Sheldon College’s Catherine Heiner is a talented educator, who has demonstrated unwavering dedication to the development of her students and her fellow teachers.
A teacher for over 35 years, Catherine has made a difference by implementing new programs that celebrate cultural diversity, running workshops that develop new teaching techniques and lift student academic performance significantly.
“Her insight into children’s social and emotional needs and learning styles has been invaluable to countless children, parents and teachers,” Director of Academics Secondary, Jarrod Pleass, says.
Where suitable, students are given the opportunity to choose topics that they are passionate about and develop critical analysis.
With regular engagement, goal setting and coaching to bridge learning gaps, she helps students to achieve more academically.
“One student, achieving C’s in Year 10, graduated with an OP 2 under Catherine’s coaching,” Pleass says.
Promoting Socratic questioning, the Head of Faculty Humanities also runs Master Classes upskilling students (and teachers) in recognising fallacies in arguments and critically evaluating source documents.
In terms of promoting diversity, Mrs Heiner has led the implementation of Indigenous units in seven schools. When based at Beenleigh State High School, she organised Indigenous culture days at the school. Within 12 months, the number of students choosing to identify as Indigenous tripled.
She strives to continuously improve her own practice by regularly attending conferences and has built the capacity for her fellow teachers to attend and present at such events too. When working at TAFE Kangaroo Point, she implemented the Certificate III and IV in Education courses to train Indigenous teacher aides to work with children in classrooms.
Empathy and service are part of Catherine Heiner’s teaching and her character. She is a member of Soroptimist International, coordinates the school’s Smith Family Buddy Reading Program and Community Service Club and has been lauded by parents over the years for her advocacy of gifted children’s needs.
One of the greatest things about Mrs Heiner’s teaching is summed up by one former student, Madina (Channel 7 Young Achiever of the Year 2019), who says she “identifies students who are quiet achievers and recognises their potential; she gives them the confidence to make a difference in the world”.
Congratulations Catherine on your nomination.