Shelley De Ruyter
William Ross State High School
Shelley de Ruyter is teaming up with universities, government organisations, and scientific community groups to place William Ross State High School at the forefront of Science education.
With a firm focus on real-world application of taught content, Shelley has developed countless initiatives for Science students both within her school and from other schools across the region to participate in.
Shelley led the development of the innovative Sustainability Centre at the school, which has seen her Science students establish and maintain an aquaculture facility, permaculture gardens, a worm farm, a composting site, and a recycling centre for batteries, printer cartridges, paper, and organic materials.
“The hands-on, real-world application of the Sustainability Centre enriches and improves the learning experiences of Science students across the school,” Principal Allan Evans said.
“Students across the district have benefitted from the Sustainability Centre, as Shelley has shared her innovative practices and contributed to the development of Science outcomes with other schools,” he said.
Shelley has also taken advantage of the school’s close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, developing her own Reef Protect program in which Year 11 students become stewards of the Reef.
In an effort to encourage them to become active citizens, Reef Protect sees students collect data which is then used to enhance, support, and improve planning for effective management of ecosystems in the Reef.
Under Shelley’s leadership, the school has also introduced the Scientists in Schools program, which strengthens partnerships with local scientists and the CSIRO to enrich Science learning programs across all grades.
Many students at William Ross State High School have benefitted from the many development opportunities Shelley has arranged for them. Students have attended the National Youth Science Forum, the Girl STEM Power Camp, the STEM Ambassador Program, Excellence in Science programs, and the Australian Youth Aerospace Forum.
Shelley has also encouraged the ongoing participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students by engaging in collaborative relationships with indigenous community representatives to integrate traditional perspectives into the Science program.
A highly valued member of the school’s teaching team, Shelley actively seeks out opportunities for professional development for herself as well as her staff and always works with colleagues to review and expand their shared repertoires of teaching strategies.
Shelley is now drawing on her impressive organisation partnerships to improve student access to careers in the Sciences. She is working with James Cook University and Central Queensland University to support a seamless transition for her students from high school to university level Science.
To assist with this transition, Shelley is also working with government and non-government organisations like the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the World Wildlife Fund to develop work experience opportunities for her students, providing them with invaluable vocational experience.
Congratulations Shelley on your nomination.