Ms Tracy Goodwin, a nursing teacher at TAFE Western's Dubbo College, was named the inaugural Vocational Education and Training Teacher of the Year at the Western NSW Training Awards at a function in Orange last week.
Ms Goodwin is a proud Wiradjuri woman who grew up at Albert, a tiny community consisting of just two streets, 12 kilometres from Tottenham.
She was employed as TAFE Western's first fulltime Indigenous Registered Nurse and Teacher in 2009 and has been an integral part of the successful Aboriginal Health training programs run throughout western NSW.
Tracy is passionate about nursing and about improving educational and health outcomes for her people. She said that she came to the realization whilst working in health that you could only achieve change in outcomes for Aboriginal people by increasing the number of trained Aboriginal workers caring for Aboriginal people.
"I knew that I needed to be promoting and delivering educational and training opportunities for my people," she said.
"I believe I have made more of a difference in the health and educational outcomes of my people in two years at TAFE Western than in the 20 years I spent working in the health system."
"All teachers have a responsibility to let Aboriginal students humble them as educators and as people. Teachers need to step away from the role of expert, and listen and learn about the wealth of emotional intelligence that comes from Aboriginal people.
"We must walk beside our students - not in front or standing over them." The process of learning is a partnership and as a teach we can also learn"
Several TAFE Western students were also honoured through the awards including:
Ms Goodwin, and the award winning students, will now progress to the next stage of the NSW Training Awards with winners to be announced in Sydney on 15 September 2011.