Staff Announcement - October 2017

Today, we are excited to announce a few organizational changes to ensure that Golden Apple is prepared to excel and succeed in the 2017-18 school year and beyond.

Vice President of Curriculum, Research, & Accountability

Dr. Melissa Fischer has delivered results and done a terrific job as the Director of Research & Accountability at Golden Apple for the past two years.  As a result of her performance, leadership, and the diverse background that she brings to her work, her role is being expanded and she is being promoted to become the Vice President of Curriculum, Research & Accountability. Her heart lies within instructional coaching, mentorship and curriculum development - including comprehensively preparing aspiring teachers with valuable teaching experiences in the field. Melissa has been a teacher in more than one urban system, a teacher team leader, educational consultant and has supervised clinical experience in student teaching for undergraduate teacher preparation at Loyola University. Additionally, she has been an instructional coach for teachers and led a math tutoring program.

In her new role, Melissa will retain her responsibilities of Research and Accountability while adding the responsibility for the instructional design and scaffolding of our Summer Institute preparation. 

Melissa graduated with her Ph D. in Cultural and Educational Policy Studies from Loyola University Chicago; has her Graduate Certificate in School Supervision and Administration from Johns Hopkins University; has her M.A. in Elementary Education from Bowie State University; and her B.S. in Inclusive Elementary and Special Education from Syracuse University.

Director of Mentoring

Effective this week, Kesa Thurman-Stovall will join The Golden Apple Foundation as the Director of Mentoring for the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Program.  

Kesa is a 1992 Golden Apple Scholar, a Crystal Apple Recipient, and has served as an educational consultant for Golden Apple as a Summer Institute Director and Mentor to Teaching Scholars.  She brings over 10 years of teaching experience to Golden Apple, with roles as a K-8 instructor in Chicago Public Schools (CPS), Lead Teacher and Lead Plus Teacher. In addition to her teaching experience, Kesa also served as a New Leaders Resident Principal and a highly successful Principal.  

Kesa is an Illinois State Board of Education REACH Certified Evaluator and has her Professional Educators License along with her Illinois Type 75 Administrator Certification.  She graduated with her M.A. in Educational Leadership from Governor’s State University and has her B.A. in  Elementary Education from National Louis University. 

With teaching, school leadership and mentoring experience, Kesa brings the perfect combination of skills to the Director of Mentoring position at Golden Apple. 

Manager, Development, Talent, and Operations

Valerie Smith has excelled as the Development Coordinator at Golden Apple over the past year and will now serve in an expanded role as the Manager, Development, Talent & Operations. Valerie has been a terrific addition to the Golden Apple staff, supporting the Development team with many extraordinary events and has had success in Fundraising.  In her new role, she will continue to provide Development support while adding Human Resource coordination in addition to event management and operations support. 

Prior to joining The Golden Apple Foundation, Valerie gained experience in fundraising and also coordinated operations for two national professional associations. 

Valerie holds a B.A. in Political Science from Wheaton College. 

Manager, STEM Institute

Laura Chomiak has served successfully as the STEM Institute Coordinator at Golden Apple for 5 years and is being promoted to the Manager, STEM Institute.  Laura will continue to coordinate and manage logistics of all STEM Institute events. She will also support STEM Institute faculty, a group consisting of master teachers and Golden Apple Award recipients. Laura has been an essential part of the growth of STEM Institute and we are excited to recognize her accomplishments as the Manager of STEM.  

Prior to joining The Golden Apple Foundation, Laura spent over ten years working as a Supervisor for Foster Care families and has held a number of volunteer, philanthropic roles with other educational institutions.

Laura graduated with a Bachelors in Social Work from Illinois State University.

StaffTony Bosma