Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Application Now Open

Program will recruit a record number of aspiring educators to teach in Illinois schools-of-need as demand for teachers continues to grow.

CHICAGO (September 24, 2019)Golden Apple, a leading Illinois nonprofit committed to preparing, supporting, and mentoring aspiring teachers, announced today the opening of applications for the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois class of 2020.  The pre-service preparation, tuition assistance and mentoring program supports the development and success of new, highly-effective teachers for Illinois schools-of-need. 

The benefits of becoming a Golden Apple Scholar include up to $23,000 in financial assistance, extensive classroom teaching experience, instruction from award-winning educators, job placement assistance upon graduation from college, and mentoring in the first years of teaching. 

Students who are residents of Illinois, seniors in high school, freshmen or sophomores in college, or enrolled in community college are eligible to apply now

Illinois is facing a critical shortage of high-quality educators.  The Illinois State Board of Education reported more than 1,400 teaching positions went unfilled in the 2017-2018 school year.  This translates into tens of thousands of students annually who are denied the benefit of learning from a well-prepared teacher.  

“We strongly encourage students who are interested in pursuing teaching to apply to the Scholars program,” said Alicia Winckler, CEO of Golden Apple. “In response to the urgent demand for highly effective teachers, compounded by the present teacher shortage, the Scholars program is poised to grow. We welcome students interested in a career that will provide a lifetime of impact as an educator.” 

In 2019, Golden Apple welcomed 263 new aspiring educators into the Scholars program - the largest class to date. Currently, more than 1,000 Scholars are teaching across Illinois, representing nearly every county in the state. Ninety-seven percent of graduating Scholars find employment - within 90 days of graduation - in an Illinois school-of-need. 

Golden Apple believes in, delivers and prepares Scholars who mirror the students they will eventually serve. Golden Apple Scholars represent a diverse group of high-achieving young people from across the state of Illinois, are largely students of color, and/or are the first generation in their families to attend college.  

The Scholars program improves college persistence while also delivering very high retention rates in teaching - with 82% of Scholars who begin teaching staying in teaching for more than five years, longer than teachers prepared by any other teaching preparation program. 

"As a high school principal, I hired and had the privilege of working with teachers who had been prepared through the Golden Apple Scholars program," said Alan Mather, President of Golden Apple. "They were well-prepared to connect with students, differentiate instruction to meet learners' needs and persist through challenging teaching moments. And now as President of Golden Apple, I see how they develop these important skills through the supports provided by the Scholars program."

Golden Apple hosts Scholar Institutes at partner universities throughout Illinois each summer. The curriculum includes direct teaching experiences with students and instruction and mentorship from award-winning Golden Apple teachers. More than 800 Scholars participated in Scholar Institutes in 2019.

About Golden Apple

Golden Apple’s mission is to inspire, develop and support teacher and school leader excellence in Illinois, especially in schools-of-need. Our leading-edge preparation delivers exceptional teachers who make an impact. We help students thrive in the classroom and in life. Since our beginning, we have recognized master educators annually; and, these master educators help prepare the next generation of teachers.  Our vision is an Illinois in which every classroom has a great teacher and to realize this, we are committed to making a material difference in resolving the teacher shortage throughout Illinois. Visit for more information. 

Media contact: 
Eileen Rochford

ScholarsTony Bosma