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Finalists
ShortlistWinnerJudges2019

2020 Dedicated Teacher Shortlist

Abigail Parratt – City Impact Church, New Zealand 

Teacher Abigail is the definition of going above and beyond. She dedicates time to every student by motivating us to do our best, especially with her funny homemade stickers and detailed feedback (even typing out pages for specific papers). Her laugh and funny accents lighten up the studious mood. But her effort doesn't stop at class, it extends to break, weekends and holidays, where she selflessly gives up her time for us. Every Tuesday, she would spend her free period to help me and I could email her on a Saturday night, and have a response before I woke up on Sunday. Her constructive criticism along with her encouraging words improved my grades from a D in the start of the year to a high B at prelims. Without Teacher Abigail's help (and tremendous amounts of feedback), I would never have gone into my English exam feeling confident and ready.

Alison Worthington – Coombabah State High School, Australia

Alison Worthington’s teachings were a turning point in my life. Being born legally blind, it was surprising I picked art as a coping tool, and although I showed passion, I lacked vision and technique. High school, junior year, Alison took me in, mentoring me in her lunchtimes and in the late afternoons before I was fortunate enough to join her senior class. Alison saw a talent in me I didn’t recognize, nurturing and encouraging my abilities, leading me to create works I only dreamt of producing. My artwork has headlined exhibitions and still stands as an example to future students who pass through her class. Alison is engaging, innovative, and inspiring; an artist in her own right who always delivers. While I believe Alison qualifies for all the categories in this award, I’d have to choose “opening up the world” because I know, without a doubt, she opened mine.

Amal Dadoun – British School of Sofia, Bulgaria

Amal is very responsible for her students and their knowledge. She will never give up on the students because of their difficulties and she will not hesitate to make extra lessons for a student in case they don’t feel confident in French. She had students who were stressed because they had IGCSE oral exams and she helped them via messenger. She created a WhatsApp group for those struggling. She recorded audio of her voice for the students who have issues with pronunciation. For the shy ones, she made a project – being a YouTuber – that they could do at home and then present in class for others. Since then, the students who used to be shy started talking confidently in French. She is open-minded, with both students and parents alike. My son and his friends adore her ways of teaching French.

Anjila Bista – Alok Vidyashram, Nepal

Globally, around 300 million people suffer from depression, and suicide is the second leading cause of death in teenagers. Having known Anjila ma’am for almost nine years now, she not only helped me fight depression but also acted as my life coach. She was there to motivate and inspire me throughout my school years and is still there on my journey to graduating from medical school. I’m sure I’m only one of many who learned life lessons from her. She is a role model that all the students look up to and has her ways to inspire students in a manner that no one else can. Being there for her students beyond working hours makes her the most dedicated teacher I’ve ever come across and not to be dramatic, but I owe my life to her.

Bernadette Fox – Lyford Cay International School, Bahamas 

Mrs Fox has inspired me to be a better educator. She is one of those educators who is intrinsically motivated to see that all of her students succeed. Most recently, my 3rd grade class got an opportunity to collaborate with her 5th grade class while they were learning about body systems. Mrs Fox saw it fitting not to just talk about body systems or show a video. She went out of her way and made contact with local organizations for animal organs such as liver, heart, brain etc. that the students could actually dissect and explore. This action I feel exemplifies what going above and beyond means. Additionally, although close to retirement, Mrs Fox consistently upgrades her pedagogical practice by seeking out professional development seminars and workshops to attend. Upon completion of any PD that she enrols in, she shares her learning with others. She inspires excellence.

B M Subramanya Swamy – Vidya Sanskar International School, India 

I believe Swamy sir to be the world's most dedicated teacher because he has always made learning interesting. He taught us A Level biology – a subject that has the reputation of being heavy, material-based and a lot of learning. But he made this subject so much more interesting and connected every topic to the real world, which made it easier to understand. He would encourage us to ask more questions about life and teach us in such a way that allowed us to unveil these questions by ourselves! To explain certain challenging topics like mitosis, he arranged activities that involved class participation – where students were grouped into 2 pairs to form sister chromatids! Till this date, I remember and understand these concepts very well. Currently I'm studying BSc. integrative physiology at the University of Alberta, and I believe that he has made a big contribution to where I'm right now.

