Peter Botsman Award 2009
Lea Harrison began her teaching career in 1983 after completing a Bachelor of Education at James Cook University. She began teaching at Keebra Park State High School, before moving to Atherton State High School and then Mirani State High School. She started teaching at her current school, Ryan Catholic College in Townsville in 1987. In 1992 she accepted the position of English Co-ordinator, and she has since held the position of English Head of Department for eighteen years. In 2008, she was appointed Acting Deputy Principal (Senior School) for three-quarters of the school year.
Lea is a passionate and dedicated teacher of English. Her commitment has always been totally and unfailing to the students in her classes, and classroom English teaching is her great love. A challenging and stimulating classroom practitioner, Lea is accepted by her students as a teacher who will challenge them to continually do their best, to explore alternate options or interpretations, to not settle for second best. Students know Lea always has their best interests at heart.
When one holds a position of leadership for a long time, there is always the possibility of complacency and acceptance. This is not the case with Lea. English at Ryan is constantly evolving and developing and units of work always reflect contemporary themes, issues and practices. Lea’s love of literature and reading is reflected in her choice of texts for study and in her constant searching for relevant, interesting and challenging resources.
As Head of Department for a very large college, Lea has direct responsibility for a team of teachers larger than the entire staff of many schools. Mentoring and developing staff is a crucial component of Lea’s position, and it is a responsibility she takes very seriously. Her contribution to the development of the next generation of English teachers is immense.
Lea also contributes to the English teaching profession as a whole, being a long serving member of the NQ English Panel. Her reputation in the North is immense – she is viewed as the consummate professional, the epitome of a competent and skilled English teacher.