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Golden Apple teachers recognized at annual gala

By Staff | Apr 17, 2010

Three Cape Coral teachers were among six outstanding Lee County educators honored Friday night with Golden Apples.
Winners, school officials and members of the community attended the 2010 Golden Apple Dinner at Harborside Event Center in Fort Myers.
This year’s winners included Kathryn McKinnon, science teacher at Trafalgar Middle; Nancy Loughlin, language arts teacher from Island Coast High; Lisa Vasquez, engineering teacher from Mariner High; Morgan Kirk, English teacher from Fort Myers High; Renee Wagner-Pachiva, elementary teacher at Allen Park Elementary; and Kristin Cohen, a fourth grade teacher from Allen Park Elementary.
Each winner was introduced by one of their students and addressed what education meant to them.
McKinnon said that, for students, science is thinking and investigating a question they don’t know.
“It is our responsibility and honor to nurture this most precious resource, our children,” said McKinnon. “As a teacher I’m excited to share my love of science.”
Considering herself a non-traditional teacher, Loughlin said her biggest challenge is keeping the higher performing students engaged. She also likes to get her students out of their chairs during class.
Loughlin explained that she helps the children to reach for genuine life experiences.
Vasquez said thinking on her feet and redirecting a lesson that isn’t going as expected is one of her strengths. And she said the teenage years are tumultuous.
“Educating a teenager is more than the subject we all decided to teach,” she said. “The focus is always what is happening beyond high school.”
More than 2,200 teachers received nominations to be recognized in the Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Program through the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools.
Recipients receive a $3,000 cash award, a golden apple, a lapel pin, membership into the Academy of Teachers and a $1,000 grant to each winner’s school.