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In celebration of 40 years of AVID in the USA, Dr Claire Brown, former National Director of AVID Australia, penned a letter that describes AVID's dramatic impact upon teaching and learning within Australia.

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow. Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence.

Vince Lombardi

AVID embodies Vince Lombardi’s quote with its attention to rigorous standards for all. AVID teachers learn quickly to never accept mediocrity or complacency – that we are lifelong learners striving to master the art and science of teaching. AVID’s values and commitment to education rigour scaffolds teachers to be the best teachers we can be so that our students can achieve their potential as productive citizens of our communities regardless of their zip codes or circumstances.

AVID teachers learn to “autograph our work with excellence” and model what it means to care deeply about every student entrusted to our care.


In 2011, AVID Australia was launched with a federal grant to test an American system of professional learning that might improve the quality of teaching and learning in every school where AVID would be implemented. Twelve years later, AVID Australia is preparing to celebrate our 10th Summer Institute while AVID Center is celebrating 40 years of autographing our work with excellence.

We are immensely grateful that AVID Center has trusted the AVID Australia team to apply AVID’s system of professional learning and allowing us to adapt it for Australian classrooms. Successive AVID leaders have provide positive encouragement and support allowing AVID Australia to engage, reinspire, and motivate teachers across our country. I thank Jim Nelson, Rob Gira, Sandy Husk, and Thuan Nguyen for the personal and professional support we have always received from each of them.

Personally, the privilege of starting AVID in Australia, mentored by one of America’s national education treasures in Mary Catherine Swanson, has been my most satisfying career experience. It is a role I have loved, even on the crunchy days! Before AVID found me, I was an average educator in search of purpose.

From Mary Catherine and AVID, I have learned why education is critical to sustaining healthy, prosperous, functioning communities. I have learned how to lead education initiatives and nurture teachers, students, and communities to never settle for anything less than their best. I have learned to fiercely defend our profession with cogent arguments and evidence to politicians, philanthropists, executives, teachers and leaders, parents and students. I have learned how to explain why teaching IS rocket science. I understand clearly the privilege of serving in education and model what it means to be a lifelong learner.

Fourteen years later, I am deeply and forever grateful to Mary Catherine for the honour of being mentored and guided by her.

The thing that separates AVID from any other professional learning system is that we – the AVID community – are bonded by our common purpose, and the humility of knowing we must continue to learn and strive to be even better educators.


Together, we all care for each other’s children whatever AVID school they attend anywhere in the world. That mutual care for each other and each other’s children explains the high levels of engagement we see without fail at every AVID event, especially Summer Institute!

I know that AVID teachers, leaders, and students will continue to lead education improvement across Australia and the USA. I hold to my dream of one day seeing an AVID-trained President of the USA and Prime Minister of Australia collaborating to improve the world through a Socratic Seminar! I intend to autograph my future work in education with AVID’s unwavering standard for excellence that I have learned and practised since 2009. I wish you continued success for AVID.