Christina Ngaboli – St Constantine's International School, Arusha, Tanzania 

Her gentle voice, quiet manner and loving compassionate attitude is exceptional. A dedicated teacher, she makes even the school itself smile. Christina learned basic Chinese (in addition to Swahili) to ensure she knew when her new student needed the bathroom or was feeling unwell and she stays late reading to children when a mother is late. She is always the first to offer a helping hand and a willing ear to her colleagues, like when my dog died and when I missed my grandchildren. She is the first to welcome newcomers (teachers or not) and to volunteer with the Fun Day, the sports day, the school production, or to help make a costume for a child whose parent forgot it was dress-up day. Additionally, she is a wife and mother, a beloved teacher whose little Nursery and Reception students become enthusiastic life-long lovers of learning thanks to her. That’s dedication.

Claire Bishop – Charlotte Christian School, USA

Last year my school hired a new Upper School Latin teacher. She has rocked our world.

I have sat in Claire Bishop's classroom and watched her mesmerize her students. She integrates technology like a rock star, walking around the classroom with iPad and stylus, the smart board at her command. Her students translate a Bible verse at the beginning of each lesson, pray, then she jumps in with both feet. For 50 minutes, she covers grammar, vocabulary, history, culture, and throws in a game, project or skit to bring it all together. It is a beautiful thing. Did I mention she converses in Latin? She is building a spoken Latin program. Her energy is endless and she is one of the most innovative teachers I have EVER met. I aspire to be just like her. I pray to the gods she never leaves our school.

Danni Mattiazzo – Larrakeyah Primary School, Australia

As a Principal, I observe many teachers. Danni Mattiazzo is the most dedicated teacher I have known. She is dedicated to her students and profession and she works to make everything shine. One example was when she organized a whole school STEAM Day, which involved students working in mixed aged groups across the school to solve a problem involving Christmas characters. The problem was that someone had damaged Santa’s sleigh and let the reindeers out, so how was he going to deliver the presents. Danni was 7 months pregnant, yet she worked hours after school and weekends to organize the programme, developed videos so students could learn empathy, developed all the activities and assessment tasks, set up ‘crime scenes’ in the school (including one virtual reality) and worked with all teachers. It was an amazing day. Danni works her magic to make an ordinary school and ordinary lessons become extraordinary.

Dion Mulvey – Gems World Academy, Dubai, United Arab Emirates 

Dion is an inspirational physics teacher. He is enthusiastic and relates everything to the 'real world' when he teaches. His ability to allow all of his students to inquire openly is a model for all. One example is when I encountered him in the elevator one day; he was standing on a weighing scale as the lift travelled up and down and videoing the effect on his weight of distance from the earth. I also have seen him inspiring students by calculating the energy of the sun and what he can do with a laser is awesome. He is always eager to help develop teachers professionally and is a true star and expert practitioner.

Ewa Drobek – Żmichowska 15th High School in Warsaw, Poland 

Mrs Ewa Drobek is an English teacher at the Narcyza Żmichowska High School. As a human, Mrs Ewa is known as extremely affectionate and trustworthy among both her students and their parents. As an educator – I wish everyone could meet such teachers in their lives. Ewa Drobek is not only a great teacher. She created two classes of theatrical and architectural profiles. She was the originator of the school program called "Theater Walker", “Here I stand” – valuable cultural undertakings. She has also created “Żmichowska sings”, a project where a group of vocally talented students have the opportunity to record their songs in a professional music studio. Ewa Drobek is a tolerant and honest person. She devotes her private time to her students. I am very happy that I met her on my educational path. I am confident that there is no better candidate for this award.

Dr. Mary Shiny P Paul – Little Flower English School, Italy 

She is a wonderful person with the most dedication and patience that I have ever seen in my life. She worked hard as well. She has been sacrificing her life for the first migrant Cambridge International School in Rome, Italy. It opens the door for hundreds of grade c/d migrant workers in Italy, an opportunity to deliver an affordable English education to their children since it is too expensive in Rome. She started her mission without taking salary at the beginning. I am so proud to nominate Dr Mary – a selfless person who treats the children with unconditional love, care and positivity. Yes, it is a perfect shelter for English education. She appointed teachers from 9 nations to bring multi-cultural heritage. The school started with 21 children in 2017, now it has 100.

