Rights and Resilience Program.

Ms Mitchell is committed to professional learning, positive school behaviours and values, and has been instrumental in creating a successful, safe, and supportive learning environment for all students.

Winners in all categories are awarded professional development grants of up to $25,000 to support their work in schools.

Victoria’s top public education prize, the Lindsay Thompson Award for Excellence in Education will also be awarded to one of the category winners. The award includes a further $20,000 grant.

Winners will be announced at a virtual awards ceremony on Friday, November 20. 

More information about the awards and finalists is available at  


Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino

“The Victorian Education Excellence Awards honour and recognise the outstanding education professionals who go that extra mile to help young Victorians thrive at school.” 

“The efforts of our teachers, principals and education professionals play a crucial role in educating our young people and these awards are a fantastic way to recognise those efforts.”


Quotes attributable to Member for Narre Warren South Gary Maas MP

 “Congratulations to Ms Samantha Downward and Ms Averil Mitchell for being finalists for the Victorian Education Excellence Awards. I am so proud of our local schools and teachers who keep delivering excellent standards for our local community.”

“Building inclusive and supportive learning environments is so important to ensure that our students thrive, and it is fantastic to see our local teachers recognised for their incredible work.”

“Having these local teachers celebrated at these state-wide awards is a win for our whole community and demonstrates the strength and standards of all our local schools.”


7 October 2020