A Border principal has been left overwhelmed after achieving the highlight of her career.
Bandiana Primary School's Donna Wright was named Australian School Principal of the Year as part of the annual Australian Education Awards.
Ms Wright has enjoyed 13 years in the school's top job and has previously spent time at the helm of a Western Australian school.
In 2019 she received a Victorian Principals award and has earned national recognition as a teacher.
But the latest honour for a government school has become her highest form of praise to date.
"Someone said to me, 'this is the highlight of your career,' and I'm thinking is there anything better than being the Australian principal of the year?" Ms Wright said.
"I don't think there is.
"When you dedicate your life and your life's work, and then to find out you're acknowledged for that work, it's absolutely lovely."
Ms Wright began her career as a secondary school physical education and english teacher and spent time as a consultant across middle years before becoming a principal.
Forming relationships and watching the students talents grow is what she finds most rewarding.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"For me, I always think about what opportunity we can give children that allows them to flourish into the future," she said.
"A strong base of literacy and numeracy, as I say academic rigor, but also the opportunity to achieve success.
"Whether that's in the arts, dance, music or sport, it's about finding the best opportunity for students to celebrate their skills.
"Schools are about relationships and it's that positive interaction with people that keeps people coming back and the difference you can make to the lives of children."
Bandiana Primary School has been praised through the award for student attendance rates and high enrolment.
Capped at 275 students, the small school outside Wodonga often experiences interest beyond its capacity.
Ms Wright acknowledged the hard work of her staff.
"I'm the principal, so I lead the award, but the award is actually about the development of the school and the school culture," she said.
"Within that culture there's 20 staff that sit behind me really saying, ever my best."
It's been a whirlwind year for staff and students due to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly those in Victoria.
"It's a unique year," Ms Wright said.
"We've done our very best under trying circumstances.
"I think if we're optimistic towards the future, children will continue to succeed and so will communities, if we look after each other."