Rooty Hill High School’s staff and students take great pride in proving postcode stereotypes wrong.
Its rigorous approach to improving student outcomes saw the school last year ranked in the top 40 most innovative schools in Australia by education news magazine The Educator.
None embody that philosophy more than teacher Yasodai Selvakumaran, who has been selected as one of The Educator’s ‘rising stars’ for 2017.
Ms Selvakumaran was one of only 30 Australian teachers aged under-35 to be named on the list. She told the Star it was “quite an honour”.
Alongside her teaching role, she works as a professional practice mentor – helping to improve other teachers’ performances through self-reflection and honing in on their passions.
“A lot of people on that list are principals and leaders,” she said. “I was very surprised to be included.
“But it’s nice to know that they are acknowledging other ways of leadership.”
Ms Selvakumaran first joined Rooty Hill for a university placement in 2009 and returned as an intern in 2010, which led to a full-time role.
“I have done a lot more in my career than I could have imagined,” she said. “That’s all down to the opportunities Rooty Hill has given me.”
Rooty Hill’s school captains Logan Carling and Sabrina Zaman only had words of praise for Ms Selvakumaran.
“Teaching is such a tough job so it’s great to see her get some validation for doing such an excellent job here,” Logan, 17, said.
Sabrina, 17, who was taught by Ms Selvakumaran in year 7, said she was “very proud” of her teacher’s achievements.
“As a student it’s immensely great to see her succeeding like this,” she said.
“For her it’s a massive milestone and she deserves to be recognised.”
Logan said he and Sabrina regularly attended leadership conferences, and the school had forged a strong reputation in Sydney.
“Recognition like this gets our name out there,” the Mount Druitt resident said.
“People still tend to look down on us because of where we are from.
“We take great pride in our school and what we do here, because it proves the doubters wrong.”