Australia’s best public school STEM teachers celebrated

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

Nine of Australia’s best and brightest Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) public school teachers have been selected as the 2024 recipients of the inaugural Toyota Community Trust STEM Teachers Scholarship.

The STEM teachers will be awarded $10,000 each in recognition of their outstanding work in educating the nation’s young minds.

With its first grants, the Toyota Community Trust aims to encourage and enable more young Australians to pursue further study and future STEM careers. The monetary prize will cover the cost of pursuing professional development courses in STEM-related subjects and was delivered in partnership with the Public Education Foundation, an organisation driven by the belief that “all students should have the same education opportunities no matter where they go to school”.

Scholarship helps nurture a new generation of scientific innovators

Last week’s announcement – with the winners publicly revealed ahead of the UN International Day of Women and Girls in Science on 11 February – follows a call-out in 2023, with eligible public school STEM teachers across the country asked to submit their applications by the end of October.

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Teachers had to show their commitment to the value of public education and provide evidence of their passion and enthusiasm for furthering their professional development and education.  Showcasing a clearly articulated demonstration of the need for the requested professional development, as well as their expected outcome, and an explanation of how the knowledge would then be implemented in the classroom and shared with professional colleagues was also required.

The recipients of the 2024 Toyota Community Trust STEM Teachers Scholarship are:

  • Ehab Gerges – James Cook Boys’ Technology High School, NSW
  • Gayle Allison – Narooma High School, NSW
  • Timothy Bateup – Roma State College, QLD
  • Robert Glen Berlin – Allendale East Area School, SA
  • Daniel Edwards – Montello Primary School, TAS
  • Sharelle Brownbill – Parkwood Green Primary School, VIC
  • Tooba Awais – Mooroolbark College, VIC
  • Hellen Kneale – Exmouth District High School, WA
  • Richard Hall – North Albany Senior High School, WA

Honour offers opportunity to expand and share knowledge

Toyota Community Trust’s Chair Mike Rausa expressed his delight in offering these nine scholarships to recipients who will extend their STEM skills even further.

“This strategic investment in educators not only reflects Toyota’s commitment to fostering quality STEM education but also underscores its vision for a brighter future. By nurturing and empowering educators, Toyota is making a meaningful investment in the progress and prosperity of our society,” he says.

“Professional development in STEM for public school teachers is crucial to ensure that they have the necessary knowledge, skills, and resources to provide high-quality instruction in these rapidly changing fields. By staying up to date with STEM subjects and teaching methods as well as fostering inclusive environments, teachers can inspire and prepare students for the challenges and opportunities of the STEM fields,” Mr Rausa says.

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Public Education Foundation Chief Executive Officer David Riordan said it was fantastic to see the achievements of these nine school leaders from across the country rewarded with a Toyota Community Trust STEM Teachers Scholarship.

“STEM subjects are critical to the future of Australia. We at the Public Education Foundation are very appreciative of the Toyota Community Trust for supporting these incredibly important scholarships which cover the cost of professional development for teachers of STEM across the nation,” Mr Riordan says.

“This professional development ensures these teachers are up to date with the latest developments and research in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, ultimately assisting students in public schools achieve their full potential.”

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]