FROM a teacher's aide to a primary school principal, Kim Saddlier has spent more than 20 years in the education industry.
And her dedication to the children she has taught and families she has supported in that time has paid off.
Ms Saddlier has been announced as a finalist in the 2021 Victorian Education Excellence Awards.
"I'm really humbled to be nominated for an award like this," she said.
"While I have been through an interview process so was aware of the award a few weeks before everyone else, it's still lovely to have someone think of me when putting an application in."
Growing up on a farm in Stanhope, Ms Saddlier always found herself wanting to teach.
"I may have had a bit of a unique journey I guess," she said.
"I came into education as a support staff member many years ago and back then I would have been an integration aide.
"Initially I was supporting students with disabilities in a mainstream school and I did that for four or five years before going back to university to continue my studies."
After completing her teaching degree, Ms Saddlier started this next step in her career in Shepparton.
"I spent a few years there before moving to Bendigo," she said.
"After teaching for a few years, I applied to take on the role of assistant principal here at Kangaroo Flat Primary School and I guess I've made the natural progression to principal about five and a half years ago."
Ms Saddlier said she had "always been drawn to leadership opportunities".
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"I'd always wanted to be the best I can be as a teacher and I was always draw to doing extra curricular activities or professional learning," she said.
"I wanted to learn more and address the needs of the students and I guess that's part of why I wanted to apply to higher up positions as they became available.
Ms Saddlier said her own teachers had inspired her to get into the education industry for herself.
"I had some wonderful teachers in both primary and secondary school that I really connected with," she said.
"My relationship with them certainly was fostered and I felt that being a teacher was a really great job to get into.
"I really wanted to be like them and be like some of the role models I had growing up."
Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards congratulated Ms Saddlier, whose work and commitment she said has improved the school and supported students to develop the skills, courage, and curiosity they needed to succeed in life.
"The Victorian Education Excellence Awards show our community what makes Victorian public education great and how we value the contribution of everyone working in our schools," she said.
"I'm very proud of the contribution being made by our local finalist."
The awards are the premiere employee recognition program for staff in Victorian government schools recognising inspirational teachers, principals, business managers and education support staff in public education.
A professional learning grant of $20,000 is awarded to each individual winner and a professional learning grant of $25,000 is awarded to each winning team.
Ms Saddlier will find out if she has won the award on October 22.
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