Golden Apple Foundation Jan Jones Service Award is named in honor of the late Jan Jones who served the Foundation since 1998. Jan joined the Board of Directors in 2006 and served as the Vice President of Awards and Recognition. Jan was a tireless advocate for excellence in local education. She led a successful career in education where her numerous accomplishments resulted in tangible progress for our community’s children. She was a mentor to many educators and community activists. When something needed to be done, Jan Jones did not wait in hope for someone else to do it; she lived the realization that she was that someone while inspiring others to do the same.

Each year the Golden Apple Foundation Jan Jones Service Award will be presented to an individual, couple, organization, or business for demonstrating a deep commitment to Excellence in Education in Winnebago and/or Boone County through volunteerism. 

This year we congratulate Meg Hodge, the 2015 Golden Apple Foundation Jan Jones Service Award recipient!

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Meg Hodge founded Andy’s Books for Kids in 2007 to bring about positive change in remembrance of her late son Andy whose favorite pastime was reading. In his memory, Andy’s Books provides books for children who do not have the same access to them that he did. Meg serves officially as the executive director although she does it all for this organization that employs no staff.

She is responsible for the donation of books to thousands of children in areas with low literacy levels. Studies have indicated that the only behavior measure that correlates significantly with reading scores is the number of books in the home. Andy’s Books for Kids has completed numerous projects resulting in thousands of books in the hands of thousands of kids and teens. A number of these projects have included community building and/or mentoring resulting from her skill at collaboration with area organizations.

It is remarkable to see something so profoundly impactful, yet simple, grow out of one woman’s love for her late son. In his memory, thousands of our community’s children have been introduced to a love of reading and a better shot at equality through literacy.

Meg Hodge will be recognized for her service to education at the 19th Annual Excellence in Education Banquet on May 1, 2015 where she will receive an award designed by the late Jim Barbagallo. 

Golden Apple Foundation inspires, celebrates and supports educational excellence in our community. 

Heidi Houy

We believe that strong leadership in a school promotes excellent teaching.  Outstanding principals inspire outstanding teachers and create a positive learning environment essential to the culture of every successful school.  This year Golden Apple Foundation is pleased to recognize Dr. Heidi Houy of Roosevelt Community Education Center with the Tenth Annual Puri Family Outstanding Principal Award.       

Dr. Heidi Houy is credited with familiarizing the community with Roosevelt and dispelling commonly held myths about the alternative high school model. Alternative education at Roosevelt has always been a place where the same high school curriculum is presented in a different way and so serves students who learn better with that approach. According to Dr. Houy, “There’s this notion that…alternative means bad. That’s not what happens here. It’s alternative because it’s different from traditional high schools. We just meet them where they are.” She has added great success in her personal goal of closing the divide between the school and community.

Her staff credits her with being the chief encourager for students and staff alike. She instituted the Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports program at Roosevelt, rewarding students for positive behavior and academic improvement. Dr. Houy knows her students. Visitors to the building can witness her asking students about their well-being with a tangible level of familiarity of their unique circumstance. Among the staff Dr. Houy has built a school culture of cooperation. She ensures that faculty members meet regularly in department meetings and professional learning communities. She facilitates opportunities for professional growth through in-house workdays.

When asked what she is most proud of at Roosevelt, Dr. Houy has an extensive list: “implementing the academy model…, engaging with the community, helping students understand what servant leadership means, increasing student achievement and being able to see measurable gains in learning, increasing family involvement, supporting incredible programs such as our visual arts program (which produced the Visual Artist of the year and a national silver level Scholastic Artist), our parenting program, our Robotics team, building on-line classes that are utilized throughout the entire district, proficiency based grading (students do not move on in skills/content until they are proficient), GED/adult education.” “We may not be getting 21's on the ACT, but the fact that these kids show significant academic AND social emotional growth in the relatively short amount of time they are with us is very meaningful to all of us.”

Dr. Houy will receive $1,500 cash to be used in her school and $500 in Volcano Falls gift certificates to reward excellent students, all compliments of the Puri Family.  An Elementary School Principal will be recognized in 2016.

Congratulations Dr. Heidi Houy!

 

Golden Apple Foundation inspires, celebrates and supports educational excellence in our community. 