Joanne Booth – Beaumont Leys School, United Kingdom

Mrs Booth is an amazing teacher and cares so much about her students. During year 11, I received a grade 6 in my chemistry mock exams when I was aiming for an 8 and after that I became very frustrated to the point where I couldn’t smile. Mrs Booth worked with me during breaks, lunches and after school to help me better prepare for my exams, but not only that, she also taught me how to believe in myself. She herself cried with happiness when she saw my grades improving and she cried with happiness when seeing me open my results. Mrs Booth was the only teacher to successfully help me to believe in myself and in that upsetting time, she was the one who brought my smile back and I will always be grateful to her for that.

Melody McCambridge – Northside Primary School, Botswana

Melody is an extraordinary teacher who strives to deliver the most relevant and authentic learning experiences for her students. Since she started teaching Grade 6 at Northside, she has been an inspiration to many of our teachers! She enthusiastically joined me in a project of building a library for a local school and took this project to a new level. Melody involved her Grade 6 students by visiting the local school to learn together. She also managed to raise funds to buy more than 500 books for the new library and organized community days to cover the books and catalogue them. Melody is opening up the world of our students to the realities of our wider community and those less privileged. She is opening up the world for the students from the local school by helping to fill their library with books and exposing them to the world-class literature!

Hiba Abdulkalam – Waad Academy School, Saudi Arabia

Ms Hiba is a science teacher for grade 7 & 8. The reason of nominating her out of the 15 teachers in my team is her dedication and commitment to make her lessons extraordinary. Although she has a heavy load of 27 lessons weekly, she still walks in the hallways smiling and greeting everyone. Her spirit reflects a positive atmosphere in the school. She is always preparing materials for her lessons. Her lessons are enjoyable, engaging and effective. For example, when she taught a lesson on the heart, she bought a real goat heart and used it for explanation.  Her students’ performance is always on or above average. I have never received one complaint from a student, parent, or colleague about her. I admire her work, and hope she receives the recognition she deserves.

Farzana Momtaz – Chittagong Grammar School, Bangladesh 

Ms Farzana Momtaz has been an important part of CGS since 1996. She is an English teacher and heads the department of English. Her dedication and enthusiasm towards her profession has been praiseworthy. She has recently introduced a "student library" throughout the school. Students are asked to lend their favorite books for a year to the class. They all get to borrow one another’s books throughout the year. This is helping by promoting reading among students. In order to enhance vocabulary, she has asked all her students to prepare a personal dictionary for themselves and list all the new words that they will be learning throughout the year. She puts in a lot of effort while conducting her classes. Her lively conducting skills keep students focused and disciplined during her classes. She's an amazing inspiration to her students and colleagues and an asset to the school.

Mohana Ram Murugiah – SMK Perempuan Methodist, Malaysia

When I was chosen to taken part in the regional storytelling competition, I had always asked Mr Mohana “why me”? And he answered “Why not you?” I never had confidence in myself until Mr Mohana became our English language teacher. He saw the potential in me that nobody did. When he selected me to represent our school for the storytelling competition, I was very sure that I was going to fail, as I could not even memorise a line in the script. But Mr Mohana simplified my script and taught me the techniques of memorising it. He had also taught me the nuances of storytelling. He would spend hours after school to train us for the competition. He taught us to persevere and be determined. Without his guidance, we would have not been the 1st Runner-up of the regional storytelling competition.

Nicola Hill – Slade Primary School, Tonbridge, United Kingdom

Mrs Hill is the best teacher – she is so much fun and makes all our learning fun. She is also a football fan and we have lots of good talks about it, even though we support different teams. My brother also really likes her and she has made starting school fun for him.

She has started a group called Look for a Book in Tonbridge and Hildenborough to get children in the local area reading more. She has hidden books all over the place – she even hid one right outside my house for me to find! And we have hidden some of our books we are too big for too. It’s lots of fun, like hide and seek but with books. Mrs Hill is really great and I really think she should win!

