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Awarded for service to Education and Training
Entered on roll: 2006
Born in Portarlington, Ireland, Dr Sheila Given was educated in Ireland and in 1945 obtained her school certificate from the University of Oxford. In 1949, she successfully gained her National Froebel Foundation Teacher Certificate A (1 st Class). After being widowed at an early age, Sheila raised her four children alone.
Since immigrating to Tasmania in 1967, Sheila has served the Tasmanian community in a great variety of educational capacities. She taught at The Friends’ School from 1971 to 1986, becoming the head of the combined Preparatory and Junior Schools. After retiring, she continued her education studies at the University of Tasmania, which culminated in a PhD in Educational Administration in 1993.
Sheila is highly regarded within the Tasmanian education community and has been a major advocate for lifelong learning. She was the inaugural President of the University of the Third Age in Kingborough (2000-02), playing a pivotal role in its establishment. She assisted in the development of the Tasmanian Plan for Positive Ageing 2000-05 and co-founded TALENT (the Third Age Learning Network of Tasmania) in 2001.
For seven years, Sheila wrote a weekly column about older people for the Sunday Tasmanian. She also wrote the history of The Friends’ School, entitled In the spirit of family: The Friends’ School, Hobart, 1945-1995, published in 1997.
Sheila is a member of the TASCOSS Tasmanian Social Policy Council, Kingborough Stronger Community Working Group, Adult Learners Week Working Group, Council on the Ageing (COTA), and Chair of the Positive Ageing Consultative Committee.
Sheila’s exceptional contribution to the community in education has been acknowledged with many awards, including the Margaret Record Award for Outstanding Service to the Tasmanian Chapter of the Australian College of Education, which she received in 1993. Her commitment to advocate for older people was recognised when she was named the Commonwealth Senior Australian Achiever in 1999. She received the Media and Arts Alliance Award for excellence in reporting on Older Tasmanians in 2001, as well as a Certificate of Appreciation from the Seniors Bureau in 2003.