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Golden Apple Foundation is very pleased to announce the five Golden Apple Recipients for 2015. The teachers, who were surprised in their classrooms today by Golden Apple Foundation Board Members and Sponsors, principals, superintendents, family and representatives from the media, are:

  • Rohini Gupta-Harlem High School, Machesney Park
    12th Grade Mathematics - 22 Years Teaching Experience

  • Laurie Mayer-Willowbrook Middle School, South Beloit
    6th Grade Literature and 6th-8th Grade Spanish- 6 Years Teaching Experience

  • Amy Orvis-Montessori at Thurgood Marshall, Rockford
    7th-8th Grade Montessori Social Studies and Language Arts - 22 Years Teaching Experience

  • Rebecca Downing Pelley-Boylan Catholic High School, Rockford
    9th-12th Grade Art - 44 Years Teaching Experience

  • James Schoepski-Belvidere High School, Belvidere
    9th-12th Grade Social Studies- 32 Years Teaching Experience

These distinguished 6th-12th grade teachers were among twenty outstanding finalists representing the public and non-public school districts of Winnebago and Boone County.  All twenty have participated in a rigorous, seven-month selection process that began with community nominations in September.  Collectively, 300 observation perspectives were drawn from their classrooms over one month by trained Golden Apple community volunteers. In the final stage, finalists were interviewed by teams of Golden Apple Foundation volunteers.

The newest Golden Apple teachers will be welcomed to the 19th Annual Excellence in Education Banquet with a Red Carpet Arrival on Friday, May 1st at the beautiful Radisson Hotel.  Excellence in Education will be celebrated and each Golden Apple Teacher will be honored and presented with a cash award and a professional development stipend from Golden Apple Foundation, a desktop computer for their classroom from Rockford Computers for Schools, a laptop with computer software compliments of Entré Computer Solutions, and the Terry Ingrassia Professional Development Scholarship compliments of Rockford University.  They will also be inducted into the Golden Apple Teacher Academy in May when they join 170 members in continuing to positively impact the education profession through mentoring and professional development of teachers from Winnebago & Boone Counties. 

Next year, teachers in PreK-5th grades in both public and ISBE recognized non-public schools in Winnebago and Boone Counties will be eligible for the award.

For more information or for reservations for the 19th Annual Golden Apple Banquet held on Friday, May 1, 2015 contact the Golden Apple Foundation office at 226-4180, at kdr@goldenappleofrockford.com, or register online at goldenappleofrockford.com.

Don’t miss the opportunity to let an outstanding principal or an exceptional volunteer in education know just how much they are appreciated they are by nominating them for the 2015 Puri Family Outstanding Principal Award and the Golden Apple Foundation Jan Jones Service Award!

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Middle and High School Principals from Winnebago or Boone County with at least five years of experience as an administrator qualify for the 2015 Puri Family Outstanding Principal Award. A letter of support from a school faculty member or from a school parent must accompany the nomination. Principal nominations must be received by the Golden Apple Foundation office by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 6, 2015.

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The Golden Apple Foundation Jan Jones Service Award will be presented to an individual, couple, organization, or business for demonstrating a deep commitment to Excellence in Education in Winnebago and/or Boone County through volunteerism. Explain why your nominee deserves consideration according to the following criteria:

•           Recipient will be considered for his/her volunteer work in fields relating to education or additional fields that serve teachers, students, and schools.

•           Recipient will have exhibited a deep commitment to excellence in education in Winnebago and/or Boone County.

Service nominations must be received by the Golden Apple Foundation office by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 6, 2015.

Recipients will be recognized at the 19th Annual Golden Apple Banquet on Friday, May 1, 2015 at the Radisson Hotel.

Visit www.goldenappleofrockford.com for more information and nomination forms or contact Kristina Reuber at 226-4180 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Golden Apple Foundation inspires, celebrates and supports educational excellence in our community. 

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Has it been awhile since you’ve been inside a classroom?   Would you like to witness the great things that are occurring in our community’s schools?  Golden Apple Foundation is seeking new volunteer classroom observers to take part in the selection of the 2015 Golden Apple Teachers.  Each year Golden Apple Foundation recognizes five excellent teachers for their outstanding work in the classroom with the coveted Golden Apple Award. 

It takes over 100 community volunteers to select the Golden Apple Teachers and classroom observations are a crucial part of that selection process.  Observing and evaluating the Golden Apple Finalists does not require an educational background, just an interest in education and the excellence in our schools.   You can be a part of the Award Selection process by observing in classrooms and evaluating select 6th–12th grade teachers this year. Employees of any public school or ISBE-recognized non-public school and/or district in Winnebago and Boone County are not eligible to serve as observers.


