ROBERT Mulas of Blacktown received a Public Service Medal on Australia Day for outstanding work as principal of Fairfield High School.
He improved educational performance for students at a school that has one of the highest numbers of refugee students in NSW.
Mr Mulas also introduced a Parent Cafe program that provides a sharing and learning place for parents with limited English language skills, giving them the chance to engage in the community.
The success of this initiative led to recognition by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees who invited Mr Mulas and his students to present a case study in Geneva in 2012.
"We developed the Parents Cafe to be a global best practice model in supporting parents to understand their new school environment and support their children," he said. "Our next step will help develop social enterprise in a wide range of activities such as hospitality, clothing and IT skills.
"We are also completing a new facility to provide a teaching and learning space for our parents and the community."
He has also implemented a healthy school canteen strategy, with wide nutritional choices.
The citation says Fairfield High School has been transformed from an average performing school with many challenges to a stable and thriving school that consistently achieves good results.
"As a teacher and public servant in the NSW system I was surprised and grateful to be nominated," he said.
"I believe that this award acknowledges all the work that is done by the full range of public servants at the state and federal levels across Australia."
"We have had outstanding success with some of our HSC results over recent years and I look forward to continuing to drive the education agenda at Fairfield High School."