FOUR schools in the Cessnock LGA have been named finalists in the prestigious Australian Education Awards.
Kurri Kurri High School is a finalist in two categories including Best Professional Learning Program and Best School Strategic Plan.
And one of the school's teachers, Lisa Scobie, has been nominated for the Education Rising Star of the Year award.
Kurri Kurri High School deputy principal Alan Hope said the awards acknowledged a new approach to education.
"For us, it's a nice sense of achievement for all the every day hard work of our staff," he said.
"We are having to think outside the box, and we are looking at how we can support our students. It's a positive thing for thinking about education differently.
"It's a major achievement for all the schools."
St Philip's Christian College has Darren Cox nominated as Primary School Principal of the Year - Non-government and Graeme Irwin is a finalist for School Principal of the Year - Non-government.
In the category of Best STEM Program, Cessnock Academy of STEM Excellence is a finalist.
Cessnock High School's Scott Sleap has been nominated for Teacher of the Year.
Dr Sleap said he felt "very special" to be acknowledged, but the nomination belonged to his school.
"It's really nice to be identified as a teacher, personally, but it is actually a team effort. It's an indication of the great work of the school," he said.
"I'm extremely proud of what we have been able to achieve."
Dr Sleap added the number of nominations coming out of the Hunter reflected the calibre of the teaching and programs.
Mount View High School is also a finalist in the best student wellbeing program.
The winners will be announced at a gala dinner on August 16.