apple trophies

During the past month, parents, students and community members submitted 1,156 nominations for 445 of their favorite secondary level teachers who exemplify excellence in the classroom. These are just some of the comments about the 6th-12th grade teachers in Winnebago and Boone counties nominated for the prestigious 2019 Golden Apple Teacher Awards.

"If I could nominate him 100,000 times, I would. He is a very inspiring teacher and helps his students when they are stuck. I couldn't have made it through my first day of high school without him." [She] is an amazing demonstration of a teacher who can teach a challenging class in a way that attracts students and pulls them into the fun." “He has been teaching for 44 years and he is still enthusiastic about it.” “She is a wonderful teacher and great coach. She is why I go to school." 

All nominees, regardless of eligibility, are encouraged to attend the Nominee Reception from 4:30-6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at Regents Hall in Burpee Center at Rockford University. Nominees will enjoy socializing, appetizers and networking with other teachers. Special thanks to our Nominee Reception Sponsor, Rockford University. 

Click here for a full list of nominees.

Golden Apple Foundation inspires, celebrates and supports educational excellence in our community. To learn more about the foundation, visit our website at

apples 140 100

Students, parents, faculty and community members are encouraged to express their gratitude to area teachers by nominating one or more teachers for the 2019 Golden Apple Award. 

Online nominations can be made at Paper forms are available in all area schools and participating community sites and can be submitted to Golden Apple Foundation’s office at 5050 E. State St., Rockford, IL 61108.

This year Golden Apple Foundation will award teachers of 6th – 12th grades. To be eligible the nominee must be a teacher in Winnebago or Boone county who teaches a group of students in a classroom on a regular basis. Nominations for the Golden Apple Teacher Awards will be accepted through October 15, 2018. 

For additional information or to display paper nomination forms at your business or organization, contact the Golden Apple Foundation office, at 815-226-4180 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


apple sorting pic 2015 website version 140 100

Help bring a smile to a teacher's face! Golden Apple Foundation is seeking volunteers to deliver fresh apples and thank you cards to more than 6,000 teachers in Winnebago and Boone counties. You select the school(s) of your choice and pick up apples anytime 7-9 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 13 at Schnucks Market E. State location and then deliver to schools. This special day is our way of thanking teachers for the impact they make on student's lives. We will also bring Golden Apple teacher nomination forms to school offices to remind students, parents and community members to nominate their fabulous teachers. Click here to register to help or contact us at 815-226-4180 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information. Special thanks to Schnuck Markets whose sponsorship makes this day possible. 


  flexible seating6 Bored Teachers grande     


Golden Apple offers professional develoment at KIDS each year. Our first session will be held 4:30-6:30 p.m. on October 16, 2018 and our topics will include classroom re-design, flexible seating and blended learning.


When: October 16, 2018 from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Where: KIDS, 300 Heart Blvd. Loves Park      

Cost: $10 per session   PDC’s available

Register at or call KIDS at 815-636-3040


Classroom Re-design and Flexible Seating

- Explore ways to redesign your classroom to benefit both students and teachers.

- Learn ways to integrate progressive seating styles to enhance student focus.

          Presented by Meghan Hembrough, 1st Grade Teacher, Loves Park Elementary

Blended Learning and Flexible Seating

- Gain insight into the mindset of student and teacher blended learning.

- Discover a framework for implementing blended learning and flexible seating into your classroom.

- Learn how to create a more student centered system in your classroom and online.

Presented by Amanda Newmes, Science Teacher, Belvidere North High School



Golden Apple is pleased to invite you to our new culinary event, "Appetite for Education" at 5:30 p.m. on October 26 at Abreo Restaurant. Enjoy a one-of-a-kind 6 course meal and wine pairing table-side with award-winning local chef Chef Paul Sletten.

Tickets are $150 each or $280 per couple. Ticket price includes dinner, wine pairing with each course and a signature cocktail. Click here to purchase tickets or call 815-226-4180.


Michelle GorhamRich RowlettThurmond

The board of directors of the Golden Apple Foundation of Rockford voted in new members at its last meeting. They include Rich Rowlett, Remote Operations Team Leader at Field Fastener; and Rockford Police Resident Officer Thurmond, Resident Officer Community Keeper with the Rockford Police Department. Martha Kaiser will be the new Golden Academy representative on the board, replacing Megan ForsytheMichelle Gorham, Chief Advancement Officer with YMCA of Rock River Valley, was elected board chair, replacing Jeffrey Powell, who will remain on the board.


Riverboat Invite 3 Proof 

Ride the Rock from 2:30-4:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 16, 2018 for a fun riverboat excursion and icecream social benefitting Golden Apple Foundation. Come enjoy breathtaking views of the Rock River and the Blackhawk Statue on The Pride of Oregon - An Authentic Paddle Wheel Riverboat!

