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‘Golden Apples’ awarded to six school district teachers

By Staff | Mar 12, 2011

Six teachers from the Lee County School District received a special surprise in their classrooms Friday when they were presented with the 24th annual Golden Apple Award.
The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools, Golden Apple major business sponsors, their administrators and colleagues joined in on the surprise, which began before 8 a.m.
“The Foundation’s business partners and staff get a big kick out of surprising the Golden Apple recipients in their classrooms each year,” Marshall Bower, president and CEO of the Foundation said in a prepared statement. “The real joy is seeing the reaction of the students and their teachers as they celebrate the recognition of all the great teaching that is going on in our classrooms.”
The six Golden Apple recipients include fourth grade teacher Candyce Bond at Allen Park Elementary, fifth grade teacher Patricia Buitrago at Three Oaks Elementary, second grade teacher Jennifer Einstein at Heights Elementary, fifth grade teacher James Guffey at Bayshore Elementary, 9-12 Exceptional Student Education Life Skills teacher Donald Payne at South Fort Myers High and 9-12 psychology and philosophy teacher Paula Sizemore at Riverdale High.
The Golden Apple dinner will be held at Harborside Event Center on April 15.
Each recipient receives a $3,000 cash award and their school receives a $500 grant.
Teachers also receive a gold apple lapel pin and a membership in the Academy of Teachers.
The Golden Apple process began in September after The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools received more than 15,000 nominations, which included duplications for some teachers.
A total of 2,008 teachers were nominated for the Golden Apple Award from among the 4,985 teachers in the school district.
The 30 finalists, 10 of whom were from Cape Coral schools, were chosen in January. Those 30 teachers had to complete a comprehensive application, be observed in their classroom while teaching, along with sitting through a personal interview by the Golden Apple Selection Committee if they chose to take part.
Since the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools was established in 1986, it has provided 128 teachers in Lee County with a Golden Apple Award.