Over 130 DECYP staff have recently been acknowledged and celebrated at events around the state for completing 25 continuous years working in the State Service!

Congratulations and thank you to all of our recipients for your amazing contributions to the department, the State Service, and to the children and young people of Tasmania.

Meet some of our recipients, and read about their varied roles across our department…

Emma Morgan

Over Emma’s 25+ years educating children, she has been inspired by leaders who value the professional development of their staff. This has led her to assist others in building their awareness of innovative and evidence-based teaching practices that best support the success of students.

“I have had the opportunity to develop my professional knowledge by completing a Graduate Certificate in Literacy, received educational awards recognising the impact of school-based projects, and worked within teams in planning for the development of professional learning experiences both in school and across schools in the Queechy Alliance,” says Emma.

As well as having taught grades one through to six, Emma’s career has had a strong literacy focus, having been a Literacy Intervention Teacher, a Middle Years Literacy Leader within the Queechy Alliance, and she’s also fostered the love of reading by teaching a bit of Library. At ELPS, she is an Advanced Skills Teacher (AST) and works 0.5 FTE as a Quality Teaching Coach – Literacy.

“While I always enjoy the ‘lightbulb moments’ that students have in my classroom, my current work is supporting the ‘lightbulb moments’ of my colleagues. This occurs through the work I do with colleague teachers ‘at the shoulder’, in whole-school and Professional Learning Team environments, and through individual coaching conversations. A highlight of my work is watching their increased confidence as teachers, who feel excited about their practice and the impact they have on their own students’ academic and emotional wellbeing,” says Emma.

Katie Ault

Back in 1993, Katie began her career in the State Service through the graduate program, in the then Tasmanian Development Authority (now State Growth). She moved into communications and media, and then policy. “I especially remember preparing a recommendation that the Department obtain an Internet connection, because we had had one at University and they were quite useful,” laughs Katie.

Katie then moved into information management and telecommunications policy, and then whole-of-Government service delivery at Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPaC), then
took those skills to support Child Safety and Youth Justice Services in the then Department of Health and Human Services, which was restructured into Communities Tasmania, and again into DECYP.

“The biggest inspirations in my career have been the people I’ve worked with. I was recruited into my first job by Rebekah Burton, who later became Deputy Secretary DPaC, and I worked for her, one way or another, for more than twenty years. However, there are many other wonderful people across the State Service whom I have been very, very happy to work alongside,” Katie reflects.

“Nothing has been more special than the last few years, working with our child safety and youth justice staff and leaders. Their jobs are so very important and so horribly difficult. It is a joy to be able to support them to help Tasmania’s most vulnerable families.”

Amanda Lloyd

During Amanda’s 25+ year career supporting and teaching children and young people, her roles have included classroom teacher; PE, LOTE and music teacher; Support Teacher, Wellbeing Lead, Safeguarding Lead, Assistant Principal and Principal.

Amanda’s greatest inspirations during her career are “humble leaders who lead from within, made tough decisions and kept the child at the focus” – these leaders include Paula Pearce, the late Jeff Triffitt and Bruce Cameron.

Other huge inspirations to Amanda have been “Sarah-Jane Murphy for teaching me how to recognise the strengths and abilities of all students and to look outside the box for solutions. And the kids – always inspiring in so many ways!”

Responding to the question of what she is most proud of during her career, Amanda says “Always the lightbulb moments – there are so many. It could be working as a team to help one student reach towards their amazing potential, or it could be providing the support to a new teacher to learn how to bring those lightbulb moments to children. It’s the feelings of watching the growth occur in our school and knowing I’ve contributed to it.”

Thank you, Amanda, for your significant contributions to the lives of children and young people, and to the broader community.

Kim Smith

Driven by a passion for helping people and a love of children, Kim started working in the State Service in 1995 as a kindergarten teacher at the Department of Health and Human Service’s childcare centre.

“It was a job I loved doing, working mainly with 3 to 5 year old children. When the centre was closed in 1999, I spent time working at Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) as project support. Then I took a period of leave without pay, returning to work in 2002, first in temporary roles before moving to work at Child Safety, where I stayed for 20 years,” says Kim.

The work had its ups and downs – there were times when Kim would have loved to just walk away, but the purpose and meaning of the work always fuelled her resolve to continue.

“I am most proud of my capacity to work for such a long time in the challenging field of Child Safety, and hope that I was able to make a positive difference in children’s lives. I’m also proud of the support I was able to give my colleagues, particularly colleagues who were new to the field,” reflects Kim.

When a position at the Safe Families Coordination Unit came up, Kim thought long and hard about whether or not to apply. She decided to throw her hat in the ring and was successful.

“I’m thoroughly enjoying working in a multi-agency unit with supportive colleagues, although I do miss my colleagues ‘on the coal face’.

“I have always been motivated to work in roles that focus on supporting people, particularly children. I grew up with parents who worked in roles working with people and they inspired me (and my siblings) to follow suit, albeit in different roles.”

Marion Ferguson

Marion’s first role in the department was in 1997 as a maths and science teacher at Hellyer College in Burnie, and perhaps it’s a rarity these days, but Marion has chosen to remain at the college for all of her 25 years of service.

“My biggest inspirations have come from observing and utilising key attributes of other leaders and principal mentors that have enabled students to achieve better outcomes: strong relationships, being calm and considered, being an active listener, trusting your team, being data informed and using strategy,” Marion says.

“I’ve also been inspired by teaching and learning-researcher, John Hattie, and of course by our students”.

In 2016, Marion was ready to lead and became the Advanced Skills Teacher responsible for the Maths Learning Area, Student Leadership, and she co-led the introduction of the Peer Feedback Observation Cycle for teachers. Since 2018, Marion has been an Assistant Principal leading Transition, Curriculum, Attendance and Attainment.

“I am most proud of when, in 2019, the college’s attendance rate rose above the sector average for the first time, and it continues to remain above. I’m also proud that in 2020, students achieved an 8% increase in TCE attainment to 86% because our staff worked tirelessly to assist students in an uncertain year. Overall, we achieved a 16% increase in TCE attainment from 2016-2020!”.

Sandy Long

Assistant Principal at Ravenswood Heights Primary School, Sandy Long started with the Department over 25 years ago as a 1/2 teacher at St Mary’s District High School four days per week, and one day per week as a Flying Start (literacy) teacher at Mathinna Primary School.

“I’ve worked with some amazing leaders and teachers in my career. But I think it’s the students I’ve taught over my time that have been the biggest inspirations. Two of my students from the Autism specific classroom will finish Grade 10 this year. These guys were disengaging in school when they came to the room and are now about to complete Grade 10 – that’s pretty inspiring!” says Sandy.

Looking back on her 25-year career in DECYP, Sandy reflects on its highlights, “Setting up and implementing the Autism Specific Classroom at Summerdale Primary was an amazing opportunity to make a difference in the lives of students with ASD who were disengaging with school and just needed to learn the strategies to be successful in mainstream classrooms.

“Being part of the Ravenswood Leadership Team for the past three years has been another highlight. Our team has worked extremely hard as we’ve moved the school through the Priority Support process and have had some amazing PAT results in 2023 that highlight the work we have been doing to support our students.

”For those who aren’t familiar with PAT assessments, they measure what students in Foundation to Year 10 know, understand and are capable of across domains, and help to monitor progress over time.