Narrabri High School teacher Kathy Bailey has been named SIAHTO Woman of the Year.
Ms Bailey was named the 36th recipient of the award at the club’s annual dinner and changeover at the Narrabri RSL on Tuesday night.
Ms Bailey was surprised by the honour, beliving she was at the event to give a talk about Narrabri High School’s annual Cambodia trip.
The award recognises an outstanding contribution to the community by a local woman.
Nominees are typically people who work tirelessly to help others, and the citation for her award showed exactly how Ms Bailey had achieved that.
She moved to Narrabri 18 years ago after being appointed head teacher at Narrabri High School.
Ms Bailey and her two small children embraced their new community, which welcomed them.
During her time as head teacher, she began to offer programs to support and improve student well-being.
This included spending many hours above and beyond the call of duty to help students and their families cope at difficult times, and to resolve these difficulties.
She was often the first person students in crisis would go to, and this wasn’t necessarily in school hours.
Ms Bailey had supported numerous students who have had issues with depression, suicidal thoughts, and behavioural and emotional problems.
In these situations, she would often work alongside members of the family and caregivers.
She also had responsibility for Special Education staff and students, all on top of her head teacher role.
Ms Bailey had always taken a great deal of interest in the welfare of staff members at the school and had organised many events for staff, including retirement and farewell functions as well as social events.
All of this was done in her own time.
About eight years ago, she coordinated the Premier’s Volunteering Program for students from Years 9 and 10.
Around this time, she began researching the possibility of taking a group of Year 10 students from Narrabri to Cambodia.