Bernie Toohey of St John Fisher College has been announced as 2019 UQ
HMNS Inspirational Teacher of the Year.
Two days shy of World
Teacher Day, Bernie was presented with this prestigious award at the ACHPER University of
Queensland, Women in Sports breakfast on Wednesday 23rd October. The Women in Sport Breakfast is a yearly event which is attended by
approximately 800 school girls from the South-East Queensland area.
Bernie has been working in education since graduating from UQ in
1990 and is currently
a full time HPE teacher at St John Fisher College. She is also the Year 7 and 8
Coordinator, runs the Year 7 and 8 HPE program as well as the College’s netball
Head of Sport, Ms Tamara Sparks, who
supported the three nominating students in putting Bernie forward, says her
passion for sport is fierce as is her dedication to her students.
2019, Bernie has demonstrated great commitment to the College training, running and organising 13 interschool
netball teams. In addition to this she coordinates and coaches the Vicki Wilson junior and senior
netball teams as well as
coaches the junior, intermediate and senior QC Cup netball teams. She also
coaches the QISSN netball team which travels to the largest independent schools’
netball carnival each year and has recently become Team Manager for USC
(University Sunshine Coast) Thunder competing in the inaugural Hart Sapphire Series.
“Bernie has been instrumental in the
uprise and recent success of netball at St John Fisher College and with over 30 years of netball experience
at the State, Australian and
International level including previous Team
Manager of the Queensland Firebirds and Australian U16 Schoolgirls Teams, she is an
absolute asset to the College”,
says Ms Sparks.
Nominated by Courtney
Winter, Marina Pataanga and Kaiyah Gordon, all keen St John Fisher College netballers,
the students see her as an inspiration on and off the netball court.
Year 10 student, Marina Pataanga
comments; “The qualities of a health and physical education teacher are
difficult to assess but easy to spot”.
“Mrs Toohey is one of the most
dedicated, hardworking, fun-loving teachers at St John Fisher College.”
“She expects great effort and
accomplishment from her students, regardless of the level they are working at;
constantly helping students work towards reaching their goals.”
her acceptance speech at the ACHPER award presentation, Bernie expressed her gratitude
to the St John Fisher College students and Ms Sparks for nominating her for the
award. “I feel incredibly honoured to be receiving such a special award given
that I know first hand that there are so many amazing, hardworking HPE teachers
in other schools across the state. I am definitely one of the lucky ones working
in a wonderful College where the students and school community have gone out of
their way to show their appreciation for my commitment and passion as a HPE teacher”.
Bernie also mentioned “that as a former UQ graduate, as well as being both a
mother and a HPE teacher, it gives me great personal satisfaction to be
receiving this award at a Women in Sport event in front of my two remarkable daughters
who to my delight, are both currently studying to be teachers. Perhaps I should
retire soon and pass on the baton! Fortunately,
I still wake up every day loving my job so I honestly don’t see myself giving
up teaching any time soon.”
The inspirational teacher
award coincides with World Teacher Day, a timely opportunity to acknowledge the
positive difference teachers make to young people’s lives.