Principal: Loretta Hamilton

Congratulations to Miss Hamilton for winning the 2012 Australian Principal of the Year!

BEd, Grad. Dip. Ed. Admin., Grad Dip Comp. Edu., Dip. Tching Prim., I.T.F.

Loretta is currently Principal of Courtenay Gardens Primary School, in Cranbourne North, Victoria. Courtenay Gardens opened with 399 students in 1995 and through the years peaked as high as 870 students. The school has approximately 820 students this year. Over the past twenty-one years, through the hard work of the leadership team and staff, School Council and parents, the community and most importantly our children, we have become a centre of excellence where we constantly strive to be the BEST School in Victoria.


Personal Profile

Loretta has been an educator for over 42 years and in that time has held a number of roles including as a classroom teacher, teacher of the gifted, computer teacher and finally Principal. One early highlight in Loretta’s Principal career was the awarding of an International Teaching Fellowship – Principal Exchange to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A in 1998. For an entire year she was Principal of Peebles Elementary School whilst her U.S. counterpart was Principal at Courtenay Gardens Primary School.

As Principal of Courtenay Gardens, Loretta has seen many changes in twenty-one years.

Our excellent academic results, as evidenced by the National Testing (NAPLAN) results, are the culmination of much hard work on behalf of all in the Courtenay Gardens Community: students, staff and parents. Our children are performing where they should be in relation to the whole of the rest of Australia and above our ‘like school group’ in all areas of the curriculum. Loretta has ensured that we operate under the premise that all children can learn and given the necessary skills and resources we ensure that our children have the highest skills in literacy, numeracy, science, information technology and all other areas to compete in a global community.

Back in 1995 Courtenay Gardens opened with beautiful buildings, chairs and tables and a little office equipment. The school was indeed fortunate to inherit an entire library collection from the closed school of Mimosa P.S. in Glen Waverley. In the intervening time frame we have built upon these basic resources and used forward planning so that now we are extremely well equipped and more than capable of addressing the needs of all of our students.

Highlights in the resource area include the building projects of a computer room, 6 new classrooms, open space and storage areas; an extension to the staffroom and assistant principal’s office; 5 large shade areas; 5 adventure playgrounds and a fitness track. In 2002 Courtenay Gardens was awarded an Achievement Award for their grounds and gardens by the State Schools Garden Awards. All of these major projects have come about through major injections of funds and the sheer hard work of the local community.

Over the past five years we have again added to our buildings with a television studio, a performing arts centre, an administration upgrade and the building of a full sized gymnasium and new science room. For Loretta each of these resources has added much to the education of all of our children. Loretta is constantly striving to have Courtenay Gardens at the forefront of innovation and excellence and has tirelessly promoted the school within the local community and wider educational community.

Congratulations to Loretta, who over the past six years has been honoured with a number of state and national awards including the Victorian Principals Association Study Award 2009 and as a member of the Statewide Education Award - Innovations Award team. At the end of 2009 Loretta was recognised nationally with a Highly Commended as a Principal in the Australian Teaching Awards in Canberra. This award was presented to Loretta in our National Parliament House by Hon. Julia Gillard PM. In 2012 Loretta was nationally recognised when she was presented with the Australian Government’s Highest Award for Education - Australian Primary Principal of the Year.

All of these awards have been used as pathways for the school to be at the cutting edge of worldwide education curriculum development. This has enabled our staff and ultimately the children at Courtenay Gardens to be offered an education program that is widely recognised in the area, State of Victoria, Australia and worldwide through the OECD study of the school.

Loretta constantly strives with the staff and community to have the school recognised as world class and at the forefront of education for the children of the Cranbourne North Community.