South Australia’s North Ingle primary school principal, Dina Zunis (nee Stavrou) has received a prestigious honour at the South Australian Public Education Awards.
In a ceremony held on Friday, November 5, at the Adelaide Convention Centre the Greek Australian was the recipient of the Primary Leader of the Year Award.
“I am deeply honoured and proud to have been recognised for my work. I love working with children and help them progress with their learning and education,” Ms Zunis told The Greek Herald and stressed that the award is a result of hard work and the ongoing support of her family, mentors, the staff at North Ingle School and Preschool as well as the parent community.
“This award also acknowledges my personal history. I am the daughter of Greek migrant parents from the 60’s,” she said, reflecting on her heritage and the challenges she faced as a child of non-English speaking background.
“Born in Adelaide to Hristina and Vasilios Stavrou from the village of Kefalovriso, Argos, I commenced Prep at Prospect Demonstration School in 1971 without a word of English. My mother and my sister always encouraged me to seek my passion and give my best and my father encouraged me to be independent.”
Ms Zunis said that from a child who used to run away from school because she didn’t understand the language, she became a studious student as she felt “supported and really cared for” by her teachers.
“All my schooling was through the public system. I am grateful for that and have fond memories of exceptional teachers who shaped my journey in education.”
Ms Zunis also made special mention to her late brother Spiro who stood by her side throughout her studies and was the one who helped her in maths and science as well as her husband Theo and her sons John, Chris & Billy who motivate and inspire her.
Minister for Education, John Gardner congratulated all the finalists for their exceptional work.
“This year’s winners and finalists strive to support every child and young person to be successful and deliver a world class education system for all South Australians,” Minister Gardner said.
“The awards provide an opportunity to reflect on our achievements, be proud of the work we’ve done and where we are heading together.
“COVID has thrown some challenges at our educators and they have gone above and beyond to make sure education in South Australia keeps moving forward.
“We want every child and young person in our state, no matter what town or suburb they live in, or which classroom or kindy they attend, to be supported to fulfil their potential.
“Everyone in our state’s public education system is working together as a connected team towards one goal, to deliver world class education for all children and young people in South Australia.”
As an award winner, Ms Zunis will get $10,000 to be used for professional development.
“Whatever I do, I do with my whole heart, great passion and respect. These values I inherited from my parents and I try to model to my own children and students,” the Greek Australian principal concluded.