National excellence award for Maungaturoto teacher
A passion for the creative arts and her community has won a Maungaturoto teacher an ASG National Excellence in Teaching Award (ASG NEiTA).
Fiona Ofamo'oni from Otamatea High School is one of 18 regional recipients to be awarded, selected from almost 200 community nominations throughout New Zealand.
Now in its twenty-first year, ASG NEiTA gives parents, grandparents, school boards and councils and committees of management the opportunity to formally thank and recognise outstanding and dedicated teachers, who are passionate about encouraging students to reach their full potential.
Prior to teaching, Ms Ofamo'oni was employed in the creative arts profession. Her most enjoyable task involves teaching and mentoring teens who don’t find school the easiest place.
Her students’ achievements include merits and excellences at all three levels in the senior drama productions, as well as students on the autism spectrum engaging in theatre.
Fiona hopes to undertake further training to give better technical support to her production students, and find and connect with other likeminded professionals who can assist, support and critique.
ASG NEiTA CEO John Velegrinis says educators like Ms Ofamo’oni recognise that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, which is testament to their dedication and the impact they have on the lives of those they serve in local communities.
“In many respects, teaching is about giving, not only to children and students but to their families and the community networks around them. Some of the award recipients come from very small towns and do represent the heartbeat of these communities.
“Their teaching stretches beyond the core curriculum and standardised testing, and they also help children develop the social skills they need to develop into successful adults.
ASG NEiTA chairman Allen Blewitt says the awards highlight a long history of positive relationships being built between teachers and their communities.
“These teachers are also mentors and the influence they have on young people is remarkable as they learn to appreciate the value of lifelong learning as they navigate their life journeys.”
Auckland had seven ASG NEiTA recipients, followed by five in Christchurch and one each for Hawke’s Bay, Palmerston North, Rotorua, Invercargill and Timaru.
Fiona Ofamo'oni has made a big impact in her community through her students, both as a teacher and mentor.