Honouring excellence with the Secretary’s Awards

The pinnacle of teamwork and individual achievement amongst the Department’s corporate staff has been celebrated.

Image: The 2022 Secretary's Awards winners

Corporate staff who best embodied the Department’s ‘Six Ways of Working’ were acknowledged on Friday with the annual Secretary’s Awards.

Courage, Agility, Accountability, Clarity, Disciplined Delivery and Learning amongst individuals and teams were all recognised. There were also two special awards for ‘Young Professional’ and ‘Diversity and Inclusion Champion’.

Secretary Georgina Harrisson and Chief People Officer Shaun Ruming were on hand to announce and present the awards in each of the disciplines.

The winners were as follows:


This award recognises those who take on risks and battles that matter most and do things differently. 

Winner (Individual): Austin Whitehead Director, Training Sector Governance and Improvement, Education and Skills Reform Division.

Winner (Team): Far North Coast Directors, Educational Leadership, Rural North
School Performance - North Division.


This award is about having dynamic, empowered and collaborative teams who work at the right pace and intensity.

Winner (Individual): Ian Quintos, Communication Manager, Issues, Resilience and Recovery, Office of the Secretary and Tahlea Taylor Learning Design and Development Advisor, Learning Improvement.

Winner (Team): Far North Coast Directors, Educational Leadership, Rural North School Performance North Far North Coast Directors and Kimberwalli, the Western Sydney Aboriginal Centre for Excellence, Education and Skills Reform.


This award recognises those who take responsibility and provide support to other teams so we can be successful in supporting our learners. 

Winner (Individual): Katrina Taufa Advisor, Aboriginal Workforce, People Group and Kelly Birkett, Early Learning Advisor, Learning Improvement Division.

Winner (Team): Policy and Engagement Team, Aboriginal Outcomes and Partnerships Directorate Education and Skills Reform Division.


This award is about having a clear goal - defining what needs to be delivered to the customer and enabling communication practices to achieve these goals. 

Winner (Individual): Margaret Baker, Principal Legal Officer, People Group.

Winner (Team): Closing the Gap Team, Education and Skills Reform Division.

Disciplined Delivery

This award is about excellence in execution. Having a ‘stick with it’ approach when the going gets tough.

Winner (Individual): Andrew Anderson, Professional Support Officer, School Performance South Division.

Winner (Team): North Coast Asset Management Unit, School Infrastructure NSW.


This award is about the desire to grow and learn from what works and what doesn’t. It’s about understanding and learning from a diverse range of perspectives to deliver what our customers need.

Winner (Individual): Colleen Mitchell, Strategic Initiatives Advisor, Education and Skills Reform Division.

Winner (Team): Small School Lead Specialists (Literacy and Numeracy) and The HSC Strategy, Learning Improvement.

Young Professional

This award recognises staff aged 34 years or younger who demonstrate our ways of working.

Winner: Kathy Truong, Senior Policy Officer, Learning Improvement Division.

Diversity and Inclusion Champion

Winner: Lauren Judge, Principal Project Officer, Education and Skills Reform and Shari Udjur, Communication Manager Aboriginal Outcomes and Equity, Office of the Secretary.

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