Honouring an exceptional educator

Rebekah Lindsay has been named as the ACT's NAIDOC Teacher of the Year for 2024.

At Googong Public School in the ACT, Aboriginal education and culture is celebrated across the entire school community.

It’s an approach that led to its dedicated principal, Rebekah Lindsay, named as the 2024 NAIDOC Teacher of the Year for her exceptional educational leadership and unwavering dedication to empowering all students and staff.

The award recognises outstanding individuals within the education sector in the capital region, including early childhood, primary, secondary, tertiary, and other education groups, who have made a significant impact on the lives of students and communities.

Lindsay is a proud Biripi woman and has been an educator for more than 20 years. She says she is incredibly humbled to be nominated for the award by a parent at her school.

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“All students and staff are involved in learning about, and being proud of, the world’s oldest living history and culture,” Lindsay says.

“Aboriginal perspectives and concepts have been woven throughout all aspects of our school from the logo, uniforms, school design, internal procedures, building names and signage, learning modes, and learning programs.

“As a proud Aboriginal person, I am humbled by my staff’s dedication to creating culturally safe environments for our school community. They ensure Aboriginal perspectives are considered and embedded as part of our learning culture in all Key Learning Areas, as well as our well-being programs, championed by our mascot, the Googah (Ngambri word for Goanna).”

Strengthening community connections

Lindsay says that, at Googong Public School, “it is more than the programs we engage with – it is about the learning culture we have created alongside the ongoing consultation and engagement with the Aboriginal community”.

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“Whilst it is lovely to be recognised for our work, it is for the students that we do what we do – they are what matters, they are the future,” she says.

Lindsay’s nomination acknowledged the way she focuses on ensuring that Aboriginal culture was embedded as part of the fabric of Googong Public School, which opened in 2023.

“Under her leadership, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are empowered to thrive at Googong School as Rebekah has built a strong support team of First Nations and highly culturally capable non-Indigenous staff to uplift students,” the nomination stated, adding that all students at the school are “learning about Australia’s true history and developing an understanding of the value, impact and ongoing connection of the world’s oldest living culture in Australian society on a daily basis”.

“Rebakah ensured her year six Aboriginal students had early networking and integration with the local high school, making the transition for these students smoother and less intimidating by receiving wrap around support from the outset,” the nomination said.

“As an Aboriginal woman, she understands the importance of ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have the opportunity to thrive in an environment that celebrates and honours their identity.”

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