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08 March 2018

Ballajura principal wins 2017 Women of Achievement Award

The spotlight was on outstanding women in public education this morning, as Cheryl Townsend was awarded the 2017 Women of Achievement Award to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Cheryl Townsend

Cheryl Townsend, winner of the 2017 Women of Achievement Award 

Cheryl was recognised in front of her peers for her outstanding leadership and contribution to public education throughout her career.

As Ballajura Community College principal, her inspirational leadership has created a culture of pride, respect, collaboration and accountability at the school.

Cheryl says you can’t be an effective school leader without a great team behind you.

“This is an award for my whole school community and it recognises all of the wonderful things we have achieved together for our students,” she says.  

It was an added thrill to receive the award on International Women’s Day, and Cheryl says the Department of Education does a great job recognising women for their work.

“Education is a field that has come a long way in closing the gender gap and I have had so many opportunities that have made me the leader I am today,” she says.

“I believe more women should put their hands up for leadership roles because they will receive so many opportunities that will help provide even better outcomes for students.”

Cheryl has been the principal at Ballajura Community College since 2013 and under her leadership there have been significant improvements to student achievement and progress.

Staff feel supported through mentoring and ongoing development opportunities which they publicly acknowledged as part of the WA Education Awards, of which Cheryl has been a two-time finalist for the WA Secondary Principal of the Year category.

Beyond her school community, Cheryl was among the first Independent Public School Principal Fellows awarded in 2017.

She is also one of two Teach for Australia principal ambassadors in WA and is part of a network of 13 principals across Australia. Teach for Australia is part of a global movement dedicated to breaking the cycle of disadvantage through teaching and leadership in education.

As a network principal, Cheryl led a mathematics transition project to improve student numeracy from Kindergarten to Year 12. She worked with local schools to improve professional practice in the mathematics learning area, especially for students moving from primary to secondary school.

Women of Achievement Award finalists Deborah Bevan, Fiona Forbes, Nicole Turner and Alison Ramm were also recognised at this morning’s presentation.

Find out more about the Women of Achievement Award and the finalists.

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