Creative STEM teacher recognised

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01 March 2024

Reward and recognition

As a teacher in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, Donna Buckley’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of traditional education has propelled her into the spotlight as a finalist for the Women of Achievement Award.

As an assistant director of mathematics and a VET (vocational education and training) cybersecurity teacher at John Curtin College of the Arts, she demonstrates exceptional leadership qualities. 

Donna helps her students understand mathematics by connecting concepts to real-world examples and their interests in the arts. 

She was nominated for the Women of Achievement Award by her principal, Travis Vladich.  

In the nomination, Mr Vladich highlighted Donna’s ability to cultivate an understanding and appreciation for real-world challenges through an innovative mathematics-based approach. 

“Donna's contributions to public education have been a central theme in her career, extending beyond the confines of the classroom to create meaningful and lasting impacts on students and the community,” he said. 

“Through various extracurricular activities, events, and initiatives, she actively engages students in STEM fields and fosters an appreciation for real-world applications of their learning.” 

Donna Buckley receiving the 2023 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools.

It isn’t Donna’s first time in the spotlight for science, last year she received the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools, in the 2023 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science.  

You can learn more about that award on our website

Donna maintains that education is empowerment. She says that through her education, that she has had the opportunities she has had.  

“I had to really explore it myself and engage them in the curriculum,” she said.  

“And then what I learn, I interpret back to the students. We're always trying to make it relevant because we're preparing them for the future workforce. 

“There’s so many fields of mathematics that go beyond what is in the curriculum, and very creative, very visual and that’s what I like to show my students.” 

We spoke to Donna in more detail about her nomination. Check out the video on our Facebook.  

The Director General’s Women of Achievement Award recognises significant contribution to public education in WA. 

The winner will be announced at the Department’s International Women’s Day breakfast, on Monday 18 March 2024.  

You can learn more about this year’s other finalists nominated for the Women of Achievement Award.