What does it take?  

  • Attend aone-hour training session on observing and evaluating the teaching process.  Available training dates at Rockford University:  1/8/15 at 6:00 p.m. or 1/9/15 at noon.
  • Observe 3-4 Golden Apple Finalists for one hour each during January 20-February 20, 2015.
  • Complete evaluations and submit to Golden Apple.  

If interested in joining the Golden Apple observers this year register at goldenappleofrockford.com/About-Golden-Apple/volunteer.html or contact Kristina Reuber at (815) 226-4180 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Golden Apple Foundation inspires, celebrates and supports educational excellence in our community.

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Golden Apple Foundation is pleased to announce the names of 20 Teachers from Winnebago and Boone County who have been selected to move forward in the process for the 2015 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching.  These talented 6th-12th grade teachers were chosen by a selection committee of community volunteers who had the difficult task of selecting only 20 teachers from a large group of worthy nominees.

                                              

Please join us in congratulating the following excellent teachers….

 

Kimberly Brahmstedt

Belvidere South Middle School

Belvidere

7th grade Math

 

Karen Cantele

Belvidere High School

Belvidere

9th-12th grade Music

 

Barb Chidley

Auburn High School

Rockford

9th & 11th grade English & Renaissance Writing

 

Jeff Corn

North Boone High School

Poplar Grove

9th-12th grade Math

 

Betsy Dhom

Roscoe Middle School

Roscoe

5th-8th grade Special Ed. Life Skills

 

Lori Dobler

Rockford Lutheran School

Rockford

7th grade Science & 8th & 10th grade Health

 

Sheila Felder

Rockford Lutheran School

Rockford

3rd-12th grade Music

 

Rohini Gupta

Harlem High School

Machesney Park

12th grade Math

 

Kristine Marie Heystek

Keith Country Day School

Rockford

6th-8th grade English

 

Linda Julian

Willowbrook Middle School

South Beloit

3rd-8th grade Music

 

Amélie Leparoux

Jefferson High School

Rockford

9th-12th grade French

 

Laurie Mayer

Willowbrook Middle School

South Beloit

6th grade Literature & 6th-8th grade Spanish

 

Gretchen Fillweber Milner

Hononegah Community High School

Rockton

9th-12th grade English

 

Amy Orvis

Thurgood Marshall School

Rockford

7th-8th grade Montessori Social Studies & Language Arts

 

Rebecca Ann Pelley

Boylan Catholic High School

Rockford

9th-12th grade Art & Critical Thinking

 

Richard Reynolds

Saint Peter Cathedral School

Rockford

6th-8th grade Math & History

 

James Schoepski

Belvidere High School

Belvidere

9th-12th grade Social Studies

 

Tiffany Weber

Winnebago Middle School

Winnebago

7th-8th grade Science

 

Sean Weinberg

South Beloit Junior High School

South Beloit

7th-8th grade Science

 

Melissa Wolf

Guilford High School

Rockford

9th-12th grade Theater & Choir

 

These teachers will be observed by trained community volunteers on four separate occasions in their classrooms during January and February, 2015.  They will participate in an interview in the final stage of the selection process.  The process will culminate with the selection of 5 Teachers who will receive the prestigious Golden Apple Award in surprise classroom presentations featured on 13 WREX and by the Rockford Register Star.

Each Golden Apple teacher will receive a cash award, a professional development stipend, a Rockford University Scholarship, a laptop computer and computer software compliments of Entré Computer Solutions, a desktop computer compliments of Rockford Computers for Schools, and two sets of season tickets to the Rockford Coronado Concert Association 2015-20216 season.  In addition, they will be inducted into the Golden Apple Teacher Academy where, as members, they will work to increase public awareness of educational excellence in our schools, promote the profession of education and provide professional development training and mentoring to new and veteran teachers.

Golden Apple Foundation is celebrating its 19th year of taking positive steps to achieve improved education in Winnebago and Boone Counties.  The Annual Golden Apple Banquet recognizing Excellence in Education and honoring the Golden Apple Teachers will be held on Friday, May 1, 2015 at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center sponsored by First Midwest Group, Inc. 

 

Golden Apple Foundation inspires, recognizes and supports excellence in education in our community.

