Outstanding Professional Service Awards

The PTCWA Outstanding Professional Service Awards recognise an individual member’s outstanding professional contribution to education in Western Australia, made in a voluntary capacity to their professional teachers’ association. As a member of PTCWA, MLTAWA makes a nomination if we determine that we have a worthy recipient for the year; someone who has shown dedication to the betterment of the MLTAWA over a sustained period in a number of different roles.  Awardees since 2007 are listed below.

2013 Nadia Civa 2012 Fulvia Valvasori 2011 Nathan Harvey 2007 Clare Buising

2007 – Clare Buising

Clare Buising has been an outstanding contributor to the Modern Language Teachers Association and its associated unilingual associations for over twenty years. In the past 10 years she has served on the Executive Committee in the positions of President, Past President and is currently the Treasurer of MLTAWA. Clare’s commitment to MLTAWA recently culminated in her role as a key organiser of the Australian Federation of Modern Language Teachers’ Association (AFMLTA) biennial national conference. Clare was the speaker coordinator who over a two year period of voluntary work put together a comprehensive and challenging academic program. Clare was also Treasurer of this conference, during which the MLTAWA accounted for funds in excess of $130,000. For a small association this is a huge accomplishment, done so under the guidance of Clare. Clare is one of Western Australia’s foremost educators in the languages field and readily gives her time to mentor new teachers. She actively promotes the work of professional associations, describing it as a professional responsibility to become involved and engaged meaningfully with colleagues or the good of the profession. She contributes to all MLTAWA publications providing the academic content desired by so many teachers. This is both time consuming and challenging work. Clare is a worthy recipient for this award having contributed over 35 years of her life to educating the young people in this state and many of these years as a volunteer within a professional association.

2011 – Nathan Harvey

Nathan has had the role of treasurer for the Modern Languages Teachers’ Association WA (MLTAWA) since 2010. During this time he has:

  • developed the process for the Professional Development Grant available to the single language associations affiliated with the MLTAWA
  • contributed to the streamlining of the electronic payment of memberships
  • worked on the subcommittee for the refinement of the MLTAWA constitution
  • participated in the selection of the recipient of the 2011 Hilde Dixon MLTAWA Award for Outstanding Languages Teachers
  • presented at and assisted in the organisation of the MLTAWA’s annual conferences
  • synthesised member feedback to consultation on National Curriculum
  • contributed regularly to the Associations’ newsletter

Nathan is the MLTAWA’s contact for The Mentoring and Reflecting: Languages Educators and Professional Standards (MoRe LEAPS) project which is managed by the Australian Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations (AFMLTA).

In this capacity Nathan works with WA teachers to meet the project’s aims of developing accomplished lead teachers of Asian languages by increasing their knowledge and improving their classroom practices to improve student learning, and by building their capacity for mentoring and reflective practice in teaching and learning language.

Nathan is a committed, supportive and innovative HOLA at Willetton SHS.

In recognition of this ongoing commitment to the teaching of languages and support of teachers of Languages, in April 2012, the Japanese Language Teachers Association WA (JLTWA) presented Nathan with their JLTWA Language Teacher Award.

2012 – Fulvia Valvasori

Fulvia is dynamic, dedicated and in her fifth term as president of the Modern Languages Teachers’ Association WA (MLTAWA). As president Fulvia has successfully achieved her main objectives to:

  • Heighten teacher and community awareness of the Association. Under Fulvia’s leadership, MLTAWA has experienced the largest increase in membership numbers of any MLTA in the country.
  • Increase the quality of and participation in MLTAWA professional learning. The Association’s annual conference in 2009 had 45 attendees, then in 2011 and 2012 there were more than 100 attendees. Presenters included interstate and international guests.
  • Strengthen the connections between the Association and its affiliated single language associations – this has been done through collaboration in professional learning and the establishment of a Professional Learning Grant to assist the SLAs with some of the cost associated with running professional learning opportunities for members.
  • Promote the MLTAWA in national contexts. Review the Association’s constitution and develop working guidelines to ensure explicit and functional processes are in place for future committees.

