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Teaching excellence rewarded


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Head of Technology, Allyson Duncan, is fulfilling a long-held dream to attend a cooking school in Italy, after being awarded the 2018 Marily Scanlon Award for Teacher Excellence at last year’s Prizegiving. “I was so honoured and humbled to win the award, as there are a lot of good people doing good things at St Andrew’s College. To use the prize money to do something I’ve always wanted to do is very exciting.”

The Marily Scanlon Award recognises a teacher for their contribution to teacher excellence and the wider life of the College, and was generously donated by Jay, Maris, and Francis Scanlon in memory of their wife and mother, Marily.

Allyson has enjoyed a long teaching career, which started at Casebook Intermediate, and has seen her teach at several schools around New Zealand before joining St Andrew’s College 16 years ago. For the last 12 years she has been Head of the Technology Department, which encompasses Food Technology, Textiles, Digital Technology, Design and Visual Communication, and Hard Materials. “It is a busy and diverse role, and there are always lots of things happening. Although we use different materials in the various subject areas, the processes for the students are very much the same.”

Alongside leading the complex department, Allyson teaches Food Technology, with her students consistently achieving strong NCEA results. “My primary focus has always been on food. It’s my passion and I’m interested in everything from food production and preparation to the nutrition side.”

During her time at St Andrew’s, Allyson has also managed many touch and netball teams, and in 2018, was manager of the highly successful Senior A netball team.

Allyson is attending a week-long, live-in cooking course in Lucca, an historic city in Tuscany, which she has visited before. “I have fond memories of my time in Lucca 12 years ago, so was delighted to find a wonderful course there. The reason I chose it was because some days we are in the kitchen preparing food, while at other times we will be offsite, perhaps attending a local market, visiting the wineries in Chianti, or travelling to Palma Campania where the famous ham comes from.”

Allyson is looking forward to sharing her learnings and experiences from the course with students on her return. “It will tie in nicely with part of a Year 11 unit, which focuses on pasta, as we look at the influence of other cultures on New Zealand food. I hope to have lots of great photographs to show the students and share some learnings about food in Italy they wouldn’t get from a textbook.”

During her trip, Allyson will visit other parts of Italy with her husband, and youngest daughter and her partner, who are accompanying her. 

“There will be a great balance between family time and doing something on my own, which I’ve always wanted to do. How lucky am I?”

Rector Christine Leighton says Allyson was a deserved winner of the Marily Scanlon Award, as she exhibits exemplary professional standards at all times. “Allyson models commitment to students, the teaching profession, and St Andrew’s College, and as a lifelong learner herself, has encouraged and supported members of her department to embrace innovative technologies to further expand students’ horizons in their subject areas.”


Allyson Duncan receiving the Marily Scanlon Award.
Head of Technology, Allyson Duncan, is fulfilling a long-held dream to attend a cooking school in Italy, after being awarded the 2018 Marily Scanlon Award for Teacher Excellence at last year’s Prizegiving.