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The 2020 Recognition Awards

Each year the Recognition Awards pay tribute to exemplary practice, dedication, and innovation contributed to the system of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn. This is an opportunity to showcase and recognise extraordinary ‘above and beyond’ commitment, innovation and talent.

This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Awards Presentation was held at the Catholic Leaders’ Day on Thursday, 29 October. Principals accepted the awards on behalf of the recipients from their schools.

The 2020 Award recipients include:

Archbishop’s Award

Recognition of emerging excellence in Religious Education, selected by the Archbishop.

Helen Bramanathan
Support Teacher
St Thomas More’s Primary School, Campbell

The award recognises the contribution that Helen has made in classrooms, schools, the Catholic Education Office and beyond through her work in promoting and teaching Christian Meditation. Helen has described Christian Meditation as a coming home and she is deeply committed to providing opportunities for the children in our schools to experience God’s love through this form of contemplative prayer which connects us to Him deep within.

We recognise her commitment, passion and dedication to enriching the lives of students, staff and parishioners across our Archdiocese. Helen has been very generous in her own time to work with teachers and visit classrooms across our schools. She is part of the World Community for Christian Meditation that is now present in over 120 countries across the world. Helen is currently working with the Catholic Identity team in planning further extensive in-school formation for both staff and students in Christian Meditation for next year.

Director’s Award

Recognition of special service to Catholic Education, selected by the Director.

2020 Kindergarten – Year 2 Literacy Project Schools

  • St Bernard’s Primary School, Batemans Bay
  • St Mary’s Primary School, Crookwell
  • St Anne’s Central School, Temora



Faith formation, Religious Education, Catholic identity.

Diana Jones
Literacy Coordinator
Good Shepherd Primary School, Amaroo

Diana Jones is a selfless leader within the Good Shepherd community. Diana has a strong connection with the Holy Spirit Parish and leads the way in genuine service towards others. This is evident through the practical support she has provided to the Cobargo victims of the recent bushfires. 

Diana has personally transported items such as furniture, clothing and bedding and distributed these to families and businesses in need. Diana actively lives the school mission ‘To be together the Heart of God’ in her daily actions and interactions with others.

Katie Tooth
Year 2 Teacher
St Bede’s Primary School, Braidwood

Katie Tooth has been exemplary in her fortitude, humility, dynamism and pastoral care of her students through bushfire and COVID crisis events of 2019 and 2020. Despite her own personal property being impacted during the fires, Katie continued to endeavour to counsel and lead her class with love, prayer, kindness and a continued focus on learning through these times.

Katie had a high percentage of students in her class directly impacted by fire and has continued leading her current class through the COVID year with positivity and energy.


Student engagement, learning progress, teaching performance.

Carmel Blake
Wellbeing and Diversity Officer
Catholic Education Office, Manuka

Carmel has led Online Learning Training professional learning for teaching and support staff across the Archdiocese. Carmel’s commitment and passion has been sustained over many years and across a wide variety of wellbeing and disability categories.

Janica Morrella
Literacy Leader
Sacred Heart Primary School, Pearce

Through her work as literacy leader at Sacred Heart Primary School, Janica has been instrumental in leading changes and improvements in literacy across the school.

As part of her role Janica has collaborated with experts and participated in professional learning to improving outcomes for our increasing numbers of EAL/D students, many of whom could not speak English on arrival at the school. Janica has worked with staff and CE, sharing her knowledge and expertise through modelling, mentoring and professional dialogue. Her work in this area has been recognised by colleagues as innovative and successful.

Rebecca Brady and Jenny Smith
Leading Kindergarten to Year 2 Literacy
St Bernard’s Primary School, Batemans Bay

Rebecca Brady and Jennifer Smith are highly dedicated to their roles as classroom teachers and instructional leaders. Rebecca Brady and Jenny Smith went to Perth over the January 2019 school holidays to participate in an intensive program that focused on providing teachers with a deep understanding of the evidence-based approach and a hands-on experience in the delivery of high-impact instruction. 

They returned from Perth and implemented high impact, evidence-based instruction into their daily classroom practice. Their focus was on Literacy. Jenny and Rebecca have been leading teaching and learning in K-2, sharing their knowledge and building teacher capacity with a focus on improving student outcomes.


Pastoral care, wellbeing and growth of students and or staff, parent engagement and satisfaction, social justice, outreach.

Tracey Adamson
Kindergarten Teacher
St Anthony’s Primary School, Wanniassa

Angela Ryan
Classroom Support Assistant
St Anthony’s Primary School, Wanniassa

Tracey and Angela acted quickly following the January bushfires. They put a call out to the St Anthony’s school community to bring in donations of backpacks and back to school items for schools that had been significantly impacted by the bushfires.

The school was inundated with donations from the local and broader community. Other schools jumped on board and also became drop off centres as well, strengthening the support for these impacted communities.

Sharon Thorpe
Aboriginal Education Assistant
St Francis Xavier Primary School, Lake Cargelligo

Sharon Thorpe has tirelessly served the community of St Francis Xavier in significant ways for over 25 years. Her continued dedication and support for students, student’s families and for staff is exceptional.

Catherine Barry
Classroom Teacher
St Francis Xavier College, Florey

Catherine Barry was an outstanding Year coordinator at SFX for 10 years. This very demanding role requires excellent communication skills, sound knowledge of the developmental needs of teenagers, emotional intelligence to deal with the highs and lows of dealing with teenager issues whilst being an effective listener and confidante. 

Catherine also leads a team of eight pastoral advisors on a yearly basis to assist in the management of the Year group of 200 students, providing mentoring and coaching to teachers in overseeing the pastoral program for the students. Parents have the highest respect for her.

Wellbeing Team
Mark Chifley, Jessica McInerney, Janice Dunk, Jorja McGrath, Luke Miller, Emily Nowlan and Marie Payne
Hennessy Catholic College, Young

The Wellbeing Team contacted every family by phone in the first two days of remote learning. The team then took responsibility to run a weekly Year group Zoom meeting ensuring they maintained contact with every student. 

Every day they checked to ensure that students in their care had logged on to work and contacted those that hadn’t. They made arrangements for families that had limited or no access to the internet. They kept in regular contact with students believed to be at high risk in isolation. They then followed up to re-engage students as they returned to “normal” schooling.

Highly Accomplished Teacher

Katherine Calley
St Francis Xavier College, Florey

Abbey Kennedy
St Francis Xavier College, Florey

Teressa Patterson
St Francis Xavier College, Florey

Priscilla Caragh
St Clare of Assisi Primary School, Conder

Kristy Everding
St Clare of Assisi Primary School, Conder

Kerri Kerr
St Jude’s Primary School, Holder

Lead Teacher

Jeni McCarthy
St Bernard’s Primary School, Batemans Bay

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