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Awards recognise outstanding specialist schools

The outstanding achievements of those working with children and young people with disability have been celebrated at the Principals’ Association of Specialist Schools (PASS) Awards.

Victorian Minister for Education Ben Carroll congratulated the 10 category winners and 30 nominees for their hard work and dedication supporting the education of students with disability.

“Every Victorian child deserves the best education – and we’re so proud to support our special schools, who deliver the support and education to make sure each student can achieve their goals,” Carroll said.

“I congratulate all the PASS Awards winners and nominees for their outstanding efforts in supporting the education of students with disability. These schools are the backbone of their communities and continue to transform many lives.”

Peter Gibson was presented with the Outstanding Volunteer Award for his work at Kangaroo Flat’s Bendigo Special Developmental School.

Glenallen School in Glen Waverley was awarded the Outstanding Team Award for implementing the Victorian Pathways Certificate supporting students and their families to make informed decisions after they finish school.

Swan Hill Specialist School’s Natalie Goudie-Troy won the Outstanding Teacher Award for developing an art program that uses literacy and Indigenous perspectives to engage students, and implementing a ‘Home to School’ transition program and playgroup.

Libby Gatgens from Nelson Park School in Bell Park took out the Outstanding Principal Award for her visionary leadership which increased community support and participation in educational initiatives and events, facilitating professional development opportunities for staff, and mentorship to fellow principals.

Awards were also announced in six other categories: Outstanding Education Support Award, Outstanding Graduate Award, Outstanding Specialist Award, Outstanding Allied Health Member Award, Outstanding Middle Leader Award, and Outstanding Assistant Principal Award.

Established in 2012, the PASS Awards celebrate exceptional staff expertise in specialist schools, with finalists nominated by peers and colleagues, and winners each receiving $500 towards professional development.

The Victorian state government is investing nearly $1.6 billion in Disability Inclusion to better respond to the needs of students with disability, ensuring they can participate and achieve their full potential at school and beyond.

This year, another $235 million is giving more students with disability the support they deserve, with a focus on students in specialist schools – as well as supporting parents and carers of children with disability with things like out-of-school-hours care and room for specialist medical appointments within special schools.

To find out more about the PASS Awards, visit

PASS Awards Winners 2023

Outstanding Education Support Award
Azemine Sheremataj, Warringa Park School, Hoppers Crossing

Outstanding Graduate Award
Alex Eastburn, Kalianna School, North Bendigo

Outstanding Volunteer Award
Peter Gibson, Bendigo Special Developmental School, Kangaroo Flat

Outstanding Specialist Award
Jenny Annett, Bendigo Special Developmental School, Kangaroo Flat

Outstanding Allied Health Member Award
Samsam Hersi, Waratah Special Developmental School, Bellfield

Outstanding Team Award
Annmaree Lalor, Chika Hogan, Daniel DeGraaf, Deb Morant, Gill Greenwood, Gillian Bryan, Robyn Miller, Stef Young and Timothy Ruff, Glenallen School, Glen Waverley

Outstanding Teacher Award
Natalie Goudie-Troy, Swan Hill Specialist School

Outstanding Middle Leader Award
Megan Ogle-Mannering, Waratah Special Developmental School

Outstanding Assistant Principal Award
Caitriona Toland, Warringa Park School, Werribee South

Outstanding Principal Award
Libby Gatgens, Nelson Park School, Bell Park

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