A woman who grew up and was educated from kindy through to Year 12 in the Public School system here in Parkes has been named the South Australian School/Preschool Leader of the Year.
Kerryn Jones, who is the Director of the Roxby Downs Kindergarten, was named one of seven winners by SA Premier Jay Weatherill at a special function at the National Wine Centre in Adelaide.
She was the only early childhood education winner from a record 1900 nominations across seven categories.
To get to the final Kerryn was first named School/Preschool Leader of the Year for the far North and Aboriginal lands region.
Kerryn is the daughter of Ray and Marg Jones of Pine Road, Parkes.
In a front page story in the Roxby Downs Sun newspaper, it was reported that Kerryn had expressed both shock and excitement when told of her major success.
Premier Weatherill, who also was acting Minister for Education and Child Development, commended Kerryn for her endeavours in creating a culture of excellence at Roxby Down Kindergarten and developing a professional networking hub with other educators and schools across the region.
The award came with a $20,000 cheque for use towards professional development opportunities which Kerryn said would be directed back into early childhood training programs at the Roxby Downs Pre-School.
Kerryn said she still remembers her own kindergarten teacher here in Parkes – stating it was probably the reason she chose to become and early childhood educator.
In fact she returned to the Parkes Pre-school whilst studying for her degree to undertake work-experience.
Today, Kerryn enjoys being part of a child’s early years – building their well-being and helping them develop a sense of community and self-worth to take through life.
She was quoted as saying that the days where children should be seen and not heard were over.
“If children feel successful, as successful learners, they are strong in their own well-being before they start school.
“They are starting (life) on the front foot.
“I remember my kindergarten teacher – I just loved her so much.
“I’m sure that’s why I became a kindergarten teacher, because I adored her,” Kerryn said.
Kerryn started her teaching career in the mid-1980s in New South Wales and arrived in South Australia in 1988.
At first she worried that she wouldn’t be able to get a job.
She was soon teaching early childhood studies at three different TAFE campuses in Adelaide, as well as the University of South Australia, and also worked in the Early Years curriculum unit at the Department of Education office in the Adelaide CBD.
Kerryn then took on leadership roles within kindergartens at St James and Pennington and then did another stint in the curriculum area at the state head office, before following husband Julian Tregenza to Roxby Downs three years ago.
Kerryn said working with the Andamooka School and developing the Ipad Learning Stories pathway in both early learning programs at both schools had been a real highlight during her time in Roxby Downs.