Aunty Amy Levai
Aunty Amy Levai, guest at Ardtornish Primary School, 2012

This week 10 Aboriginal employees from the SA Department of Education (DECD) were awarded Scholarships to undertake teacher education.  The scholarships are named after Aunty Amy Levai, the first Aboriginal  Australian to be registered as a teacher in South Australia…

From 2013, the Scholarship will support the winners through a new Aboriginal Pathways into Teaching pilot program at the University of South Australia.

SA Minister of Education Grace Portolesi said the program would help to lift the representation of Aboriginal Australians as teachers.

Amy Levai is an inspirational teachers and highly regarded for the dedication, professionalism and compassion she brought to her teaching,” Ms Portolesi said.

I am pleased to name this scholarship in her honour, and support more young Aboriginal teachers to continue in her footsteps.

The winners were Coby Edgar, Colleen Haseldine, Verna Koolmatrie, Anita Taylor, Nat Loadsman, Narelle McKenzie, Robyn Coulthard, Michelle Knitschke, Vanessa Solomann and Tanya Fielding.

They were all Department for Education and Child Development Aboriginal employees from a range of positions including child care, school support and liaison officers and will continue working part-time while studying.

The recipients will have access to mentors, tutors, scholarships and study release.

Once participants have successfully completed the program, they will be supported to gain permanent employment as teachers in the public education system.

Ms Levai, 82, blazed a trail in education, forging a successful career teaching in schools from 1958 to 1993. She has taught at many kindergartens and schools including Mount Margaret, Parkside, Williamstown, Eden Hills, North Adelaide and finished her career at Kaurna Plains Aboriginal School in 1993.

Ms Levai said it was an honour to have a scholarship awarded in her name.

Teaching has been my life, it has been the thing that I loved doing the most,’ she said.

To be able to give to children and help them to learn, grow and move forward is a very special opportunity.’

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