Mikayla is King at Ashfield Primary

Her passion has been rewarded after she was nominated for the Catholic Education WA young leadership award.

“I was stoked,” Ms King said.

Ms King works at Ashfield Primary School as an Aboriginal and Islander education officer.

The school has a population of just more than 100 students, 25 per cent of which are Aboriginal.

“I think it’s important to have Aboriginal teachers in our schools around kids and I’m really passionate about education,” she said.

Deputy principal Christiaan Moir said the school community was very proud of Ms King’s nomination.

“I think it’s fantastic. She is very deserving,” Mr Moir said.

“It’s great to get the recognition for the amount of work she does, not only in the school but in the community.”

Ms King is the first in her family to go to university.

She is about to begin her second year at ECU, studying a bachelor of education majoring in early childhood and diversity.

As well as teaching and studying, Ms King also juggles the role of project manager for Miss Naidoc and various other community activities.

But she appears to enjoy her busy schedule.

“My role is getting the school and the community working together,” she said.

“When I was on my teaching prac I found that schools that don’t have this (role) didn’t know how to work with the Aboriginal community as well.”

Ms King has been working at Ashfield Primary School for the past three years.

She said she was initially inspired to take on the role because her early school experience was not positive.

“Primary school was horrible,” she said.

“My sister and I were the only Aboriginal students and it was just not a very nice memory at all.

“I think as an Aboriginal person your cultural identity means a lot.

“It means you’re part of something bigger, and if that isn’t nurtured and developed then you feel a bit lost.”

Ms King was nominated for the award by Professor Colleen Hayward, the equity and indigenous pro-vice-chancellor at ECU Mt Lawley.

“Mikayla has demonstrated numerous leadership qualities throughout her work, community commitments and studies,” Professor Hayward said.

“She is an up and coming Aboriginal leader.”

Mr Moir agreed.

“She’s very proactive,” he said.

“She’s got a great relationship with the kids; the kids love her and when she’s not here they’re always asking for Miss King.”

Ms King said when she started there were attendance issues but it had since improved.

The attendance rate of Aboriginal and Islander students at Ashfield Primary School is now above 85 per cent, and academic progress has increased since the rise in attendance.

“I just want to be able to make a difference to these kids,” Ms King said.