APATA – The Australian Performing Arts Teachers Association

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Talking to APATA Winner Amanda Waddell on the APATA Podcast

Posted by Team APATA | Sep 14, 2022

As we open entries for the 2023 APATA National Awards Program we welcomed the chance to speak with this year’s APATA Performing Arts Teacher of the Year – Amanda Waddell – Head of Faculty for the Arts at John Paul College, Daisy Hill, QLD.

With a twenty-two-year career teaching performing arts, Amanda understands the benefits of arts-based learning. Her journey begins as a dance student with Broadway dreams, to falling in love with the art of teaching, and now leading the arts program at her former alma mater John Paul College.

Meet Amanda Waddell

“I have been teaching dance and drama for over 20 years across state, Anglican, and independent sectors.  I am the Head of the Arts at John Paul College.  I believe the way to a successful student is through the Performing Arts.  The dedication and passion that students develop through their commitment to the Performing Arts builds robust and resilient community members.

Through my first love, Dance, I have learnt to build classrooms which create strong relationships through honest communication and mutual respect. 

I want students in my classroom to feel empowered, to have a voice and learn in a safe environment where they can explore who they want to be.

I believe that the Performing Arts is an equaliser, it challenges and develops students physically and emotionally, creating an inner strength which others admire.

The Performing Arts has the opportunity for students of all backgrounds and beliefs to bond together.  I believe students that study the arts, become better people and citizens; they know how to create and give back.  My passion for Performing Arts Education is profound and has led me to a lifelong love of learning.”

Principal Karen Spiller OAM, Amanda Waddell, Angela Loh and Michael Sterzinger.

Amanda’s story weaves itself into the very fabric of APATA educators who love the performing arts and have found themselves thriving, guiding young people through their learning journeys.

A strong advocate for the arts in her schools past and present, Amanda is not shy about standing up for the programs and curriculum that her students care about. Her passions for teaching and arts education advocacy are deeply intertwined. The day she hangs up her teacher hat, you can bet we’ll soon see her lending a voice to the cause of recognising performing arts as a vital part of our schools.

For Amanda, life is one big performing arts lesson, and she is continually inspired to learn and connect to the world through the arts.

We welcome Amanda to our cohort of APATA Award Alumni and celebrating an ongoing journey as a teacher and leader in performing arts education.

Amanda Waddell and former student -now JPC Dance Co-ordinator- Maddy Garner


John Paul College – www.jpc.qld.edu.au

Amanda Waddell – 2022 APATA Winner Article

Watch Amanda’s Award Presentation: Presented by Michael Sterzinger, Executive Director of Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra and Camerata Managing Producer, Angela Loh: Watch Amanda’s Presentation HERE

2023 APATA Award entries are Now Open: Learn more


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