This article reports on the first year of the Exceptional Teachers for Disadvantaged Schools project, a teacher education approach designed to prepare high quality teachers for low socio-economic schools. The Exceptional Teachers for Disadvantaged Schools (ETDS) project is an innovative way to prepare high-quality teachers for employment in low-SES schools. The program, based at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), offers a specialised curriculum, designed to equip high-achieving pre-service teachers for work in the schools that need them most. Selected pre-service teachers at QUT are invited to take part in the trial course, based on their academic performance over the first two years of their four-year Bachelor of Education degree, and on a demonstrated commitment to social justice. These participants undertake a modified version of QUT's B Ed on-campus curriculum. They have their practicum/field experience at one of a range of disadvantaged schools throughout Queensland which have agreed to partner with QUT in the program. In the past, teacher education for disadvantaged schools has been described as applying a 'missionary' or deficit model (Larabee, 2010; Comber and Kamler, 2004; Flessa, 2007). The principals of schools participating in the ETDS react strongly against such an approach, and have explicitly asked project staff not to send them anyone who 'thinks they can save the world'. The ETDS project has moved well away from such a model, towards a position that is explicitly centred on notions of academic excellence. The project is now at the end of its first trial year.