Anna Tsoutsa recognised by NSW Government for contribution to public education

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Students, teachers and parents have been acknowledged for their outstanding achievements, resilience and contribution to public education at the 2022 NSW Minister’s and Secretary’s Awards for Excellence.  

Among the award winners were two educators of Greek heritage. This included Anthony Boros from Regentville Public School who won ‘Public School Parent of the Year,’ and the School Principal at Auburn Girls High School, Anna Tsoutsa, who claimed the ‘Secretary’s Award for Excellent Service.’

The Greek Herald spoke with Ms Tsoutsa to hear all about her contribution to public education.

1. How does it feel to be recognised?

I feel very honoured and thrilled to be recognised for my leadership but really, I must acknowledge the outstanding work of my team that made it happen. My wonderful teachers and staff are the foundation on which our school’s success is built.

Anna Tsoutsa with NSW Secretary of Education Georgina Harrisson.

2. As principal of Auburn Girls High School, what achievements are you most proud of?

As principal, I am proud of so many aspects of our school, but the standout for me is the development of our school’s culture of achievement through a strong work ethic. Our school’s culture of high expectations and hard work has been built over the last eight years with the staff and the students.

Our students are supported academically and pastorally to always strive to achieve their personal best and be the best version of themselves. Showing kindness and respect are key concepts in our wellbeing curriculum.

Our HSC results, NAPLAN and ATAR results and university entries are very important too, but I am most proud of my students’ achievements – whether they have been offered the university course of their dreams or obtained an apprenticeship. Knowing we have made a positive difference to the girls’ lives is what inspires me and my team.  

3. You work closely with one of Sydney’s most disadvantaged communities, with many students from non-English speaking backgrounds. What is the importance of developing a tailored curriculum for these students?

Our school is a diverse, vibrant and multicultural learning community. We are a partially Selective and Comprehensive School, so we cater for the learning needs of highly gifted and comprehensive students. Our curriculum and co-curricular courses work in sync to allow each student to achieve in areas of their interests, ability level and aspirations.

Anna is School Principal at Auburn Girls High School.

We offer a very wide range of courses from Accelerated Mathematics and Chemistry, Extension 2 English and Mathematics all the way through to Exploring Early Childhood. Our motto is Learn Lead Succeed, and we a have range of courses to build leadership, enhance learning, positive education for wellbeing and many clubs for the girls’ interests.

Embedded in our curriculum is a focus on the development of future focussed skills including innovation, problem solving, teamwork and communication, thus equipping our girls with the skills required to transition effectively into the world of further study and work.

4. What is the value of a good education for students from non-English speaking backgrounds?

Having come from a non-English speaking background myself I am very aware of the challenges faced by the girls. I was very fortunate that my parents instilled in me from a young age the importance of education and the need to work hard to achieve what you want from life.

Our parents here are similar to my parents, they want their daughters to achieve but many don’t have the English language or academic skills to support them. We value the trust that our parents place in us and work hard to equip our girls, through our many programs and support structures, with the skills, personal qualities and determination to “Learn, Lead, Succeed” in a rapidly evolving and fast changing world filled with endless opportunities.

Anna’s award.

Our girls are the future leaders and role models of our modern society. Many of our alumni are now professors, doctors, educators, CEOs, engineers and solicitors making significant contributions to our society.

I once heard the saying that “Education is a great equaliser in a very unequal world” and that is certainly proven true at Auburn Girls. 

5. What is your next project in the field of education?

My next project is to continue to lead Auburn Girls High School into the next phase of improvement to become a centre of excellence in girls’ education.

*Please note: If you are a person of Greek heritage who also won in the Awards, please send us an email to info@foreignlanguage.com.au.

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