Peter Botsman Award - 2015
Simon is an English teacher who, on every level of his practice, leads by example. His relationship with imaginative literary expression is wide ranging and authentic.
In school, Simon has helped to develop innovative curriculum opportunities for students to develop their literary voice (both written and performative.) He has spear-headed a poetry slam at his school, Kelvin Grove State College, as well as leading the integration of slam poetry into the curriculum at his school, including facilitating regular collaboration with artists from across Australia and overseas. As such he has brought his teaching colleagues along with him on this journey and a shared enthusiasm for poetry has been a most welcome outcome.
Beyond the school, Simon is the MC of Speedpoets, Brisbane's longest running performance poetry event, and he has published three poetry collections in the last two years. Simon has shared his passion at English teacher conferences at both state and national levels, and routinely works to support young writers as they transition from the schooling context into the broader arts community.
In 2014, Simon negotiated and delivered the Queensland Poetry Festival's first showcase of student poetry and in 2015 is coordinating Brisbane's first inter-school youth poetry slam, involving schools across the public and private schooling sectors, and across education districts.
In these ways and many more, Simon is routinely integrating his teaching of English into the broader arts community, and helping students to further appreciate the real-world of the literary arts. His innovative practice, deep commitment to the literary art of poetry, and professional initiative are having a significant impact on the education landscape and, as such, he is a worthy recipient of the Peter Botsman Award