The Golden Apple Impact Award is given to the person or organization who most effectively, most positively and most significantly impacts Illinois’ students. This award is given to a private individual, company, policy maker, or decision maker who has impacted the lives of so many in Illinois by his/her engagement and positively and significantly affected education in Illinois.

On Tuesday, October 30, 2018, Golden Apple honored Phyllis Lockett, CEO, LEAP Innovations with the Golden Apple Impact Award. Phyllis has been dedicated to transforming education in the U.S. for more than a decade. She is currently the founder and CEO of LEAP Innovations, an organization headquartered in Chicago that connects innovation and education to transform how students learn. LEAP works directly with educators and innovators across the country to pilot, research and scale personalized learning technologies and innovative practices across classrooms and outside learning environments.


Impact Award Eligibility Criteria

  • Demonstrates fearless leadership in the face of adversity

  • Wholly dedicated to better outcomes for all students in Illinois

  • Delivers an aspirational vision for the future and the strategies to achieve the vision

  • Modernizes engagement with students via technology and access to relevant global peers

  • Facilitates gatherings of leaders in education, business, philanthropy, and technology to improve the education experiences of students

  • Inspires entrepreneurial groups of individuals, organizations, or coalitions to improve outcomes for students

  • Invests resources to affect change in innovative ideas, technology, and/or organizations

  • Demonstrates data-driven, research-based decision-making while increasing innovation

  • Engages multiple stakeholders in the delivery of services to students most-in-need

  • Consistently uses sound, unwavering, ethical judgment


Previous Impact Award Recipients


Arne Duncan

Deborah Quazzo

Pat and Mike Koldyke