Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Class of 2019 Announced

Program inducted largest class of aspiring educators to teach in Illinois schools-of-need

CHICAGO (August 7, 2019)Golden Apple, a leading Illinois nonprofit committed to preparing, supporting, and mentoring aspiring teachers, proudly announces the induction of the 2019 class of the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois, the program’s largest cohort to-date. These 263 dynamic young people have chosen to dedicate themselves to a career teaching students in challenging schools upon their graduation from college. 

View The Golden Apple Scholars Class of 2019

The Scholars program is an important part of the solution to the Illinois teacher shortage crisis. For the fifth consecutive year, Golden Apple has inducted more than 200 Scholars annually. 

The program provides unique preparation to pre-service teachers to enable their success in the most challenging school environments, where resilient teachers are needed the most.

While pursuing their degree in teaching, Scholars participate in Scholar Institutes each summer, during which they teach in classrooms working directly with students, reflect on their teaching practice, and receive instruction and mentorship from award-winning Golden Apple teachers and expert partner organizations. More than 800 Scholars participated in Summer Institutes in 2019.

"When I was a high school principal, I had the privilege of working with teachers who participated in the Golden Apple Scholars program," said Alan Mather, President of Golden Apple. "I witnessed Scholars who were prepared to both truly connect with students and differentiate their instruction to meet learners' needs. Most importantly, I witnessed them persist, with the support of their Golden Apple mentors, through challenging teaching moments. They learned so many of these important skills because of the Scholars program."

Golden Apple Scholars represent a diverse group of high-achieving young people from across the state of Illinois with the majority of the Scholars coming from underserved backgrounds, are students of color, and/or are the first generation in their families to attend college.   

“Golden Apple is thrilled to welcome the 2019 class of Scholars, who come from diverse backgrounds and circumstances and will grow to guide underserved students from the most challenging environments to long-term success,” said Alicia Winckler, CEO of Golden Apple. “In response to the urgent demand for qualified teachers given the teacher shortage throughout Illinois, the Scholars program is poised to deliver exponential growth to meet that need.”

The Scholars program improves persistence and graduation rates while also delivering very high retention rates in teaching - with 82% of those who begin teaching staying in teaching for more than five years.

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:

Eileen Rochford