Australian teachers named in top 50 of Global Teacher Prize

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Two Australian teachers travelled to Paris recently to attend the Global Teacher Prize ceremony.

Brendan Kenna from Victoria and Ian Preston from New South Wales were listed as top 50 finalists and invited to represent Australia as global teacher ambassadors at the ceremony on 8 November.

Now in its eighth year, the annual event is the largest prize of its kind, offering US$1 million to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.

The event showcases and celebrates inspirational teachers who are making an impact and changing children’s lives all over the world.

Finalists were selected from a pool of over 8,000 nominations across 121 countries and were honoured for the important role they play in society.

Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education, said:

“I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to all the finalists. UNESCO is a proud partner of the Global Teacher Prize, because teachers deserve our great recognition. They inspire and prepare children and youth to navigate a rapidly evolving world. Their efforts play a leading role in transforming education for the future.” 

Brendan Kenna has over 20 years' experience in the education sector and was awarded a Schools Plus Teaching Fellowship in July 2022 for his innovative teaching approach. One of his greatest achievements is a Sensory Motor Program built on neuroscience research unique in mainstream education, resulting in a marked increase in student engagement and academic growth. Brendan is recognised as one of the best educators in Australia, proving that irrespective of a person’s background great things can be achieved. 

Ian Preston has made significant contributions to STEM education programs and was recognised in 2021 with an Excellence in Teaching award from the NSW Education Minister. In 2022, Ian was awarded a prestigious Commonwealth Bank Teaching Fellowship for his work establishing the Australian and NSW Virtual STEM Academies and the 2022 Premiers Prize for Innovation in Science, Technology, Engineering and/or Mathematics teaching in New South Wales.

Ian is honoured to be recognised for doing what he loves.

“I hope it encourages more people into teaching and, more importantly, public education in rural, regional and remote communities,” Ian said.

“The recognition inspires me to continue in the profession and continue to provide educational equity to public education students.”

“My work is not finished yet. I have so much more I want to achieve.”

Congratulations to Ian, Brendan, the other finalists and the winner on this wonderful achievement. We thank them for their tireless and passionate contributions to their profession.

Photo: Ian Preston, the Hon Tim Watts MP, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, Brendan Kenna

Correct at time of publication.