Popular SuniTAFE teacher Kerry Frankel celebrated 40 years of teaching at the Mildura campus last Friday.

A morning tea was held for Kerry with many past co-workers and students in attendance, as well as CEO Geoff Dea, ABOVE left, and Board Chair ,Kay Martin, centre.

Kerry, 68, worked as a builder for 10 years before moving to Hawthorn to undertake teacher training, which he then used to snag a role at the Mildura SuniTAFE campus when it began operating in the early 80s.

Lauded by his coworkers and his students, Kerry has worked many roles at the campus, most notably a tremendous 25 years teaching furniture restoration.

“A lot has changed over time, we started in the secondary school system teaching apprentices and then moved here, but it doesn’t really feel like 40 years,” Kerry said of looking back on the achievement.
“I can’t really ever remember not wanting to go to work. It’s an environment I’ve enjoyed coming to, and having a mixed bag of roles over time has kept it exciting.”

As the teaching veteran has spent such a long time teaching different people and working with different people at the campus, he has had to adapt.

This is a skill he says he managed to fine-tune quickly.

“All students are different and you need to teach to their strengths. I’ve taught a lot of different people over time, so I’ve really developed my teaching skills in that regard,” he said.

“I still bump into students I taught 10 or 20 years ago in the street and they’ll stop and have a chat with me, so being able to teach these people and then hear from them again, it’s quite rewarding.”

Aside from his teaching, Kerry has a great passion for hot-air ballooning, which he has been able to tap into during his time at SuniTAFE Mildura.

“We’ve run the national hot air balloon championships out at the SuniTAFE grounds, in 2004 we used the grounds as a base for the championships. We had about 1000 international pilots come,” he said.

“Being able to experience stuff like that and show Mildura to the world has definitely been one of the biggest highlights for me.”

There is no doubt that many people around Mildura have benefited from Kerry’s ability to teach and assist, and there will be many more who do in the future.