homepage logo

Nominations for Golden Apple kick off with carnations; Flower for every teacher

By Staff | Sep 19, 2008

Thousands of Lee County teachers received a free carnation Thursday to launch the nominations season for the district’s coveted Golden Apple program.

The Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Program presented 5,700 school district teachers with a carnation donated by Ruth Messmer Florist to commemorate its 22nd year of giving gold-coated apples to teachers who go above and beyond what is expected of them.

For the last 15 years, the Messmer family has donated and delivered flowers for teachers to 87 public schools. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office and V.O.I.C.E. volunteers assisted with giving out the flowers.

“It takes an extraordinary person to be a teacher,” said Marshall T. Bower, executive director of The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools.

Each year students, parents and faculty members can nominate teachers for Golden Apple consideration. Nominations are due Oct. 3 and must include contact information for the teacher, as well as a brief description of why that teacher is outstanding.

Officials at The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools said they have received hundreds of nominations already.

Bower said that so far the foundation has received close to 1,000 nominations. Last year the organization received more than 3,000 nominations accounting for approximately half of the teachers in the district.

Nominated teachers are notified by the end of October if they are in the running, and they can decide whether they wish to participate in the vetting process.

Teachers who wish to vie for the award have to follow an in-depth process including an application, a number of classroom observations and a personal interview.

Six teachers will eventually be chosen as winners for the 22nd Annual Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Program broadcast live on television at a formal dinner on April 3.

This past year’s winners included Debbie Leith from Cape Elementary, Dawn Voyer from Cypress Lake Middle, Dyann Miller from North Fort Myers Academy of the Arts, Suzanne Roberts from J. Colin English Elementary, Ella Grady from Riverdale High and Jim Knecht from Three Oaks Middle.

“We as a society entrust them with the awesome responsibility of educating our greatest treasure, our children,” said Bower.

The foundation is still accepting nominations for outstanding teachers. Forms are available at all public schools, The Lee County Public Education Center and The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools.

For more information, visit: www.leeschoolfoundation.org.