St Joseph’s Primary School principal Michael O’Dwyer announced as primary school principal of the year

Kasper JohansenHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Denian Johnston, 6, Jonie Pisconeri, 5, and Devon Stampone, 6, play on the nature playground with school principal Michael O'Dwyer.
Camera IconDenian Johnston, 6, Jonie Pisconeri, 5, and Devon Stampone, 6, play on the nature playground with school principal Michael O'Dwyer. Credit: Briana Fiore

Waroona’s own Michael O’Dwyer has been named as one of the nation’s top educators after walking away with an award as the non-government Primary School Principal of the Year.

The St Joseph’s Primary School principal said he was shocked and humbled at the Australian Education Awards, where he expected to receive the “wooden spoon” but was instead handed the prestigious gong.

“It’s an honour for the school, our community and I think the town, I’m just really amazed and surprised ... I’m really proud of our school and the students,” he said.

“I was honoured to be part of the seven (finalists) but I was kind of expecting the wooden spoon — I don’t think they give out a wooden spoon — but I was in the strong company of many other good principals as well.”

Held at Doltone House in Sydney’s Darling Island, the gala night saw teachers and schools receive awards including Australian School of the Year, Best Professional Learning Program, Best Use of Technology and Best Student Wellbeing Program.

With a turnout of 650 guests the South West was represented well with Bunbury Primary School also walking away with the Australian School of the Year award.

Mr O’Dwyer said it was great to see so much South West representation at the event and other schools have now started to come in to observe St Joseph’s new literacy program.

“We (regional schools) are recognised at a national level for what we are doing for our children in our community ... it’s great to see the South West region recognised for the lead in education,” he said.

“It’s continually focusing on our vision of improving students’ achievement and making sure every student is getting superior growth in their academics and also improving the collective levels of well being.”

On his return, Mr O’Dwyer was welcomed by proud students and said it was great to see them “so proud” of their 170 student school.

“I’m just the principal of a beautiful country school ... the nicest thing is having the children coming up and congratulating me because that is what school is about, it’s about the children being proud of their school and their achievements,” he said.

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