Broken Hill North Public School Home School Coordinator Kathryn Yates has won the Secretary’s Award for Excellent Service at the NSW Minister’s and Secretary’s 2023 Awards for Excellence, held at Sydney Town Hall on Tuesday night.
The award recognises NSW Department of Education employees who have shown outstanding effort in improving the quality of teaching, learning outcomes and/or school environments in the NSW public education sector.
Nominated on behalf of the entire school, Mrs Yates was one of 20 nominees for the award, which was presented by NSW Department of Education Secretary, Murat Dizdar.
“First of all, I was very humbled, very proud and extremely excited. But this award, for me, really is all about the staff, the children, and the families at North,” Mrs Yates told the Barrier Truth.
“These little children here, they’re amazing, they’re unique in every way, they’re just beautiful little people to work with. And the hardworking, dedicated staff have always encouraged me to do my best. Really, the award is for them as well.”
With a 15-year tenure at Rainbow Preschool, followed by 22 years at Broken Hill North Public School, Mrs Yates not only serves as a teacher’s aide and Home School Coordinator but also manages a breakfast club, visits student families, and provides support with uniforms and food.
“I genuinely care about the students, staff, and the families and carers at North, and I feel if I can contribute in any way positive in their lives, that makes it all worthwhile,” she says.
“The staff, past and present, I’m very appreciative of everything they’ve done because they’ve encouraged me to do what I do to make me the best person I am.
“This award is really for the whole school because without their support and encouragement, I wouldn’t be able to do it.”
Broken Hill North Public School Assistant Principal, Sonja McEvoy submitted the nomination and said Mrs Yates was a deserving winner for her humble and selfless dedication to the school community.
“She doesn’t think she deserves it, but she most definitely does. She doesn’t like taking credit for anything but totally deserves it,” Mrs McEvoy told us.
“The thing that Kath won’t admit to is the amount that she does above and beyond that is not expected of her, that she does not have to do, that she puts her own time and money into which is not required by any shape, manner or form. That’s her nature, that’s how generous she is.
“The students, the staff and their families is the big thing for Kath, making sure that they’re all looked after and that they can be the best they can be at school.”