In 2007 Fulvia was awarded the MLTAWA’s inaugural HILDE DIXON MLTAWA Award for Outstanding Teacher in recognition of her outstanding organisation of the MLTAWA hosted 2007 AFMLTA National Conference, her ongoing involvement with the Western Australian Association of Teachers of Italian (WAATI) and the MLTAWA, and her commitment to languages education in WA.

Fulvia is also the promotions officer for the AFMLTA (our national body), president of Western Australian Association of Teachers of Italian (WAATI) and student exchange coordinator for WAATI (Fulvia has been doing this for more than 20 years!).

2013 – Nadia Civa

Nadia Civa has been an active member of the Modern Language Teachers’ Association of Western Australia since she joined the association in the early 90s and has served on the committee from 2008 as a committee member, membership secretary and for the last two years as Vice President. We believe Nadia to be a most worthy recipient of this award. Nadia has had to step into many shoes, particularly over the past few years as positions have become vacant through the school year or through a committee member’s illness. She has from time to time taken on the roles of president, treasurer and webmaster as the need has arisen.

She is someone who has both tenacity and willingness in equal measure. She makes sure our association functions at all times and has stepped up to ensure that. We have appreciated her willingness to try new ventures and be uncomfortable. She has put our association ahead of her own needs and we are very grateful. We commend Nadia to you to be a recipient worthy of the 2013 Outstanding Professional Service Award.

2015 – Helen Kuehs

Helen Kuehs is an outstanding advocate for Languages education and has been a member of the Modern Language Teachers’ Association of Western Australia (MLTAWA) for many years and the Vice –President for the past two years. She is a tireless volunteer on many other committees. She is currently President of the Teachers’ Association of German in Western Australia (TAGWA), Western Australian State representative for the Network of Australian Teachers’ of German (NATG), Member of State Council for the State School Teachers’ Union of Western Australia (SSTUWA), committee member of the Society of Australian German Student Exchange (SAGSE), District Council representative for Rockingham for SSTUWA, and committee member of the Baldivis Children’s Forest.

Helen is also an active member on a variety of subcommittees in the above mentioned organisations: Advocacy, State Conference, and Constitution Review, subcommittees for MLTAWA, the Deutsch-Australien Sprachverein (DAS) German Examinations for primary schools, State Conference, and German school students’ cultural visits, subcommittees for TAGWA Education subcommittee for the Baldivis Children’s Forest.

In these leadership roles Helen’s commitment and enthusiasm are evident in her active participation and ability to work collaboratively. She is a respected leader whose input is highly valued and who excels in all roles. The recent formation of the German Round Table is a result of her collaboration and networking with all stakeholders interested in the continuation of German language teaching and learning. Helen successfully co-chaired the official launch and continues to advocate for this cause at a political and local level.

Earlier this year Helen participated in the Australian Modern Language Teachers’ Association (AFMLTA) Train the Trainer for the Australian Curriculum Ready! Set! Go! National professional learning event. She then co-presented at the Western Australian event attended by over 100 participants. This was a successful day and demonstrates her ability to work collaboratively and effectively. Her ideas, organisational skills and professionalism added greatly to the success of the day.

Helen’s ability to motivate and inspire others is recognised by her being selected to participate in the Language Leaders’ Initiative through the Department of Education and Training. Helen is always willing to share her expertise with others and, in her role as Language teacher, has presented at National and State conferences as well as a variety of other professional learning events. Her topics are always relevant and based on current theory and best practice. Her work based on the Australian Curriculum: Languages cross-curriculum priority of Sustainability has been extremely well received with many teachers from various languages visiting her school to observe her practice. Helen’s varied articles have been published in the Szene, a national magazine for German teachers, local newspapers and school newsletters. These articles reflect her leadership roles and commitment to her colleagues and students.

Helen is a strong advocate for Languages education and is a hardworking, passionate leader who is a deserving recipient of this award.

2016 – Penelope Coutas

Penelope has been on the MLTAWA Committee in various positions for the past 7 years and is a highly valued member and colleague. She was the WILTA representative from 2010 to 2012 and then joined as a General Committee member in 2013.

