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Inspirational teacher Mrs Leanne Lynch named 2024 Charlestown Local Woman of the Year

Premier Chris Minns, Jodie Harrison & Leanne Lynch
Premier Chris Minns, Jodie Harrison & Leanne Lynch

Charlestown Public School Assistant Principal Hearing Mrs Leanne Lynch knew she wanted to be a teacher, and a teacher of the deaf, from a very young age.


Today the Hon Jodie Harrison MP, Minister for Women and Member for Charlestown, announced the passionate educator and advocate for her students, and a foundation member of The Hunter Signing Choir, has been named Charlestown’s Local Woman of the Year in recognition of her inspirational work.

“Teachers are often the unsung heroes of our local community, and it is my pleasure to be able to highlight the significant impact Mrs Lynch has had, and continues to have, for students and their families across the local area,” Ms Harrison said.

“Mrs Lynch is clearly so passionate about her work with local students, teachers and the signing choir, she is a true inspiration.”

Mrs Lynch was diagnosed with hearing loss at the age of eight and has lived with major hearing loss throughout her life. She began teaching in Queensland before joining the NSW Department of Education in 1989, where she became involved in hearing support. She joined the Charlestown Public School teaching faculty in 2015.

As Assistant Principal Hearing Mrs Lynch is dedicated to finding the right accommodations and adjustments for students that will allow them to build the skills they need to succeed in what she says is still primarily a world geared for people who can hear.

She works with classroom teachers and families to develop skills and strategies to suit the needs of each child.

“I love what I do. I love working with the early intervention students, they are veritable sponges absorbing everything and that is amazing to be a part of,” Mrs Lynch said.

“None of it would be possible without my amazing team, and I want to thank them for hard work, support and incredible contributions.”

Mrs Lynch also runs conferences targeted at professional development for teachers working with hearing impaired students.

Mrs Lynch is an integral part of the dedicated team behind The Hunter Signing Choir, which celebrated its 30-year anniversary in 2023, and was one of its founders. Most recently, the Hunter Signing Choir appeared at the Australian Deaf Games opening ceremony in Newcastle on 13 January 2024. At open community events such as this one, former students who were members of the choir decades ago join in, which is a wonderful social experience for all the members, past and present. 

The Hunter Signing Choir will also be signing at the Seniors Gala Concert in Sydney as part of the NSW Seniors Festival.

The Hunter Signing Choir provides social, educational and performing arts opportunities for students who are hard of hearing within the entire Hunter region. It aims to promote confidence and positive self-esteem, as well as offering unique social and performance experiences for students.

In her spare time, Mrs Lynch has taught her rescue dog, who is deaf, to understand simple commands in sign language. 

Ms Harrison said: “This is a well-deserved honour for Leanne. Her unparalleled commitment and ongoing contribution to the betterment of the local community will shape our society into a greater place.

“Leanne is an inspiration for other women in the community to realise their potential and make strides to ensure Charlestown is an empowering place for women to live, work and visit.”

The Local Woman of the Year Awards is an annual program to celebrate the outstanding women in local communities. This is a separate program which runs alongside the prestigious Women of the Year Awards program.

The Local Women of the Year Awards is part of the NSW Government’s initiative to give recognition to the accomplishments of women as part of NSW Women’s Week 2024, running 4-10 March, coinciding with International Women’s Day on 8 March


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