An early childhood educator has been crowned New Zealand’s Most Inspiring Teacher from thousands of nominations around the country.
Claire Shackleton, the centre manager at Glenbrook Kindergarten in Counties-Manukau, has been named the overall winner in a Warehouse Stationery initiative to recognise the hard work of Kiwi teachers.
“My initial reaction when I was told was over the moon – but also quite humbled,” says Claire. “I can really only credit it to the community that I work in, and the colleagues that I work alongside, and the children I work with and their families.”
A teacher with more than 30 years’ experience, Claire beat out 1368 others teachers from 812 schools to secure the title of New Zealand’s Most Inspiring Teacher in 2016, the campaign’s sixth year.
“There are so many inspiring teachers across all of the sectors so to be judged the overall winner was mind-blowing, really.
Claire estimated she had worked at the Glenbrook Kindergarten for 17 years “but it has gone so fast that I haven’t really counted”.
“All I can say is that working in early childhood you can’t help but be inspired. You can only be inspired by the people you work alongside and the parents and that helps build the dream that we want to create.”
Jo Butters, a parent of a child at Glenbrook Kindergarten, nominated Claire for her “unwavering enthusiasm for teaching” and her love of the children in her care.
“She connects with children individually to determine the best approach for their individual learning and development,” Jo says. “I've witnessed Claire's enthusiasm make mundane activities come alive in children's eyes.
“Claire is dedicated to the kindergarten. Claire also documents children's learning and updates their individual portfolio books, and the kindy intranet site in her weekends and evenings. When an excursion has been organised, Claire will be up early baking morning tea for the parents and whanau going on the trip.
“Claire often brings her own resources to support the children's learning, as well as seedlings and plants from her garden to share with parents. Claire is synonymous with Glenbrook Kindergarten and is extremely valued by the families and children she has taught.”
In this year’s Most Inspiring Teacher campaign, 1369 teachers from 812 schools were nominated and almost 7500 votes were cast to decide the 10 winners.
As the overall winner, Claire was judged the best of best. She wins $5000 worth of travel, a notebook, tablet and mobile phone, office furniture, and a large assortment of classroom stationery items from Warehouse Stationery.
There were also nine runners-up – three in each category for early childhood, primary/intermediate, and secondary.
The runners-up each receive a chromebook, a mobile phone, furniture, and a prize pack made up of over $500 worth of stationery supplies from Warehouse Stationery. Their schools also receive a $500 Warehouse Stationery gift card and a prize pack made up of stationery products from Warehouse Stationery.
The secondary school runners-up were Caren Brodie, of Massey High School in Auckland, Roger Gregory, of Taupo-ui-a-Tia College in Taupo, and Hone Heke Rankin, of Rosmini College in Auckland.
The primary school runners-up were Hannah Kinsman, of Meadowbank School in Auckland, Andy McLarin, of Green Bay Primary School in Auckland, and Trudi Berti, of Maungakaramea School in Northland.
The early childhood runners-up were Melissa Palmer, of ABC Tauranga Central, Lisa James, of First Steps Roydale in Christchurch, and Susan Hildred, of Hokowhitu Kindergarten in Palmerston North
Warehouse Stationery CEO Pejman Okhovat says the response to the campaign shows New Zealanders truly do appreciate the hard work of school teachers.
“The huge number of entries received show how much we do notice and respect the work teachers put into educating children, and that people value the chance to say thank you for all that energy and time,” says Okhovat.
“It’s fantastic to see so many teachers rewarded and recognised for their efforts, and so encouraging to see how many of them are considered inspirational by students and their families.”
Judge Linda Reid says the runners-up and overall winner are all worthy recipients of their prizes, having been recognised by their communities for the work they do.
“High quality teachers make a profound difference to the lives of their students,” Reid says.
“It is clear from the calibre of our nominees that we have world class teachers, whose communities – students, parents, colleagues – recognise and appreciate what it means to have inspirational teachers in their schools.”
For more information on the campaign, see www.inspiringteachers.co.nz