Golden Apple Award Finalists Announced - 32 Chicago Area Teachers Selected

Award for Excellence in Teaching - celebrating 29th year

CHICAGO--()--Golden Apple, a leader in advancing the teaching profession in Illinois for 29 years, proudly announces the 32 finalists for the 2014 Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching. The finalists, selected from a pool of 620 nominations and 272 applicants, represent 4th – 8th grade teachers throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. The complete list of finalists can be found here

The 32 finalists will participate in a final round of review and observations prior to the selection and announcement of the ten award recipients. A Celebration of Excellence in honor of the 32 finalists will be held on April 19th at the Chicago O’Hare Marriott. Event details are available here

Since 1986, Golden Apple has recognized outstanding teachers throughout Illinois each year. Created by founders Mike and Pat Koldyke, The Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching recognize and honor outstanding teachers for their role in building a stronger, better-educated society. Golden Apple’s mission is to inspire, develop and support teacher excellence in Illinois. Golden Apple award recipients play a critical role in furthering the programs of Golden Apple, particularly as members of the faculty who help prepare the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois to be future teachers within schools of need.

President and CEO of Golden Apple, Dominic Belmonte praised this year’s finalists, “We are inspired by the skill, enthusiasm and passion demonstrated by each of these amazing teachers. Each is a shining example of excellence in education.”

Nominations for the 2015 Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching will open on May 12th on the Golden Apple website, The nominations can be made by anyone; however, teachers may not nominate themselves. Teachers who are eligible for nomination must be full-time classroom teachers at public or non-public schools within Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry or Will counties, and committed to continue teaching in Illinois for two subsequent years after the sabbatical. The Golden Apple Awards concentrate on specific grade levels each year: Pre-K- 3, 4-8 and 9-12. In 2014, the focus was on 4-8 grade teachers. For 2015, Pre-K – 3rd grade teachers will be honored.

Golden Apple’s selection committee is comprised of prominent retired teachers, college and university professors, administrators and former Golden Apple Award recipients. Committee members implement industry and research based professional standards in their selection process. The goal is to identify those teachers who exemplify the highest standards and practices of the teaching profession. As part of the process, the finalists are observed in their classrooms and the selection committee conducts interviews with the teachers’ colleagues, supervisors, students and parents.

Each Golden Apple Award recipient receives a tuition-free, spring quarter sabbatical to study at Northwestern University. Each recipient receives a $5,000 cash award. Perhaps most importantly, 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 within Illinois and nationally.

Quick Facts about the 2014 Finalists for the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching:

The 32 Golden Apple Awards finalists include:

  • Six National Board Certified Teachers
  • 27 of the 32 finalists teach in Cook County representing independent/private, public and religious schools
  • 2 teachers teach in DuPage County and 3 teach in Lake County
  • 10 schools have previous Golden Apple Award recipients
  • 2 Independent City School; 14 Chicago City Public Schools; 2 City Religious Schools; 12 Suburban Public Schools and 2 Suburban Independent Schools
  • The finalists teach in a variety of grades and subjects with English/Language Arts/Writing having seven teachers. Other subjects include Music and Science having five teachers each; four in multi-grade levels; three in Math & Science; two in Math, Music, and Social Studies each; one in Art and in 4th grade all subjects.
  • Since the program’s beginning, 280 teachers in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, and Will counties have earned Golden Apple Awards. McHenry is our newest county.

Collectively, the 290 (10 from Central Illinois) Golden Apple Academy members are directly responsible for helping over 5,000 teachers throughout Illinois to become more effective in the classroom within schools of need.

About Golden Apple

Celebrating its 29th anniversary, Golden Apple began with founders Mike and Pat Koldyke and a shared inspiration-to offer outstanding schoolteachers a level of recognition and engagement in the larger work of education reform. Golden Apple’s successful track record of integrated, innovative programs and resources enhance the quality, resiliency and creativity of classroom teachers and improve teaching and learning throughout Illinois. Qualified, passionate educators-including Golden Apple Award recipients and finalists-lead a small staff of dedicated employees with functional and program expertise. A connected and committed board of directors oversees Golden Apple’s strategic direction. Together with a larger community of expert educators, this nonprofit organization works to ensure that all Illinois children have the excellent teachers they deserve, particularly within schools of need. Visit for more information.


for Golden Apple
Eileen Rochford, 312-953-3305

Release Summary

Golden Apple, a leader in advancing the teaching profession in Illinois for 29 years, proudly announces the 32 finalists for the 2014 Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching.


for Golden Apple
Eileen Rochford, 312-953-3305