Fairy Meadow Demonstration School's new principal Alison Rourke has form in getting the whole school community involved in the teaching and learning of kids.
Mrs Rourke also knows what it takes to get the best out of an under-performing semi-rural NSW primary school.
After joining Buxton Public School as principal in 2016, Mrs Rourke emphasised instructional leadership and professional development to arrest a fall in results.
It is quite a complex space in that it has a preschool on site, it's got five support classes for children ... and then it is also the demonstration school.
In 2018, 33 per cent of students were in the top NAPLAN bands for reading and numeracy, up from 9 per cent in 2015.
"Children had little understanding of why they did what they did and certainly no understanding of why it mattered," Mrs Rourke said.
"We want to ensure each child is known, heard, valued and cared for."
This approach saw Mrs Rourke be one of only 12 Australian teachers to recently be awarded a Commonwealth Bank teaching fellowship.
Award recipients will receive $10,000 for professional development, $5000 for a study tour to Singapore and the opportunity to engage in a series of master classes.
In addition, $30,000 is allocated to the recipient's school for a project to improve student outcomes.
This year, 3500 educators applied for the program, which is a joint initiative with Schools Plus, an organisation connecting donors with schools in need to improve students' outcomes.
Schools Plus CEO Rosemary Conn said the 12 new Fellows were changing the lives of thousands of Australian students through their creative and inspiring approaches to education.
Mrs Rourke used an instructional leadership model to reinvigorate the school's learning environment and raise expectations of students, parents and teachers.
Her approach advocates for individualised teaching using specific, proven methods, while helping teachers critique their own practice from the point of view of students.
Mrs Rourke plans to use similar successful methods at Fairy Meadow Demonstration School.
And she is looking forward to creating long-term meaningful change for her pupils, school and the wider community.
"This is a fantastic place," Mrs Rourke said. "The reason that Fairy Meadow was on my radar was because of the complexity of the place.
"It is quite a complex space in that it has a preschool on site, it's got five support classes for children with learning difficulties or special needs and then it is also the demonstration school for the University of Wollongong.
"We have pre-service teachers here in the school every week and my staff here demonstrate best practice. I am really excited about that."