Golden Apple Expands Award Recognition Program Statewide For Excellence In Teaching And Leadership

CHICAGO (September 26, 2018) – Golden Apple, a leading Illinois nonprofit committed to recognizing exemplary educators and developing future educators, today opened nominations for the highly respected -- Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching and Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership in honor of Stanley C. Golder. New this year, nominations for exceptional teachers and principals/school leaders have expanded beyond the Chicagoland area and are being accepted statewide.

Nominations of 9th-12th grade full-time teachers and Pre-K through 12th-grade principals/heads of school may be submitted at

The Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching honors outstanding teachers for their roles in having lasting, positive effects on students’ lives and therefore building stronger communities. Teacher candidates must demonstrate – in their teaching and results – significant, positive impact on their students' growth and learning.

The Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership, presented in memory of Stanley C. Golder, a founding board member of Golden Apple, honors exemplary performance in school leadership by a principal or head of school who has had a significant and sustained positive impact on the school, created a culture of inclusivity, and delivered dramatic student growth.

“Our founders, Mike and Pat Koldyke, created these awards to shine a spotlight on incredible educators who have the passion, drive and perseverance to transform the lives of students,” said Alicia Winckler, Golden Apple CEO. “Last year, Golden Apple received a record number of award nominations. To meet the increasing demand for recognition of teachers and leaders, we are thrilled to expand our prestigious awards throughout Illinois to highlight the importance and lasting, positive effects of highly effective educators, master teachers, and exemplary school leaders.”

Golden Apple’s selection committee is comprised of master educators who use industry and research-based professional standards to identify exemplary teachers and school leaders. Members of the selection committee will review video evidence of instruction, observe finalists’ teaching in-person in their classrooms, and interview finalists’ colleagues, school leaders, students, parents, and community members during the selection process.

The 2019 Golden Apple Award recipients will be notified in the spring with surprise visits at their schools. As a highly-valued component of the award recognition, Northwestern University, Golden Apple’s partner for more than 30 years, generously offers a Spring Sabbatical to Award recipients at no cost.

In addition, each Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching recipient also receives a $5,000 cash award. The Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership recipient receives a cash award of $10,000 with $5,000 going toward the leader’s professional development and $5,000 to the school for a project of the recipient’s choosing.

Award recipients become Fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators, a community of educators who work to advance the teaching profession and deepen the learning of students in addition to mentoring Golden Apple Scholars, who are aspiring teachers with a desire to teach in Illinois’ schools-of-need.All recipients also will be featured on a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) one-hour TV program and livestream marketed to local school communities.

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

AwardsTony Bosma