Mary Giles – Shortlisted for Primary School Teacher of the Year 2023

DRUM ROLL – ST HILDA’S TEACHER EARNS MAJOR AWARD NOMINATION  St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls is delighted…


St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls is delighted to announce that Mary Giles, a teacher in the Junior School, has been nominated for the Australian Education Awards Primary School Teacher of the Year – Non Government.

Mary Giles returned to the St Hilda’s Primary School team in 2020 after working overseas and has made a significant impact on the School’s learning programs, culture and success.  

In her first year, she introduced Taiko drumming, a concept rarely seen at a primary school level. It was her belief that Taiko offers girls of any musical ability the opportunity to enjoy the thrill of playing together.  

Starting with a handful of students in 2022, Mary has grown the Taiko program from 16 to 56 students who practice and perform regularly, with the highlight of their performances being two performances in front of live audiences in the RAC Perth Christmas Pageant, the televised entertainment for Telethon, and taking workshops for the community at the Perth Royal Show last year. 

The energy-filled performances of Taiko drumming gives the girls leadership skills, confidence and an understanding of teamwork.  

As a result of her ability to create programs from scratch, last year Mary was asked to design a speech and oral presentation curriculum. A compulsory subject from Pre-primary to Year 6, she named the course Powerful Presenters which teaches over 300 students to speak publicly, present, and influence with confidence using a unique pedagogical blend of music, drama, choral speaking and motivation. 

Not content with that, she instigated a special project working closely with the specialist art teacher. The Belonging Project introduced Year 2s and Year 5s to a collaborative music and art project to improve their understanding of First Nations’ culture. The final outcome was a moving performance and presentation to the whole school on Reconciliation Week as well as a video and visual story book. 

Fiona Johnston, Principal of St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls, stated, “Mary epitomises a modern teacher who innovates, adapts and builds on her skills to give her students access to contemporary education. She is a role model and culture-setter at the School.” 

Mary Giles is the perfect example of a modern teacher. She looks for new opportunities to bring out the best in her students, no matter their ability. Mary asks herself every day, “How do I inspire these girls to think more broadly than their own backyard?” Her motto is: ignite a passion for learning, nurture talent and inspire the community. 

Mary Giles has made a significant impact on the learning and school culture at St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls. She is a deserving nominee for the Australian Education Awards, Primary School Teacher of the Year – Non-Government, and we wish her the very best of luck.