Lincoln-Way North's Linda Egnatz wins Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching, presented with award in surprise visit.
by Ann C. Piasecki
New Lenox Patch
Lincoln-Way North High School teacher Linda Egnatz got the surprise of her life—and a Golden Apple Award—during a visit from Golden Apple representatives May 1.
Egnatz, who teaches Spanish III, Spanish IV, Spanish V, AP Language, AP Literature at Lincoln-Way North High School, was presented with a Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching in front of her students.
An excited and overwhelmed Egnatz thanked the administrators, those involved in her nomination and the students.
“When I see my students interacting with locals in another country, I know they are prepared,” Egnatz said in a Golden Apple press release.
Her students develop the confidence that builds motivation, and they make connections that engender global understanding and respect for cultural diversity. Egnatz said she feels the most important thing about her job is to move beyond the robotic emphasis that used to be placed on learning a language. When students leave her class, she wants them to be fluent and globally marketable. She wants them to know the culture and appreciate the contributions made by other cultures.
Golden Apple has recognized outstanding Chicago-area educators annually since 1986. The creation of Golden Apple founders Mike and Pat Koldyke, the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching recognizes and honors outstanding teachers for their contributions to building a stronger, better-educated citizenry, according to a press release.
Each Golden Apple Award recipient receives a tuition-free, spring quarter sabbatical to study at Northwestern University. Each recipient also receives a $3,000 cash award. Perhaps most importantly, Golden Apple teachers become Fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators, providing a stronger voice and a larger stage from which to make an impact in education. Fellows participate in ongoing professional development and engagement in education reform, as well as provide instruction and mentoring of future teachers through the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois program, which has prepared 1,400 college students to teach in schools of high need in Illinois for a minimum of five years.
"We are thrilled to present these superb elementary school teachers from the Chicago area as emblematic of the thousands of devoted teachers in high school bringing their students confidence and hope through their daily instruction,” said Dominic Belmonte, President and CEO of Golden Apple, the press release noted.
“We happily join these ten to the legion of the Golden Apple Academy previously recognized in pursuance of our mission to transform teachers and teaching.”
The recipients of the 2013 Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching will be honored at a black-tie event on October 25, at WTTW/Channel 11 Studios in Chicago. WTTW will also broadcast the awards in a one-hour television program following the event.
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Previously, Egnatz was honored at an awards ceremony in Columbus, Ohio and is now one of five finalists for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages “National Teacher of the Year” Award to be announced in Orlando, Fla. this November.
“It's an honor to be recognized as a Teacher of the Year,” said Egnatz, “but it also challenges me to be worthy of the title.
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