WA Premier’s Secondary Teacher of the Year 2018

Aset Penerbit

Daniel Hugo, Carine Senior High School

Sailing towards success

Daniel Hugo is the head of science at Carine Senior High School. He has a degree in Zoology, has sailed part-way around the world and is currently building a boat by hand in his backyard. He also rides his bike to school every day to promote sustainability – the list goes on.

A self-proclaimed hard-working and loyal man, he has a diverse range of skills and experience.

“One of the best experiences of my life was crewing on a yacht from Port Elizabeth around the Cape of Good Hope across the Atlantic to Brazil,” Daniel says.

“At times the weather was absolutely horrendous, but I found the whole experience exhilarating and it instilled in me a love and respect for the natural world.”

Daniel’s curiosity for learning and love of nature began at an early age when his seemingly peculiar pastime was collecting the bones of dead animals from the bush around his childhood home.

But the budding scientist used them to widen his knowledge.

“I would sort them into different categories and kept them at the bottom of my bed,” Daniel says.

“My father, who was a surgeon, would help me identify the different bones and label them.”

Now with 30 years’ experience as a science teacher, it is little wonder Daniel has used his unique skillset and passion for learning to bring about many positive changes at Carine Senior High School for both students and staff.

After running a successful senior science Marine and Maritime Technology ATAR course for many years, he was approached by the School Curriculum and Standards Authority to produce assessment guidelines, assessment tasks, and course outlines for other schools around the State to use.

Daniel is always at the forefront of developing programs and strategies to make teachers more effective and improve learning outcomes for students. He credits his own teachers for inspiring him to pursue a career in education.

“I had a number of teachers who made a difference in my life,” he says.

“They all had two things in common. Firstly, they were able to motivate me and make what they were teaching interesting, and secondly, they were able to present difficult concepts in a way that allowed students to understand them.”

While Daniel has brought about system-wide change at Carine Senior High School, he never loses sight of each individual student in his classes as well as the opportunities he has to impart his wealth of wisdom and make a difference.

“I think the most important lesson I have learnt in life is that you don’t always get things right the first time,” he says.

“I always encourage my students to keep reflecting on what they’re doing and ask themselves questions like ‘why isn’t this working?’ and ‘how can I improve?’.”

One of his Year 12 students, Amelia Shepherdson, says Daniel has encouraged her to think outside the textbook and bring classroom learning into everyday life.

“Mr Hugo inspires us to pursue ecologically related activities,” Amelia says.

“I volunteered to take part in an installation in Sculptures by the Sea on the conservation of the endangered Carnaby Cockatoo.

“Through this I learnt about conservation efforts for other species of wildlife.

“Learning about conservation in biology inspired my art project in which I address the issue of urban development threatening the survival of native endangered species.

“Being in Mr Hugo’s class has informed me about these problems and his ability to bring external information into his classes has encouraged me in my own pursuits. I now also hope to study Zoology at university.”

It is little wonder then that, because of all of his successes, Daniel says he is satisfied with his life right now.

“Hopefully I’m a good husband, a good father, a good son, a good friend and a good teacher,” he says.

WA Premier's Secondary Teacher of the Year 2018

We recognise secondary teachers who are a source of inspiration to their students. They know their content and how to teach it, and provide dependable and consistent influence as their students make choices about further education, work and life.

Proudly sponsored by BHP.


  • Daniel Hugo, Carine Senior High School


  • Graham Johnston, Warwick Senior High School
  • Nicola Pullella, Ashdale Secondary College
  • Ashley Stewart, Newton Moore Senior High School