Korowal School’s award winning deputy principal, Nancy Oosterhoff is retiring after a distinguished teaching career.
Ms Oosterhoff began teaching at Korowal in 1993. During her 24 years at the school, she has taught thousands of primary school children, guiding them through to high school with a human centred approach to education.
She’s also played a leading role in the development and sustainability of independent ‘alternative’ education systems in Australia.
Early in her career, Ms Oosterhoff noticed her student’s immersion in creative and imaginative play. Observing the children’s natural curiosity fuelled her passion for innovative approaches to education.
“It was a perfect beginning to a teaching career and established very early on for me the value of creativity, play and exercise,” she said.
Now, on the eve of retirement, her overriding emotion is gratitude. “I feel so thankful to have worked in such a beautiful environment. Not only is the school set in picturesque grounds, but the beauty of collaboration with staff, students and parents has been unique and inspirational.
Earlier this year, Ms Oosterhoff was awarded the Western Sydney University Community Award for her significant and sustained contribution to human-centred education in the Blue Mountains.
“Nancy has refined a model of education that emphasises classroom and community relationships around the theme of ‘kindness’,” observed Dr David Wright, of WSU’s department of education.
“Thanks to her efforts, Korowal will continue to be seen as an exemplar of independent education systems.”
Ms Oosterhoff is looking forward to spending time with friends, tending to her garden and reading great books.
But her retirement will not mark the end of her connection with Korowal; she plans to volunteer there on a regular basis.
School principal Barb Fitzgerald said as a beloved teacher and leader Ms Oosterhoff will be missed at their Hazelbrook school.
“Korowal School is deeply indebted to Nancy for her many years of tireless educational leadership. She is an exemplary educator and her legacy will live on in our school.” Ms Fitzgerald said.
A celebration will be held on Sunday December 4 at Korowal School. Former students and those with a connection to the school are invited to attend an afternoon tea from 1pm-4pm. RSVP to the office on 4758 7466.