One of the state’s most respected English curriculum experts, who has inspired Ipswich students and fellow teachers for almost four decades, is a finalist in prestigious state teaching awards.
Gail Newman, who has taught at Ipswich Girls’ Grammar School (IGGS) for an incredible 40 years, has had plenty of opportunities to climb the administrative ladder, but says there’s nothing she loves more than being in the classroom.
“I can’t imagine not going to work and spending time with teenagers,” Mrs Newman said. “With teaching, one of the most important things is the positive impact that we can have on youth.”
The IGGS Head of English and Languages is a finalist in this year’s Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) Outstanding Contribution to Teaching Award.
Over her 40 years at IGGS Mrs Newman has worked in a range of roles, and she said that was one of three main reasons she had stayed at the school.
“I was only at IGGS for five years before being promoted to a Year Level Coordinator and then it was only a few years after that that I was appointed Head of English. Then with another change of principal, Languages was added to my portfolio,” Mrs Newman said.
While working in a Dean’s role, she realised that while she loved practical organisation, she really missed the time spent with students and the focus on English curriculum.
Mrs Newman said her students, and the incredibly professional and dedicated teachers she has always worked with, were the other two main reasons she has stayed at IGGS. She is known as an outstanding mentor of both IGGS teachers and others within her district.
Mrs Newman has kept IGGS at the forefront of curriculum change by chairing her District Panel for the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (formerly the Queensland Studies Authority) over the past 17 years, and as a panel member for the past 33 years.
“I feel really passionate about keeping up with the latest educational trends, especially in my subject areas,” Mrs Newman said.
“It’s important for the school to be at the forefront of change, so I have always felt a responsibility as a curriculum leader to be involved in updates of syllabuses and be well prepared for what is to come.”
Congratulations Gail on being named a finalist.