Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching Finalists Announced

Statewide expansion of awards program brings wider recognition of teaching excellence

CHICAGO (February 4, 2019) -- Golden Apple, a leading Illinois nonprofit committed to recognizing exemplary educators and developing future educators, today announced the 2019 finalists for the prestigious Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching. For the first time in the history of the organization, the award eligibility boundaries were expanded to include all of Illinois.

Following a highly competitive process, 32 high school educators were selected as finalists for the award --  just six percent of more than 550 nominations.

“The historic opportunity to bring the recognition of the Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching to all of the schools and teachers in Illinois is thrilling for us and we are delighted to honor these outstanding 32 finalists,” said Alan Mather, President of Golden Apple.

The demand for recognition throughout the state was profound.  As evidence, nominations for outstanding teachers and leaders were received from 71 counties throughout Illinois.   

“Golden Apple is honored to recognize outstanding educators whose quality of teaching and passion for growing their students create an environment in which students are inspired to persevere and attain their dreams,” said Alicia Winckler, CEO of Golden Apple.

The Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching honors outstanding teachers for their roles in having lasting, positive effects on students’ lives and builds stronger communities. Teacher finalists demonstrate -- in their teaching and results -- significant, positive impact on their students’ growth and learning. Fellow educators, students, parents and community members nominate teachers for the awards. Teachers may not self-nominate.

View the 2019 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching Finalists

All award finalists will be honored on Saturday, February 23 at the Golden Apple Celebration of Excellence to be held at the Tinley Park Convention Center. Event details and tickets are available at www.goldenapple.org/celebration.

Award recipients are selected by master educators who understand and recognize instructional best practices and who utilize professional standards to evaluate exemplary teachers and school leaders. Members of the selection committee viewed video evidence of instruction and will observe finalists’ teaching in-person in their classrooms - a comprehensive day which includes direct observation of in-classroom teaching accompanied by interviewing finalists’ colleagues, school leaders, students, parents, and community members.

The finalists for the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership, presented in honor of founding Golden Apple board member Stanley C. Golder, will be announced Thursday, February 7.

The 2019 Golden Apple Award recipients will be notified in the spring with surprise visits at their schools.  

The selected award recipients will be featured on a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) one-hour TV program. The livestream of the show taping will air on Golden Apple’s Facebook page on May 18, 2019 and the edited PBS broadcast will air on multiple future dates.

As a highly-valued component of this recognition, Northwestern University, Golden Apple’s partner for more than 30 years, generously provides a Spring Sabbatical to award recipients at no cost. In addition, each Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching recipient receives a $5,000 cash award. Award recipients also become Fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators, a community of educators who support current and future teachers and deepen the learning of students. An important part of a Fellows’ mission is to share their expertise and mentor Golden Apple Scholars, who are aspiring teachers with a desire to teach in Illinois’ schools-of-need.

"Both Northwestern and Golden Apple are dedicated to developing teachers who will transform the lives of their students and we are proud to host these master teachers on the next step in their professional journeys in education," said Timothy Dohrer, Ph.D., Director of the Master of Science in Education Program at Northwestern University’s School of Education & Social Policy.

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 http://www.goldenapple.org for more information.

Media contact:

Eileen Rochford
312-953-3305
eileenr@theharbingergroup.com

AwardsTony Bosma