Paul Douglas – Crompton House School, United Kingdom 

My teacher has made my passion for geography unparalleled and incessant. Whilst being head of humanities at school, he is also the chairman of our local Geographical Association, meaning that in his own time he is continually obtaining excellent resources and support that goes beyond the specification for us. His passion for geography is contagious and he frees up his holidays to take us on trips, such as Iceland, that open up the world. He is the most hard-working teacher I know and will be in school until closing most days – always ready to answer any geographical questions you may have. He ensures that every student has the best chance of success and runs lunchtime drop-in sessions to ensure that no one is ever uncertain. He will make sure every individual excels no matter what it takes.


Shahriar Parvez – Oxford International School Dhaka, Bangladesh

Mr Parvez is the most dedicated teacher I’ve seen. He taught my son chemistry throughout his O and A Levels. I never saw him grow so much, as a learner and an individual, under anyone else. I was quite worried when he opted to sit for chemistry for his GCEs, given there wasn’t anyone at home or in the family who could help him out. Thankfully, Mr Parvez quelled all our fears. He was a tireless mentor, discussing syllabus topics and past papers night and day until he was assured that he had fully come to terms with the material. I remember him calling Mr Parvez before his Cambridge papers, and was always astonished at how calmly he talked him out of all his worries. Our son continued studying chemistry at university and is now completing a PhD, a testament to his inspiring mentorship.

Surya Subha Banerjee – Calcutta International School, India

In India, we have a Children's Day celebration on the 14th of November. Every school does something special, like organise a picnic, programme or movie, etc. for all students. This year in school, we went for the movie Lion King and had cake afterwards. To much surprise, Mr Banerjee had written personal, handwritten letters to every single one of us! In yellow, enclosed envelopes, there was bright neon green coloured sheet. On the sheet, Mr Banerjee had written us each our very own appreciation letters with our strengths etc. mentioned in it. It made everyone so happy. How hard he must've worked to do that for everyone! At any turn, he does not refrain from going an extra mile to help any of us. He is our friend and I think the closest teacher to all the students.

Teri Eves – Island School, Hong Kong 

Ms Eves is very enthusiastic and dedicated to teaching English and thinks of innovative ideas to keep us students engaged and motivated in her lessons. She also cares a lot about her students, both personally and academically, and goes out of her way to accompany us to competitions. She's played a large role in connecting Island School, an international school, to the local community by organising events with our neighbouring local school (Ng Yuk Secondary School), which range from Community English, writing stories together, basketball games and gardening walls. I believe Ms Eves pushed me out of my comfort zone when she taught me English and has helped me become a global citizen.

Tetiana Suleimanova – Pavlograd School 9, Ukraine

Mrs Tetiana is an amazing person. Her uniqueness lies in her kindness, justice, creativity and professionalism. She turns every lesson into a mini-performance. We sing irregular verb raps. We represented ourselves as realtors and sold haunted houses on Halloween. During studying the problem of global warming, Mrs Tetiana turned the room into a crime scene and us into detectives. We investigated evidence and the case. She created a courtroom in the classroom, where I was a judge and my classmates were juries, defence and prosecution lawyers, criminals and spectators. We analyzed our mistakes that we made during the test and passed the sentence on what marks we deserved. She definitely deserves to win. I want to dedicate my life to teaching. I want to be like her.

Vineeta Garg – SRDAV Public School, Delhi, India

I would like to nominate Mrs Vineeta Garg. She is a passionate educator working for 25 years as IT Head. Looking at the interest of students, she has designed Android apps, blogs, gaming apps, audio-visual books etc. so that students can learn anytime, anywhere at their own pace and on the device of their choice. Her e-content is available for free and is benefitting thousands of students across the world. She has written and composed her own songs on coding so that students can overcome the fear of learning programming languages. To address the challenges of cyber-threats she has designed Android apps and also written a rap song. She was awarded National e-Raksha award for her rap song. She has also won National Award for teachers, 2019. Her “Robotics-For-All” campaign has helped to plant the seed of STEM in a young workforce, including special needs and underprivileged students.

