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Awarded for service to Education and Training
Entered on roll: 2007
Sandra Reid was born in New Norfolk and studied at the Launceston Teachers College before finishing her Bachelor of Education by distance education. Sandra has lived and worked as a teacher on Cape Barren Island for the past 30 years. For most of this time, the Cape Barren School was the only one-teacher school in Tasmania.
One of the major programs Sandra instigated at the Cape Barren School was the unique ‘artist in residence’ program, which is still running today. Emerging and well-established artists from all over Australia are invited to spend one or several weeks within the community and work with the children from the school.
Through this residency program, Sandra has delivered outcomes in the school community well beyond the normal school curriculum. Students have been exposed to a variety of creative experiences including dance, visual arts, writing and drama.
The experience the artists bring to the island has been invaluable for such an isolated community. Apart from benefiting the students and community of the island, the residency program is also assisting artists to acquire a better understanding of life in a remote community and to break down barriers between indigenous and non-indigenous people.
For much of the time, Sandra is solely responsible for teaching, administration and activities relating to the running of the only school on the island. She undertakes her responsibility with vision and innovation.
Sandra has been an inspiration for the young women on Cape Barren Island as well as to artists and teachers in the wider community. Through her work in education, her dedication to the community and her belief in the importance of creativity, Sandra has promoted equal opportunities for Aboriginal students and made a difference for many students through the opportunities provided.
Sandra’s professional life often merged with voluntary social activities outside school hours, such as dinner dances, bonfires and plays that bring the community together. Sandra’s ongoing commitment to her students was recognised in 2002 with a Learning Together Award for Educational Excellence for her outstanding contribution to education in an isolated community.