Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching & Leadership


The Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching & Leadership was the idea of Golden Apple founders Mike and Patricia Koldyke, who felt that excellent teachers did not receive adequate recognition for their contributions to building a stronger, better-educated society. 

Every year since 1986, Golden Apple has selected outstanding teachers to receive the prestigious Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 2014, Golden Apple began honoring exemplary school leaders with the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership in honor of Stanley C. Golder.

High school teachers and Pre-K-12th grade school leaders from throughout all of Illinois will be honored at the Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching & Leadership on May 18, 2019.


2019 Excellence in Teaching Award Recipients 


Corey Winchester, Evanston Township High School

11th & 12th Grade

United States History (Honors and AP), Sociology of Class, Gender and Race and Critical Leadership Development

Winchester considers every interaction with families and students in and out of the classroom to be urgent. He says that time with high school students goes by quickly and every moment counts. His work focuses on helping students and families with marginalized identities find success in education. He uses history as a vehicle to help students develop a sense of self, a consciousness for others and a sense of community. Winchester is known at Evanston Township High School for his passion for teaching and his commitment to equality. His colleagues say he builds and sustains relationships that are grounded in trust and respect with students, parents and peers. Parents of students say that having Winchester as a teacher can profoundly change the trajectory of students’ lives for the better. In his classroom, there is no failure. He finds a way to help all of his students succeed.


Judith Tyler, Maine East High School

11th & 12th Grade

AP Biology, Gifted Lyceum Leadership for Life 1 and 2, Teacher/Instructional Coach

Tyler works with her students to help them become aware of their own potential, their own biases and their perspectives through lessons, experiences and reflections that expand their knowledge of complex societal issues. She empowers her students to work to solve the inequality that faces our nation through service and understanding. Her colleagues say she has played a significant role in helping to build a learning culture at Maine East High School which has resulted in increased levels of achievement for all students. Tyler also contributed to the development of a robust selection of Advanced Placement and Dual Credit course offerings, and an ever-expanding system of academic supports and interventions for students at every level of achievement. Parents of her students say Tyler teaches much more than a subject; she teaches her students how to be good people and world citizens. She is the teacher who makes students want to come to school every day. She is an inspiration to the entire community and is the heart of the school.


2019 Golden Apple Awards For Excellence in Teaching & Leadership Finalists 

Each year, we celebrate our teacher and school leader finalists at the Celebration of Excellence in Teaching & Leadership. The Celebration of Excellence puts the spotlight on our finalists and highlights the impact they are making in their school communities. This year, we honored 32 high school teachers as finalists for the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching and eight Pre-K-12th grade school leaders as finalists for the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership – generously sponsored by the Stanley C. Golder Family.

Excellence in Teaching Award Finalists

Excellence in Leadership Finalists



Golden Apple Award recipients become lifetime members of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators.


Watch the 2018 Golden Apple Awards