October 30

The Queensland College of Teachers held their TEACHX Awards on Thursday night the 30th of October, 2020 digitally via video conference with some live components and some taped components. The next day was World Teacher’s Day. 

The previous year we had held the event in Customs House.

Last year I had been tapped to accompany the former chair of the Board of Teacher Registration (QCT’s predecessor) Miss Merline Muldoon last year. Miss Muldoon had just become the award eponym for the Innovation in Teaching category. She shared war stories with the finalists of the category. Long retired their individual experiences remained the same – their passion for education shared.

On that night as each Finalist received their certificate and each winner gave a short speech there was a feeling in the air that is hard to explain but contained good will, pride and optimism for the education of students across the state. It may be hard to quantify how such events elevate the profession but if you were there on the night you were left in no doubt that they do.

With COVID the challenge was always going to be how to create as much of this in a new setting without human contact.

I still remember 2019 winners Principal Andrew Peach speaking about education or the touching moment when Norah Parsons won – a teacher who had given so much to the mining community of Moura.

Last year I had been introduced by my manager in front of the finalists as the one who wrote half of their stories – a proud and rewarding moment for me.

I had been honoured to wait on Miss Muldoon.

This year I sat at my desk and listened to the ceremony on headphones.

The ceremony went well I believe and hopefully the teachers and their schools got something out of it. The nominees, finalists and winners were as deserving as any other year. 



Afterwards I was very kindly invited to go out with the rest of the team and celebrate the completion of all of our hard work. We had a little champagne at the Regatta and toasted each other and what we had achieved as a team.

Last year the TEACHX Awards, rebranded significantly by some very hard working and talented colleagues and with the media releases prepared by me and my manger, received unprecedented media coverage. 

At the time it was discussed that this would be highly unlikely to be repeated two years running due to the Awards being held in the final week of the Queensland State elections. 

Then COVID-19 happened and one result of the that was the shrinking of media offices in the country.

Despite this and due to the sterling efforts of my manager there was a lot of coverage in the press.

Of the teachers I interviewed.

Media Sponsor The Courier Mail wrote a large article about the Awards and all Finalists.

Quest Newspapers also covered the Award Categories and Finalists and highlighted five Logan teachers Ping Ding, Donald Cameron, Sophie Gruhl, Margaret Sherrington and Michael King. It also covered Cameron Lynch and Gavin Jones. I had interviewed Ping Ding, Donald CameronGavin Jones and Cameron Lynch.  

The Sunshine Coast Daily wrote an article about teachers Chantelle Amson and Alexandra Calligaris.

The Daily Mercury published an article on Clermont teacher Carly Bell.

The Morning Bulletin did an article on Ron Armstrong who runs the boarding of students at The Cathedral College.

CQ News also did an article on Ron Armstrong.

The Queensland Times wrote an article of Ipswich teacher Jodi Audoss.

Finalist Ben Habermehl was interviewed on ABC Breakfast Radio Brisbane by Craig Zonca and Loretta Ryan. 

Breakfast – Breakfast – ABC Radio

Finalist Donald Cameron was interviewed on ABC Breakfast Radio Brisbane by Craig Zonca and Loretta Ryan which is linked below.

How sports psychology could help your teenager excel in final exams – Breakfast – ABC Radio

A message from the Director of the Queensland College of Teachers was also published in The Courier Mail and can be found on the QCT’s website too.

Finally I will share one final story about one special teacher. 

My manager wrote about a shortlisted nominee 82 year-old teacher Dell Rathbone, she then interviewed Dell and wrote about her as a Finalist.

She won in the Outstanding Contribution to Teaching category on the night of 2020 TEACHX Awards.

Then no doubt with some help from my manager, Dell Rathbone was featured on the national television program The Project. To have shared Dell Rathbone’s story with such a wide audience is such a wonderful thing to have happened. 

-Lloyd Marken



TEACHX Finalists.jpg


On Friday the 4th of October I completed my secondment of higher duties with the Media Team at the Queensland College of Teachers in support of their work for the 2019 TeachX Awards.  It concluded 10 weeks I had worked full time as a writer for the first time in my life.

In the last two and a half weeks I switched gears from writing about nominees to interviewing 15 of the 30 named finalists and writing media releases based on those interviews. I was guided in this endeavour by the manager of the team who is a former journalist of many years and was preparing the other 15 along with various other work.

The aim with media releases is to have them grab the attention of outlets and good ones can go out with very little changes made by the publication when they print the story. I did what I could and through the efforts of my manager and with some luck, the TEACHX Awards received unprecedented media coverage.


The 15 Finalists I interviewed included the following below of which I placed links to their initial nominee pieces published on the Queensland College of Teachers website.

