Our Victorian Teacher of The Year

St Catherine’s School is thrilled to announce that Ms Vanessa Jackson-McRae, Head of Science has been named Royal Australian Chemistry Institute (RACI) Victorian Teacher of The Year for 2020.

RACI is the key body who advocates for the interests and activities of the Chemical Sciences, and also promotes and celebrates the achievements of individuals who advance and make positive impacts in the field of Chemistry.

Vanessa has made an excellent contribution to Science, particularly Chemistry. As Head of Science at St Catherine’s for a number of years, Vanessa is an experienced and invaluable professional in her field. She is an outstanding, passionate and dedicated chemistry teacher who establishes a valuable and important contribution to chemistry education, and advancing women in this field.

Encouraging both her students and other teachers around her, she is an imaginative, resourceful and comprehensive educator who is highly regarding by her peers and students for her commitment, passion and innovation to teaching Science. Using a range of media and other resources as well as creativity in the classroom, demonstrations and experiments both encourage and challenge students, and provide the support for them to develop and reinforce their understanding and skills. Vanessa provides endless opportunities for her students, encouraging them to offer their best.

Despite, Science being a male dominated industry, Vanessa inspires many young women students to pursue pathways into Science as a very real and rewarding career option.

With over twenty years involvement in the wider profession, she has served as a VCE Chemistry Exam Assessor from 1998 onwards, and is regularly consulted when markers have queries or there are marking differences over a student’s response to a question.

This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the innovation and adaptability of the Science Faculty at St Catherine’s has led to an invitation from the Victorian Curriculum And Assessment Authority to write and develop curriculum for Years 7-10 Physics. The team of Ms Megan Vu, Mrs Anita Fernando, Mr Stephen Brown and Mr Fiachra Barry will be led by Vanessa to complete this project by December.

This Award is a remarkable achievement and significant recognition of Vanessa’s work as an educator and dedication to encouraging the next generation of women scientists.

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