Passionate Carlton resident awarded Public Service Meda

Passionate Carlton resident awarded Public Service Meda
Brendan Rees

For long-term Carlton resident, Kate Rattigan, the opportunity to work in the education sector is not only a privilege, but also a chance to contribute to society and make people’s lives better.

“There aren’t many jobs more important than being a teacher and through my team’s specialist services, we have tried to support great public education by having the right processes, systems and assurance in place,” she said.


In recognition of her outstanding commitment to public education in Victoria for more than 20 years, Ms Rattigan was awarded a Public Service Medal (PSM) as part of this year’s Australia Day Honours list.


The award acknowledged her “outstanding public service to leadership and the delivery of improved products and services in the education sector”.

The PSM recognises outstanding service by employees of the Australian Government and state, territory, and local government employees.

It’s an honour Ms Rattigan said she never expected but was “extremely honoured and earnestly grateful”.

“It was not something I had ever imagined, given the significance of the contributions to society of the other recipients,” she said.

“I was even embarrassed considering the dedicated and talented team of people I work with, who are the proper recipients of this award. Then I thought about the opportunity it presents to inspire young women into leadership and public service, including my school-age daughters who were thrilled when they heard the news.”

Ms Rattigan added the award was extra meaningful in that she had followed in the footsteps of her late grandfather Alf Rattigan, who was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in January 1960 and appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for his contributions to public service in 1982.

According to a statement issued by the Governor-General’s office, which announced the awards, “Ms Rattigan’s influence will have a lasting impact on the way legal services, operational policy and other supports for school leaders are managed in the State education sector”.

It also noted she has led significant reforms at the state and school levels to improve student outcomes, as well as support the health and wellbeing of principals across the state.

Ms Rattigan’s career highlights include creating a centre of excellence for legal services for Victorian government schools in 2012, as well as being part of a large-scale integrity reform program in the Department of Education from 2016.

And in 2020, she supported her staff to create “a digital, accessible, one-stop-shop policy advisory library for all Victorian government school leaders so that they can find the operational compliance information they need to keep thriving”.

In terms of her connection to Carlton, she said she still “felt lucky to be part of a tight-knit community” after having grown up in the area and attending Rathdowne Street Primary School (now Carlton Gardens) and University High School for a couple of years.

“After all these years, I still get my books from Readings, meet friends for pasta at Tiamo and eat gelato in Lygon St, and it’s extra lovely when my daughters and I bump into their grandparents at Brunetti’s!” she said.

“One of the things I love most about living here is being able to walk to work through the beautiful Carlton Gardens. I couldn’t think of a better way to start the day.” •

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