SA sees start of Guardian 2019 Educator Awards Program - Winners announced
The Sector > Workforce > Leadership > SA sees start of Guardian 2019 Educator Awards Program – Winners announced

SA sees start of Guardian 2019 Educator Awards Program – Winners announced

by Jason Roberts

September 10, 2019

Guardian Childcare and Education has kicked off its 2019 National Educator Awards Program in Adelaide, South Australia with an event held at the Grand Chancellor Adelaide that saw winners announced for the nine separate award categories. 


Warren Bright Chief Executive Officer said “Guardian Childcare & Education is delighted to recognise our fantastic Educators with the South Australian Educator Awards Night. These Awards are important because they acknowledge our Educators’ commitment and professionalism as well as celebrate their hard work and passion.” 


The Adelaide event, which celebrates excellence at the four Guardian centres currently located in South Australia is the first such event in this years event program with Educator Award evenings also planned for Victoria, the ACT, New South Wales and Queensland. 


“As a company we are looking forward to the remaining award nights across the country. They are one of the highlights of the year for our Educators and are a great opportunity for us to thank our teams for their hard work and the positive impact they have on the wellbeing and early learning outcomes of our children and their families.”


There are nine different awards categories this year with nominations made by either area managers for each of their clusters or their peers (Educator of the year, Cook of the Year, Early Childhood Teacher of the Year) with the winner being selected by the General Manager or the General Manager and Operations Manager (peer selected nominations). 


For the 2019 Awards, the category of Early Childhood Teacher of the Year was added in recognition of the importance of this role. 


  • Educator of the Year – celebrates the educator who most lives up to Guardian values, is passionate about working with children, runs a terrific program, has strong relationships with families and their peers and also contributes positively to all aspects of centre life. 
  • Early Childhood Teacher of the Year: celebrates an outstanding ECT who demonstrates leadership, evidenced by innovative strategies and curriculum leadership either across their centre or in their room/space. 
  • Cook of the Year: celebrates the cook who best manages to not just create nutritious food but creates a variety of nutritious food that children and families love and manage successfully to integrate food and meal time as a key part of the program. In addition, they will demonstrate strong adherence to food safety and hygiene practices and allergy management.
  • Leadership Award: this award celebrates a team member with a leadership role in centre other than the centre manager and could be an ACM, Ed Leader, WHS Champion, Sustainability Champion or Administration.
  • Community Connections Award: this award celebrates the team member who manages to create strong, sustainable and fun engagement with the local community and manages to include children in their connections. Success with fundraising initiatives is also a key component as is bringing the local community into the centre and working with the centre’s family community.
  • Rising Star Award: this award celebrates a trainee/Diploma student/new/existing educator/cook that has made a significant impact or a 2 IC that seamlessly manages their centre in the absence of their CM and seeks ways to take on more responsibility and the centre would feel a massive void without them. They show great potential as a future Guardian Leader.
  • Sustainability Award: this award celebrates the team member who exhibits a deep commitment to sustainability through practices such as commitments to reduce, recycle and reuse, reduction of electricity usage and all of other sustainable practices in the centre (eg cleaning, water usage, plants) and manages to include all aspects of sustainability within children’s programs and staff culture.
  • Advocate of the Year: this award celebrates the team members who is a fierce advocate for the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector and our profession. They advocate for the rights of both children and educators and go above and beyond to support their peers not only in their centre but potentially across other centres too. 
  • Indigenous Connections Award: this award celebrates the team member who has most clearly embraced Indigenous culture and contributes to positive connections within and outside the centre including initiatives relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives.


The winners of this year’s SA Educator Awards are:


Educator of the Year 

Isha Virdi – Paradise Early Learning Child Care Centre & Kindergarten


Early Childhood Teacher of the Year

Emma Crescitelli – Paradise Early Learning Child Care Centre & Kindergarten


Cook of the Year

Marie Venizelos – Export Park Childcare Centre


Leadership Award

Sheena Marshall – Paradise Early Learning Child Care Centre & Kindergarten


Community Connections Award

Natasha Cornish – Paradise Early Learning Child Care Centre & Kindergarten


Rising Star Award

Vanessa Choi – Guardian Early Learning-St Clair


Sustainability Award

Peter Maltman – Guardian Early Learning-Flinders Street


Advocate of the Year

Mariah Bourtsos – Export Park Childcare Centre


Indigenous Connections Award

Jessica Ragenovich – Guardian Early Learning-Flinders St


The 2019 Awards journey for Guardian centres in South Australia culminated in a gala event at the Grand Chancellor hotel in Adelaide where team members gathered to find out who the winners were and celebrate their success. 


This year’s Early Childhood Teacher Award winner Emma Crescitelli commenting on her win said “Working at Guardian has been critical in developing my skills around helping other Educators and mentoring them. Being awarded the Early Childhood Teacher of the Year demonstrates that I am continuing to learn and grow as an Educator.”


Peter Maltman, the winner of the sustainability category said “I am very proud to have received the Sustainability Award as it recognises the important steps we are taking with the children by teaching them to be good citizens and instilling a love of the environment.”


With the South Australia Awards now complete, the focus turns to the ACT Guardian community who will hold their Educator Award Evening on Saturday the 14th September, QLD on 21 September and NSW, and VIC following in October. 


For more information on Guardian Childcare and Education please click here

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