St Peter's School, Rockhampton
A Rockhampton school leader who is helping reshape her school’s culture is a finalist in state teaching awards.
Joanna Cornwell’s transformational leadership as an Assistant to the Principal in Curriculum (APC) at St Peter’s Catholic Primary School, and her commitment to staff, are just some of the reasons she has been named a finalist in the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) Excellent Leadership in Teaching and Learning Award.
Joanna was flown to the QCT Excellence in Teaching Awards ceremony in Brisbane on 27 October, the day Queensland celebrated World Teachers’ Day.
Over the past three years Joanna has developed Professional Learning Communities at St Peter’s, allowing teachers to collaborate on providing the best education for students.
This year, a whole school focus on writing is seeing teachers explore how to engage students in writing and give precise, effective feedback using the NAPLAN writing scale.
The former Years 1, 3, 4 and 6 teacher is passionate about helping others reach their full potential. Her efforts as the APC have led to streamlined and consistent teaching practices across the school.
“Whilst I never had any aspiration to move into an Assistant Principal role, as I was very satisfied with classroom teaching, I saw a need and thought I could really make a difference by supporting and encouraging those around me,” Joanna said.
“It’s great having a whole school approach and everyone working on the same topics,” she said. “We can really support each other as a community of learners. We engage in meaningful and productive discussions about how to support teachers and improve student outcomes.”
As the APC, Joanna oversaw a new Oral Language Program, restructured the way spelling is taught, led a schoolwide focus of writing, wrote new Learning Area Overviews (LAOs) and amended LAOs in other subjects.
She was also instrumental in creating a web portal where curriculum, policies and procedures are easily accessible.
“For me, it’s very rewarding when I see staff embracing changes, with a real focus on improving their skills as practitioners and supporting students to build confidence in their ability as independent learners,” Joanna said. “This role is amazingly rewarding.”
Joanna also regularly communicates with fellow APCs in other Rockhampton schools to exchange curriculum strategies, as she knows the importance of professional sharing to benefit a community of learners.
Congratulations Joanna on being a finalist.