Golden Apple Surprises Chicago Teacher Meghan Dolan With Prestigious Award For Excellence In Teaching

CHICAGO (March 23, 2018) - Golden Apple, a leading Illinois nonprofit committed to developing great teachers, today surprised Meghan Dolan, third grade teacher at John M. Palmer Elementary School in Chicago, with the highly respected Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching. The annual award, which recognizes and honors outstanding teachers for their role in building a stronger, better-educated society, was presented to Dolan in front of students, family and school leadership.

Created by founders Mike and Pat Koldyke, Golden Apple’s mission is to inspire, develop and support teacher and school leader excellence in Illinois, especially in schools-of-need. The 2018 award recipients were selected from a record-setting number of nominations - more than 650 nominations, and represent Pre-K through 3rd grade teachers from the Chicagoland area. Fellow educators, students, parents and community members nominate teachers for the award each year.

About Meghan Dolan

Meghan believes the positive relationships she builds with her students are vital to her teaching success. Her teaching intentionally includes activities that allow her to interact with every student so that she may learn as much as possible about their progress and needs. In her classroom, Meghan emphasizes the importance of character-building, giving back to communities, kindness and problem-solving. She strives to help her students become positive role models. She is known in the school community for being inclusive of students of all abilities and she currently co-teaches with a special educator in reading and math. Helping her students set and achieve personal goals, as well as the importance of hard work, are central elements of her teaching philosophy. Creativity is evident in all of Meghan’s instruction, including the elaborate themes she creates for her classroom each year. Student success is the ultimate goal for Meghan. If her students aren’t succeeding, then she believes she is not succeeding as a teacher. As a result of her achievement in the classroom, Meghan earned accolades including a nomination for Teacher of the Year (at the district level in Iowa) and Gold Star Teacher of the Year and she’s been the recipient of three grants.

“Golden Apple is proud to recognize this year’s award recipients for their exceptional accomplishments in the classroom,” said Alicia Winckler, Golden Apple president and CEO. “Each of the recipients is uniquely talented and epitomizes the dedication, skill and drive in the teaching profession that facilitates better futures for scores of young people.”

More information on each award recipient, as well as videos, photos and social media snapshots of the 2018 surprise visits, can be found at

Golden Apple’s selection committee is comprised of college and university professors, educational experts, administrators and former Golden Apple Award recipients who use industry and research-based professional standards to identify exemplary educators and school leaders. Members of the selection committee observed finalists’ classrooms, and also interviewed their colleagues, administrators, students and parents during the selection process.

Northwestern University provides each Golden Apple Award recipient with a tuition-free, spring quarter sabbatical to study at Northwestern University. Each recipient also receives a $5,000 cash award. Award recipients become Fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators, giving them a stronger voice and a larger stage from which to make a difference in education.

Golden Apple soon will be awarding the 2018 Stanley C. Golder Leadership Award, which honors an exceptional principal/head of school. All recipients will be featured on May 19 on a WTTW one-hour TV program and livestream marketed to local school communities. To view the livestream, visit

About Golden Apple

Founded in 1985, Golden Apple innovates teacher preparation and leadership to transform both the careers of teachers as well as the lives of students in Illinois. Its signature initiative, the Golden Apple Scholars Program, provides exceptional teacher preparation, resources and lifelong support to advance educational excellence for Illinois’ most underserved students in schools-of-need. Aspiring teachers/Scholars are recruited from the communities in which they return to serve -- with a passion for teaching and a drive to create positive change for young people in their communities. Scholars commit to teach at an Illinois school-of-need for five years after graduation. More than 1,000 Scholars currently are teaching across Illinois. Visit for more information.

Media contact:

Kellie Kennedy