Ed­u­ca­tor is State’s best

Southern Telegraph - - News - Emily Sharp

A Rock­ing­ham ed­u­ca­tor has been named the best in the State af­ter 22 years of ser­vice to the com­mu­nity.

South Coast Bap­tist Col­lege School of Early Learn­ing direc­tor Cather­ine Jones was re­cently named WA early child­hood direc­tor of the year.

Ms Jones said she was over­whelmed but hum­bled at the same time.

“I’ve been a fi­nal­ist be­fore but fi­nally I’ve be­come a win­ner — I’m quite chuffed, it’s a proud achieve­ment,” she said.

“I do have a brain tu­mour that I’ve had for two years so I think that’s prob­a­bly why it means so much.

“I’m still here and I haven’t let it get to me, and I think that’s what makes it so spe­cial.

“Re­gard­less of what you go through in life you can still reach goals.”

Ms Jones started run­ning Sun­beam Play­group in the 1990s for South Coast Bap­tist Col­lege be­fore the early learn­ing cen­tre was built.

A mother-of-four and grand­mother-of-two more, she has worked at the cen­tre for the past 11 years and still runs a play­group ev­ery Fri­day.

“It is the pas­sion I have for work­ing in child care that has got­ten me where I am to­day,” Ms Jones said.

“This is not a job for me, this is what I love to do.

“I think when you love some­thing you put all of your hard work and ef­fort into it.”

More than 300 chil­dren and a staff of 68 are un­der the lead­er­ship of Ms Jones, who aims to serve, in­flu­ence and in­spire those around her.

“In or­der to lead I serve, be­cause then peo­ple will fol­low with­out hav­ing to be asked,” she said.

“I want to show my staff that they do have what it takes to work in child care and ev­ery­one de­serves an op­por­tu­nity.

“For me, my great­est achieve­ment is to have looked af­ter chil­dren when they were two and now they are work­ing here and say they look up to me. I love what I do for the im­pact I have on chil­dren’s lives.”

Pic­ture: Emily Sharp

South Coast Bap­tist Col­lege School of Early Learn­ing direc­tor Cather­ine Jones.

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