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You don't have to be a world leader or a billionaire to give back. #GivingTuesday is about ordinary people coming together doing extraordinary things on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. This #GivingTuesday your gift to Golden Apple Foundation supports educational Excellence throughout Winnebago and Boone Counties of Illinois.

Each gift of $10 made before December 9, 2014 becomes $20 with a $5,000 Challenge Grant from  

Here's just a sample of what your $10 can do with the support of a Challenge Grant:

  • Provide a professional development opportunity to a teacher improving the quality of instruction to many students yearly
  • Engage a child in a project funded by GAF's Classroom Project Grants program
  • Celebrate excellent educators through recognition in electronic communications.

CLICK HERE to make a Challenge Grant supported donation to the Golden Apple Foundation general fund which operates the numerous programs of the Foundation.

We're also happy to accept financial support by traditional mail at the following address:

Golden Apple Foundation
5050 East State Street
Rockford, IL 61108-2393

The Golden Apple Foundation of Rockford is a 501(c)(3) charity. Your gifts are tax deductible to the extent of the law.

Share the love of #GivingTuesday by sharing your #unselfie as you "Give education" with Golden Apple Foundation. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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On Wednesday, November 19, 2014 a reception was held in honor of the more than 500 6th - 12th grade teachers nominated for the prestigious 2015 Golden Apple Award.  District Superintendents and building principals joined Golden Apple Foundation Board Members, Sponsors, and School Board members in congratulating the nominees at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Rockford.

The nomination is the first stage of a search for teachers who represent excellence in middle school and high school teaching in Winnebago and Boone Counties.  The next step is for teachers to respond to their nomination with a self reflective essay and letters of recommendation. Nominees must have five years of teaching experience and be currently teaching full time in a 6-12th grade classroom.  A selection committee will complete a review of the teacher’s professional portfolios and 20 teachers will be chosen to continue in the process of classroom observations and interviews, which are conducted by trained community volunteers. 

Five teachers will be selected to receive the Golden Apple Award and will be honored at the 19th Annual Excellence in Education Banquet at the Radisson Hotel on May 1, 2015. Each of the Golden Apple Teachers will receive a cash award, a professional development stipend, a Rockford University Scholarship, a laptop computer with software from Entré Computer Solutions, a classroom computer from Rockford Computers for Schools, and will be inducted into the Golden Apple Teacher Academy.

Golden Apple Foundation is a volunteer driven organization thatinspires, celebrates and supports educational excellence in our community.  The Teacher Recognition Program is designed to reward excellence in the classroom and to also use the strengths of the honored teachers through the Golden Apple Teacher Academy.  Academy members mentor new teachers and work together to increase public awareness of educational excellence in our schools, promote the profession of education and provide a positive educational outreach to the community.  

Winnebago and Boone County 6-12th Grade Teachers to Be Recognized  

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“This teacher goes above and beyond every single day. His classroom is an interactive, thought-provoking environment.” “A missed teacher is a loved teacher.”  These are just some of the comments about the 6-12th grade teachers, in Winnebago and Boone County, who are nominated for the prestigious Golden Apple Teacher Award for 2015.  During this past month, parents, students and colleagues of the teachers made more than 1,000 nominations for over 500 of their favorite teacher(s) who exemplify excellence in the classroom.  See the full list of nominees HERE.

A Nominee Reception will be held to honor all nominees on Wednesday, November 19 at 4:30 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel, located at 200 S. Bell School Rd., Rockford.  District Superintendents and building principals will join Golden Apple Foundation Board Members, Sponsors, and School Board members in congratulating the nominees.

The nomination is the first stage of a search for teachers who represent excellence in middle school and high school teaching in Winnebago and Boone Counties.  The next step is for teachers to respond to their nomination with a self reflective essay and letters of recommendation. Nominees must have five years of teaching experience and be currently teaching full time in a 6-12th grade classroom.  A selection committee will complete a review of the teacher’s professional portfolios and 20 teachers will be chosen to continue in the process of classroom observations and interviews, which are conducted by trained community volunteers. 

Five teachers will be selected to receive the Golden Apple Award and will be honored at the 19th Annual Excellence in Education Banquet at the Radisson Hotel on May 1, 2015. Each of the Golden Apple Teachers will receive a cash award, a professional development stipend, a Rockford University Scholarship, a laptop computer with software from Entré Computer Solutions, a classroom computer from Rockford Computers for Schools, and will be inducted into the Golden Apple Teacher Academy.

