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59 teachers and staff honoured for 50-plus years in NSW public education

NSW Department of Education 2 mins read

More than 3,000 years of combined service in the NSW public education system will be recognised when 59 teachers and staff are honoured for their dedication to the teaching profession at the inaugural Department of Education Service Recognition Dinner. 

The awards night in Sydney, on Thursday November 16, will shine a light on some of the most committed and hard-working educators in the state, with each individual recognised working a minimum of 50 years in public schools. 

The stories of teachers, school administrators and support staff who have logged the milestone are inspiring. They include: 

  • Hunter-based brothers Graham (Dungog High School) and Leo (Toronto High School) who have more than a century of teaching between them

  • Perry Celestino (Macquarie Fields High School) who developed the state’s first high school anthropology course and established the 1400-plus member Future Teachers Club 

  • Ruth Elston (Lane Cove Public School) who’ll retire at the end of the year following an incredible career that has taken her around the state since beginning with the department in 1965 

  • Bellevue Hill Public School principal Sue Bennett and school counsellor Delma de Kantzow who work together and have more than a century of teaching between them. 

Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car said: 

“To log 50 years or more of service with the one organisation is an exceptional achievement, but to do it in public education elevates it to the extraordinary. 

“Some of these teachers have been in classrooms since man first set foot on the moon, Australian troops were being deployed to Vietnam and the Beatles were fresh-faced mop tops causing teenage students to faint. 

“They have witnessed profound social and technological change and have continued to respond to new challenges and improve their teaching practice.” 

NSW Department of Education Secretary Murat Dizdar said: 

“During a year in which we’ve marked 175 years of public education in NSW, it’s fitting that we now celebrate significant individual milestones from people who have given so significantly to public education in this state.  

“So much passion and sacrifice goes into the teaching profession and many other roles within public education and I’d like to personally acknowledge and congratulate each of these 59 wonderful ambassadors. 

“Ultimately, it’s the students that benefit from their vast experience, depth of knowledge and commitment to helping multiple generations to learn – and for that we are incredibly thankful.” 


Contact details:

For further information or to arrange interviews contact Glenn Cullen at the NSW Department of Education Media Unit on 0460 005 755 or

Media Unit:


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