Mackay North State School teacher Lena Saunders never forgets about her students and they never forget about her. “Many past students still call in to see Mrs Saunders when they return to Mackay and comment that their year with her was one of the best in their educational journey,” says the mother of a student in Lena’s Year 5 class. She keeps on hand in her classroom warm clothes for children who come to school without a jumper. “No child will go without in her classroom,” a parent says. At school, sporting, parent and community events she is always there helping out in the background. She attends the NAIDOC family days and catches up with school families both past and present. She can be found at school most days before six o’clock planning the day ahead, and even after 57 years in the profession she has never stopped professionally learning and revising her practice.
Over the decades she has taken over 50 university practicum and high school work experience students. Her lessons are out of the box and can be out of the classroom, resulting in her students being highly engaged and her class receiving above state-average NAPLAN results. Parents of previous students in her class request to have Mrs Saunders teach their siblings. Since the local high school opened 55 years ago, the primary school teacher has attended every speech night to congratulate past students on their achievements. Known in the community for her kindness, fairness and positivity, when asked how her day is going she replies, “It is always a good day, as I was with my class”. Congratulations Lena on your nomination.