Limited seating...get your tickets early! Ice cream and desserts will be served. Boarding begins at 2:00 p.m., with boat departure promptly at 2:30 p.m. from Maxon Riverside Restaurant located at 1469 Illinois Route 2, in Oregon. Tickets are $50 for adults; $20 for ages 5-12 years old and under 5 years old are free. Contact Golden Apple Foundation with questions at 815-226-4180 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Click here to purchase tickets online. 

Golden Apple Foundation is a volunteer-driven organization that inspires, celebrates and supports educational excellence in our community. Proceeds from this event will help to fund Golden Apple programming in the 2018-19 school year. 



Grant BigGroup copy

Golden Apple project grant applications are now available for the 2018-19 school year. This program gives teachers the opportunity to develop and implement educational projects that enhance the learning experience for their students. 

The annual grants range from $150 to $1,500 each. PreK - 12th grade teachers in Winnebago or Boone County Public or ISBE recognized non-public schools are encouraged to apply. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. on November 5, 2018. Click here for further details, including the applicationcriteria and a list of past recipients. Contact Jennifer Stark, Executive Director, at 815-226-4180 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with questions.  

PHOTO: 2017-18 Grant recipients: Standing (L-R) Ashley Smith, Tiffany Aurand, Kristin Schmidt, Jeff Powell (Board Chair), Meg Hodges (Andy's Books for Kids) Laua Benkovich and Anne Hart. Front (L-R) Meghan Hembrough, Amy Maier, Suzette Muck, Carrie Norder-Pagan and Cindy Maten.


Join Golden Apple and eat pancakes for a good cause! Shortstacks for a Tall Cause will take place from 8-10 a.m. on Saturday, June 30 at Applebee's located at 2126 Gateway Center Drive in Belvidere. (near Wal-Mart)  Purchase your $5 ticket in advance or at the door. $4 of every ticket supports Golden Apple programming. Hope to see you there! Contact GAF at 815-226-4180 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with questions.


The 22nd Annual Excellence in Education Banquet is coming up on Friday, April 27, 2018 at Giovanni's.  Red Carpet begins at 5:30 with a cash bar cocktail hour. The program portion starts promptly at 6:28 p.m., followed by dinner. The deadline to register is April 13. To purchase your ticket or table, click here. (If it is after the deadline, check in at the office, we still may be able to accommodate your request.)

Golden Apple is proud to be celebrating our exceptional Top 20 teacher finalists, our 2018 Outstanding Principal Amber Miller, 2018 Jan Jones recipient Officer Eric Thurmond, Asst Principal Program recipient Linda Colson. This year's 5 Golden Apple teacher award recipients are Rachel Huetson of Nelson Elementary, Katherine Koehler of Ledgewood Elementary, Gabriela Nunuz-Reagan of Seth Whitman Elementary, Ashley Schwabero of Prairie Hill Elementary and Lance Tuula of Whitman Post Elementary.

To learn more about our Top 20 teacher finalists, see our news feed on this website which includes a bio on each of these exceptional educators.

Cocktail attire is recommended. For more information about the Banquet, call the office at 815-226-4180 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.





Get to Know Our 20 Finalists!

Sylvia Landreth of Rockford has 16 years of experience teaching dual language. This is her fourth year at Fairview Early Childhood Center. With parents who didn’t speak English, she was playing the teacher role from an early age, helping siblings with homework and translating for her mom during school conferences. Her journey to a formal teaching degree was not a direct one, however. She served as an aide in Head Start and church preschool classrooms, then took mail-order courses for state licensure to run an in-home daycare. After moving to Rockford and sending her third of four children off to school, Sylvia realized she missed working with children. She found a job at La Voz Latina, helping new moms understand the development of their children. Her training through the agency motivated her to begin degree coursework. She started a job with the school district, working with young moms and their children, and then moved into a family support and screener position for the preschool program. Sylvia’s original plan upon graduating was to be a resource teacher for a few years, but she quickly fell in love with being a classroom teacher. The parent of one of her students shared that while her kids learned a lot from Sylvia, she also learned from her. She learned how to support her children’s learning processes and to never give up on them. On the autism spectrum disorder, with a speech delay and an auditory process disorder, this woman’s son was challenged yet supported every day in class. “Under Mrs. Sylvia’s guidance, my son started putting words together and finally he was able to ask for things that he wanted or needed.” Sylvia says that her teaching and community work experience and her formal education have taught her that “all children can learn and they have different ways to acquire knowledge. With the planning of each lesson and classroom station, I strive to provide the kind of environment and activities that engage their learning and their wonder.”  And every day before meals, the class recites a poem by Mexican songwriter Jose Luis Orozco. Sylvia says it reflects how she sees each child: “In this great big beautiful world, I am unique, I am special, full of love and intelligence.”