Pavan Gollakota – National High Jakarta School, Indonesia 

From dropping watermelons from the school rooftop, to serious lectures in class, Mr Pavan always had new ways to teach us the different concepts of physics. Unlike other teachers, he makes sure to include fun experiments in the midst of the hectic schedule to finish the syllabus. He spends time searching for such experiments and lets his creative mind roll. Who would’ve expected that we would come in a classroom sticking candies to each end of a straw and taping them together horizontally to demonstrate the movement of waves? To top that off, his great enthusiasm and creative ways of conveying lessons made it less of a chore to learn physics IGCSE and A Level. Throughout the 4 years of being under his guidance, he never failed to outdo himself each year, giving his best in every class he taught.

Reyhan Olgun – Edirne Süleyman Demirel Science High School, Turkey

When I decided to study literature, I didn’t know I’d be the luckiest person. I am so, because I met the most inspiring teacher in the world, Reyhan Olgun. In 2004, we met her for the first time as our English teacher. She was the type of person who worked miracles with her students. She took us to live performances of many Shakespeare plays. Plus, she started a theatre club and we performed Hamlet in English on stage! This was a life-changing experience as I grew up in a small, middle-class town in İstanbul. Now as a scholar with a PhD in literature, I organized the first and second Shakespeare Festival in Turkey in 2018 and second in 2019. Next year, I’ll be at MIT for a postdoc research to study Shakespeare in Turkey. The greatest debt I owe, and one I will continuously work to repay, is to Reyhan Olgun

Ritika Rawat – FirstSteps School, India

Being diligent and always open to learning, Ritika is a facilitator who guides her students in all aspects within and beyond the curriculum. Her involvement with V, VI and VII graders in preparing for Saevus Eco-Achievers Science quiz, bagged them a Gold Medal in Chandigarh Zone and representation at National Level. She loves to take initiatives for organising fetes with games to see the smiles on students’ faces. She had been regularly preparing students for science exhibitions and model making representations at various levels. She teaches science by linking it with everyday life activities and conducts practicals in the science lab as well as out in nature. With the students’ help, Ritika got the compost pit made in the school premises for the classes’ biodegradable waste and kitchen waste disposal. Her inclusion of extra assignments and study materials speaks a lot about her belief of teaching beyond books.

Sara Tenler – Thomas Jefferson High School, USA

Sara is the most committed, passionate teacher I have ever met. She is a tireless, fearless advocate for all students. Our school is one of the most diverse in the state of Washington, both in terms of race and socioeconomics. Sara believes that all students have the right to quality academics. She teaches her IB 20th century class in a way that gives every student the confidence, and capabilities to be successful in a rigorous class. That’s why you find students who would normally never take an IB course taking her class. It’s not just the academics though, their social emotional health is her priority. Sara recently started a ‘You Talk, We Listen’ group, which is a forum for students to communicate to staff their hopes, concerns and wonderings in a safe and productive environment. Every day, Sara brings her best to our school, and we are so lucky.

Shumaila Shahzadi – Habitat School Ajman Al-Jurf 2, United Arab Emirates

When I came to my new school, I was faced with strange things, such as language, classmates, teachers, many books and the strangest and most important was a new curriculum, because my previous school's curriculum was not in English. I got fewer marks in many subjects and a very bad mark in SST – I got 2/40 marks.

I appreciate all my teachers, but my class teacher more because she was helping me so much. She spent her time for me, even in her free periods, I used to go to the staff room and she would explain the lessons line by line. With her support, I finally got good marks in the final term and that 2/40 changed to 73/80. She was supporting us academically, behaviourally, morally. Sometimes, she even used to play games with us.

Sarah Kleven – American International School of Kingston, Jamaica

Sarah Kleven is the most amazing science teacher I have ever encountered. I visit her classroom just to learn new things, and she's happy to share! Sarah spends hours breaking down material for her students with guided notes. She uses the environment around her to inspire students to interact with science, like painting driftwood or using water bottles as an artistic recycling project to explain what is happening to the ocean. She collects bones, shells, and other items from beaches in order to let students touch and see scientific concepts. Everything in her classroom is such that students of all ages visit out of curiosity and leave delighted with something fun to share with friends. Sarah has inspired students to make a garden, start a composting program, speak to the government about clean water, and treat worms with more respect. With Sarah as a teacher, science is interesting and accessible.