Penelope took on the role of Webmaster in 2013, and then Webmaster/Membership Secretary in 2014. Penelope Coutas established the MLTAWA website in 2014 after a year of research and development. Since then she has been working tirelessly as a volunteer Webmaster and MLTAWA membership secretary. She maintains the MLTAWA Website by writing, soliciting and selecting articles for publication. Penelope liaises closely with the president and professional learning coordinator to create online registration procedures and forms and uses her creative and graphic skills to advertise events. The Webmaster role also involves moderation of the closed membership section where there are forums and jobs boards for members. As a result, the MLTAWA website is an attractive and user-friendly website, providing a professional looking platform and a one-stop shop for current and potential MLTAWA members.

As Membership Secretary, Penelope maintains the membership database for the MLTAWA, which is a parent organisation to 6 affiliated Single Language Associations (SLA), and sits under the umbrella of the Australian Federation of Modern Language Teachers Association (AFMLTA). Hence the role involves ongoing liaising and provision of membership data to the AFMLTA and SLAs and instigating capitation payment through liaison with the treasurer.

Penelope communicates regularly with members to renew membership and provides a point of communication for membership issues. Such positions require prompt friendly responses to continual daily enquiries and emails from our members, which now number 420 in total. Penelope’s ongoing contribution to the successful running of the MLTAWA is most appreciated and she is a very deserving winner of this nomination.

2017 – Kate Reitzenstein

Kate Reitzenstein has long been recognised as an outstanding and dedicated teacher of Indonesian and an advocate for the learning of languages, whether it be a second/additional language, or encouraging the maintenance of one’s first language/s. She is a long-time member of the MLTAWA, frequently presenting at conferences and other professional learning before formally joining the committee in 2013. In November 2015 she became president. 

Under Kate’s committed and expert leadership the MLTAWA has achieved many milestones during the past two years and is poised to continue to grow in future years. These milestones include:

• The fruition of the MLTAWA’s desire to recognise the important role that principals play in promoting languages with the presentation of the inaugural MLTAWA Principal’s Award in August 2016. The award acknowledges school leaders who have shown long-term commitment to their Languages program and promoted languages within the wider school community.

• Languages in the Mainstream (LiTM), a partnership project between the MlTAWA and the Office of Multicultural Interests. Kate had a pivotal role in the conception, development and implementation of a year-long series of activities and initiatives to promote language learning and celebrate cultural and linguistic diversity. This included four competitions aimed at a range of different language learners and users in our community.

• The revival of Languages Week, in August 2017 as the culmination of the Languages in the Mainstream project. This provided opportunities to engage students, teachers and special guests in a series of events aimed at showcasing student work and awarding prizes. The Languages Week celebrations were very successful due to Kate’s effort in building many strategic partnerships.

• The development of a training package for the Department of Education aimed at preparing teachers for the implementation of the Western Australian Languages Curriculum. Kate is the key writer of the package. 

Kate has had significant impact in the language learning space in Australia, participating in local and national projects and discussions. She uses social media as a tool to inform others, provide links to professional reading and to promote quality teaching. She actively promotes the positive impact of teaching professional associations on education and has recently supported teachers of Spanish to establish their own professional association, ASTWA. Kate is always a generous and encouraging mentor to both MLTAWA committee members, languages teachers and other colleagues.

The MLTAWA committee and membership thanks Kate very much for her hard work and dedication, and congratulates her on this well-deserved award.

2018 – Lynne Rockliff

Lynne Rockliff has been a dedicated member of the MLTAWA Committee since 2012. In this time, she has served in the roles of Professional Learning Coordinator from 2014–2016 and Membership Secretary from 2017–2018.

As Professional Learning Coordinator, Lynne enthusiastically facilitated and presented at a range of PL events. In 2016, she had a pivotal logistical role in the MLTAWA Biennial State Conference which attracted over 150 delegates.

As Membership Secretary, Lynne maintains the membership database for the MLTAWA, which is a parent organisation to six affiliated Single Language Associations (SLA) and sits under the umbrella of the Australian Federation of Modern Language Teachers Association (AFMLTA). Hence the role involves ongoing liaising and provision of membership data to the AFMLTA and SLAs and instigating capitation payment through liaison with the treasurer. 

Lynne communicates regularly with more than 420 members to renew membership and provides a point of communication for membership issues. 

Lynne’s commitment to her role on the MLTAWA Committee is reflected in her regular participation in committee meetings and events, even while teaching and living in regional areas.