Golden Apple Foundation is a volunteer driven organization thatinspires, celebrates and supports educational excellence in our community.  The Teacher Recognition Program is designed to reward excellence in the classroom and to also use the strengths of the honored teachers through the Golden Apple Teacher Academy.  Academy members mentor new teachers and work together to increase public awareness of educational excellence in our schools, promote the profession of education and provide a positive educational outreach to the community.  

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Golden Apple Foundation is pleased to announce the selection of the following eight educators who received a total of $5,588 to fund 8 classroom projects. The teachers will be recognized at the Golden Apple Foundation Board of Directors meeting on Monday, December 8, 2014.

                 Project                                                         Teacher(s)            School & Grade         Grant Amt.

“40 Book Challenge”-a project that gets students excited about reading and challenges them to grow in their reading abilities.

Judith Dooley

Washington Gifted Academy

$625

“The Bookmobile: Our Library on Wheels”- a project that sends teachers and a fun, mobile library into the students neighborhoods when they are out of school.

Kelly Duncan

Rock Cut Elementary

$1,200

“Multi-Sensory Science and Social Studies”- a project teaching science and social studies concepts while addressing the unique learning requirements of students with autism

Susan Erisman

Seth Whitman Elementary

$681

“Paper Recycling Program”-Students start a school-wide recycling program while building the skills of data collection, analysis, and presentation. Student present their data reports on the internet and in school.

Mary Harden

Donald Parker Early Education Center

$585

“Cause-and-Effect Academic Readiness”-a project utilizing a variety of mediums to build the academic readiness of 3-year-olds diagnosed with autism

Kimberly Perritt

Fairview Early Childhood Center

$495

“Skill Development for Students with IEPs”- a project that addresses the learning needs of students with significant cognitive and physical disabilities, helping them to build fundamental and academic skills

Ashley Smith

Fairview Early Childhood Center

$670

“Ukulele Jam Band”- a project teaching 5th grade students to play a string instrument, the ukulele cumulating in a school concert. Students will learn the history of the instrument as well as how to care for them.

Jill Tartaglia

Bloom Elementary

$790

“The Art of Wet Felting”- an art project where students learn a wet felting technique while creating an original wet wool composition in the form of a large school mural.

Meredith Williams

Prairie Hill Elementary

$542

The projects selected address various crucial learning issues such as skill building for children with disabilities, art, project data analysis, music and creative writing.  All projects exhibit a focus on creative ways to encourage achievement in a variety of subjects inclusive of a variety of abilities. 

Golden Apple Foundation opened the application process this fall to enhance the learning of PreK-5th grade students throughout Winnebago and Boone County for projects that would go unfunded under the regular school budget.  Since its inception, Golden Apple Foundation has provided funding to 226 educators for 182 projects totaling over $100,000.  Recipients will be recognized at the 19th Annual Golden Apple Banquet held on Friday, May 1, 2015 at the Radisson Hotel.

Golden Apple Foundation inspires, celebrates and supports educational excellence in our community. 

nominations

Don’t miss the deadline to nominate an outstanding 6th-12th grade teacher for the 2015 Golden Apple Award.  Monday, October 20, 2014 is the last day to nominate. Nominations can be mailed to Golden Apple Foundation, 5050 E. State St., Rockford, IL 61108 or submitted on-line at www.goldenappleofrockford.com.  

It’s easy, anyone can nominate, and it means the world to teachers when they hear that they have had an impact so great on someone’s life that they took the time to nominate them for an award.  Make a teacher’s day!  Nominate now!   

Nomination forms are available at schools in Winnebago and Boone County and over 70 sites in the community, including the following Golden Apple Foundation sponsor sites: Schnucks, Alpine Bank, Blackhawk Bank, BMO Harris Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Northwest Bank, Riverside Community Bank, Rockford Bank & Trust, La Voz Latina, and branches of area Public Libraries. 

Nominations are also accepted online at www.goldenappleofrockford.com.

Five Golden Apples will be presented to select teachers in March and excellence in education will be celebrated at the 19th Annual Excellence in Education Banquet on May 1, 2015 at the Radisson Hotel.  But, first they have to be nominated!!

 

For more information,  contact Kristina Reuber at 226-4180 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Golden Apple Foundation inspires, celebrates and supports educational excellence in our community.