Rayna Shelley, Head Teacher VET/Science/TAS, Department of Education and Communities

Rayna Shelley, a resident of Liverpool, has been nominated for the 2013 Women of the West Award for her commitment to exemplary education practices in Greater Western Sydney.

A proud descendant of the Kamilaroi Nation, Rayna is considered an elder in the school community and is regularly called upon to give advice and guidance and to provide an insight into Aboriginal affairs and culture.

Based in Macquarie Fields, James Meehan High School has a high proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Pacific Islander students, as well as a significant number of students with special needs. The student body has also been affected by the community regeneration programs in the region, with 230 families having been relocated.

As a teacher at James Meehan High School since 2008, Rayna has been instrumental in introducing courses and programs that create new opportunities for her students. She is accredited to teach a range of Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses and works to make VET a vehicle to improving students’ lives.

As a direct result of Rayna’s initiative, James Meehan High School is equipped with an on-site professional kitchen, where students can practice their skills in commercial cookery. As an extension of this initiative, a Metals and Engineering Trade Trading Centre has been established at the school for the benefit of the wider community as well as students. She also arranges for excursions into large companies, so that students can see first-hand what it is like to work in the ‘real world’.

Beyond her day-to-day duties, Rayna has regularly carried out extensive periods as Deputy Principal, head teacher, team leader, and chairperson of the Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) committee, where she has instituted new policies and procedures which ensure that the school retains a best practice standard for safety and first aid.

In the community, Rayna always presents herself as a positive role model and inspires young people through her participation sporting activities and community events.

Rayna’s mother, Aunty Norma Shelley, was nominated for the Women of the West Awards in 2011. Her nomination was supported by Gail Taylor, Principal of James Meehan High School.

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