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Victoria’s longest-serving teachers recognised

Victoria’s longest-serving teachers and education support staff were awarded a ‘Recognition of Service to Victorian Education’ honour in May for their dedication to students, schools and families.

Minister for Education Mr Ben Carroll congratulated 275 staff for their 40, 45, 50 or 55 years of service to public education in Victoria at an official celebration at the Pullman Melbourne on the Park.

The recipients included Ms Judi Grossbard, a Grade One teacher who has dedicated 50 years to public education with 37 years at Gardenvale Primary School in Melbourne’s bayside – where she has taught two generations of some families.

Ms Grossbard is one of three staff at Gardenvale Primary School being honoured this year, with the other two teachers reaching 45- and 40-year milestones.

Another 50-year honouree, Ms Jillian Burt, has spent more than half of her career at Ballarat’s Forest Street Primary School –including 10 years as a teacher and 20 years in her current role as principal.

Recently retired Ms Merrilyn Mann, who is also being recognised for 50 years of service, worked for four decades at Mount Waverley’s Syndal South Primary School as both an art and early primary years teacher.

Overall, 166 hardworking staff are being honoured for 40 years of service, 49 for 45 years, 49 for 50 years and 11 for 55 years.

Mr Carroll thanked the teachers and staff being recognised for their contribution to education in Victoria spanning multiple generations.

“Long-serving teachers and support staff are the backbone of our education system. The Victorians being recognised this year have each spent decades tirelessly supporting our children and young people – we are all so grateful for their service,” he said.

“Whether they have taught in classrooms or worked in an office supporting schools, everyone receiving recognition this year has helped us make Victoria the world class education state we are today.”

The Victorian State Government has made record investments in school workforce initiatives to attract, recruit, support and retain teachers and support staff – with Victoria’s government school staff numbers growing by 2.3 per cent in 2023, the largest increase of any state or territory.

The Victorian Budget 2024/25 is continuing to address school workforce challenges with an extra $17.9 million to attract more staff – by supporting schools to attract teachers from overseas, and giving schools leaders more flexibility in the way they work.

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