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Golden Apple nominations in

By Staff | Oct 22, 2011

The Foundation For Lee County Public Schools received more than 2,000 nominations for the 25th annual Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Program, submitted by students, parents, colleagues, administrators and community members.

Last year, 2,008 teachers were nominated for the Golden Apple Award from among 4,985 teachers in the school district. This year 2,095 teachers were nominated from among more than 5,100 teachers in the district.

The Foundation For Lee County Public Schools Executive Director Marshall Bower said the nomination forms went out to all of the schools during the second week of school with the deadline for returns on Oct. 5. Once the nominations were verified, a congratulations letter was sent to each to encourage them to fill out an application to take part in the selection process.

The deadline for the teachers who choose to fill out the lengthy application is Nov. 7. Each year the questions on the application are changed to make it challenging for the teachers.

“There are anywhere between 200-300 that actually apply because it is a lengthy process,” Bower said about the teachers.

Those who submit an application also have an opportunity to apply for a scholarship with Florida Gulf Coast University to further their education in teaching.

Once the applications are compiled by staff they are then put on a flash drive, so they can be given to each of the selection committee members. The members then have five weeks to review and rank the applications before they have to be returned to the foundation.

The top 100 Teachers of Distinction are then chosen.

Next, the top 30-35 finalist are selected.

“Each one of them is then visited by the selection committee and ranked based upon observation in the classroom,” he said.

A two-day period for interviews also is held by two different teams of the selection committee to interview each teacher.

The last part of the Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Program looks at the three rankings – the application, classroom observation and interview. The application and interview are both worth 25 percent of the total and the observation is worth 50 percent of the ranking.

“That is how we determine the top six to receive the Golden Apple,” Bower said.

The funds raised during the Golden Apple banquet, Bower said is reinvested back into the school district by giving teachers additional professional development through the Collegium for the Advancement of Teaching.

Since 1986, 128 teachers in the Lee County School District have received the Golden Apple Award. The Foundation For Lee County Public Schools created the Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Program to recognize and elevate the status of teachers in the district as their first major project after its inception.

Bower said the Golden Apple is still doing what it was supposed to do originally, which is to hold up the teachers in the district in a light, so the rest of the community can understand just how important their job is.

The Golden Apple is special this year because of its 25th anniversary, along with it being under the eye of the community. Bower said since education is under a close look in terms of where the district is in competition with the rest of the world, highlighting teachers is important.

“Teachers are the cornerstone of a sound economy because of what they do, they are the ones that prepare our kids to compete globally,” Bower said.