Beginning to Teach

Kirra Gold from Marsden State High School

Dr Susanne Sprungala from Kirwan State High School

Gabrielle Milne from Nursey Road Special School

Outstanding Contribution to School Community

Mitchell Robertson from Marsden State High School

Canan Coskun from Wisdom College

Excellence in Teaching

Ruth MacLean from Indooroopilly State High School

Catherine Nicholson from Chancellor State College

Michelle Ragen from Brisbane Grammar School

Innovation to Teaching

Wendy Goldston from Frenchville State School

Thomas Patterson from Marsden State High School

Excellent Leadership in Teaching and Learning

Tamara Sullivan from Ormiston College

Patrick Egan from Emmaus College

Lynne Hardy from Mackay State High School

Outstanding Contribution to Teaching

Catherine Heiner from Sheldon College

Kirsti Ellerton from the Brisbane School of Distance Education


Each one of these 15 were extraordinary teachers and first rate human beings, it was just a privilege to speak to them. Their own individual stories were endlessly fascinating and their passion for their chosen profession and the students they taught shone through.

Amongst them were people who had worked in remote communities, flown into burnt out Dili, become teachers after careers as biologists, engineers, lawyers and builders. Others who had known from a young age there was no other job they were going to do.

Whether they were immigrants, windswept travellers, beginning teachers or experienced lifers they all still burned with a passion for educating the next generation of kids.

Teachers involved in virtual reality and holograms, others part of programs that taught trade skills, grew cultural pride and knowledge and empowered local communities. Ones that taught at special schools, private schools, independent non-denomination schools, state schools and distance education schools.

In the days since my secondment ended I have been updated on where their stories have appeared and will now direct you to links although many are behind paywalls which is fair enough as media outlets strive to remain viable in this digital era.

Media Sponsor The Courier Mail wrote a large article about the Awards and all Finalists.

The Courier Mail also wrote an article about Marsden State High School and theirfour finalists Kirra Gold, Mitchell Robertson, Andrew Peach and Thomas Patterson.

The Courier Mail also wrote an article about Finalist Cathy Nicholson and online posted an article on Canan Coskun.

The Australasian Muslim Times also wrote an article on Canan Coskun.

Regional newspaper The Daily Examiner wrote about Finalists Belinda Rule and Lynne Hardy.

Regional Newspaper Daily Mercury did a whole article on teacher Lynne Hardy.

Regional newspaper The Morning Bulletin wrote an article about Finalists Patrick Egan, Wendy Goldston and Norah Parsons.

Local Quest newspaper wrote an article about three Finalists Michael Senior, Carla Trott and Ruth MacLean and another on Marsden State High School and three of it’s four finalists Kirra Gold, Mitchell Robertson and Andrew Peach.

Quest also wrote an article about Finalists Catherine Heiner and Tamara Sullivan.

Local newspaper The South-East Advertiser wrote an article on four finalists Megan Pearse, Gabrielle Milne, Kirsti Ellerton and Lynne Schylder.

The Townsville Bulletin wrote an article on Finalist Dr Susanne Sprungala.

Thomas Patterson was interviewed by Rebecca Livingston on ABC Radio Brisbane.

Lynne Hardy received television news coverage from 7 News.


7News also did a story on Finalist Tamika Megawatt.


Finally Wendy Goldston received Televison coverage from WINNews and then a competing network Channel 7 a few days later.


The TeachX Awards were held last Thursday night at the grand old building of Customs House with Finalists, Sponsors and VIPs attending.

84 year old Miss Merline Muldoon was there with the award category Innovation in Teaching recently named after her. I was lucky enough to wait on Miss Muldoon and her sister Janette.

Merline and Janette spoke to all finalists in their category and various VIPs who were keen to talk to them. Merline also presented on stage to each Innovation Finalist their Certificate and then congratulated the winner Jennifer Irving.

We were very lucky to have Miss Muldoon and other eponyms in attendance and I was honoured to spend time with her. She has a remarkable legacy in Queensland education.

A particular proud moment for me was when I was introduced by my manager to the finalists as the individual who had interviewed half of them. I was lucky enough to speak to a lot of them in person on the night.

It was noted by one winner Andrew Peach, on the night, all the positive energy in the air from the event and how we need to take that with us out into the education sector and through out our lives.

A full list of the winners can be found on the QCT website here

The awards had proven once again a success, the next day The Courier Mail printed a story on the winners on their front page and second page, a full feature on page 35 and an editorial piece by QCT Director Deanne Fishburn.

As for me, all I can say is, I was grateful for the opportunity. It bears repeating the event was a huge undertaking requiring a lot of work from a group of strong professionals. The aim was to recognise some of the great work that teachers are doing and to help elevate the profession.

When teachers such as these are involved and the people doing the work are so talented and committed it comes as no surprise to reflect the 2019 TeachX Awards were an unprecedented success.

I was thrilled to be in the room with such people.

-Lloyd Marken