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Gina Romer Named Golden Apple Award Finalist

January 23, 2020

Prestigious statewide award recognizes Illinois teachers in grades 4-8 for superior performance in the classroom and school community

Gina Romer, Grant Middle School English Language Arts and Social Emotional Learning Teacher, has been selected as a finalist for the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching. 

Following a highly competitive process, 30 educators were selected as finalists for the award —  just 4% percent of a record-setting 732 nominations received from 64 counties in Illinois. 

Golden Apple, the leading Illinois nonprofit committed to preparing, honoring and supporting great educators who advance educational opportunities for students, today announced the 2020 finalists for the prestigious Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching. 

“Now more than ever, it is essential to shine the light on the transformational role outstanding teachers play in the future success of Illinois and our nation. Without exceptional teachers, we cannot prepare our students to thrive in the workforce of tomorrow,” said Alan Mather, President of Golden Apple. “The positive impact these finalists for the Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching make on their students, schools, and communities is significant beyond measure, and we take great pride in recognizing their tremendous value.” 

The Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching honors outstanding teachers for their roles in having lasting, positive effects on students’ lives and school communities. Teacher finalists demonstrate — in their teaching and results — significant, positive impact on their students’ growth and learning. Fellow educators, students, parents and community members nominate teachers for the awards. Teachers may not self-nominate.

Complete list of finalists for the 2020 Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching

“There are few individuals in the state who contribute more to the collective success of our communities than teachers,” said Golden Apple CEO Alicia Winckler. “With the growing shortage of educators in Illinois, it is critical that we elevate recognition of teachers like the finalists announced today and the importance of the teaching profession. Each of these educators serves as a powerful example of the outsized impact one person can have when they are dedicated and committed to excellence. In raising awareness of their accomplishments, we seek to inspire others to follow in their footsteps.”  

Award recipients are selected by master educators who understand and recognize instructional best practices and who utilize professional standards to evaluate exemplary teachers and school leaders. Members of the selection committee viewed video evidence of instruction and will observe finalists’ teaching in-person in their classrooms - a comprehensive day which includes direct observation of in-classroom teaching accompanied by interviewing finalists’ colleagues, school leaders, students, parents, and community members. 

Award finalists will be honored on Saturday, February 22, at the Golden Apple Celebration of Excellence in Teaching & Leadership at the Q Center in St. Charles. Event details and tickets are available at www.goldenapple.org/celebration. 

The 2020 Golden Apple Award recipients will be notified in the spring with surprise visits at their schools. Northwestern University, Golden Apple’s partner for more than 30 years, generously provides a Spring Sabbatical to award recipients at no cost. In addition, each Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching recipient receives a $5,000 cash award. Award recipients also become Fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators, a community of educators who support current and future teachers and deepen the learning of students. 

Fellows play an important role in preparing the next generation of teachers by providing instruction and mentorship to future teachers in the Golden Apple Scholars and Accelerators programs - programs dedicated to addressing the teacher shortage in Illinois.  

“In honoring and developing K-12 teachers, Northwestern University and the Golden Apple Foundation are committed to improving teaching, learning, and the lives of students across the state of Illinois,” said Timothy Dohrer, Ph.D., Director of the Master of Science in Education Program at Northwestern University’s School of Education & Social Policy.

Over the coming weeks, Golden Apple’s social media channels will feature each of the 30 finalists and the announcements of the final 10 award recipients. Follow the news here: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

About Golden Apple

Golden Apple’s mission is to inspire, develop and support teacher and school leader excellence in Illinois, especially in schools-of-need. Our leading-edge preparation delivers exceptional teachers who make an impact. We help students thrive in the classroom and in life. Since our beginning, we have recognized master educators annually; and, these master educators help prepare the next generation of teachers. Our vision is an Illinois in which every classroom has a great teacher and to realize this, we are committed to making a material difference in resolving the teacher shortage throughout Illinois. Visit http://www.goldenapple.org for more information.