GAF Logo Whitespace

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 2019 Golden Apple Awards 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….

Ashley Boyer
North Boone Middle School - Poplar Grove
8th Grade English and Reading

Jean Chambers
Hononegah Community High School - Rockton
9th grade English, World Lit; 12th grade British Lit

Candice Cortese
Hononegah Community High School - Rockton
Trig-PreCalculus and Algebra IIAB

Jeremy Edwards
Belvidere High School - Belvidere

Daniel Foster
Belvidere High School - Belvidere

Jessica Gerrond
Rockford East High School - Rockford
9th-12th grade Reading, English, Global Studies, Hard of Hearing/Deaf

Michael Manke
Rockford Christian Middle School - Rockford
7th Grade Physical Science

Amanda McCallister
Roosevelt Community Education Center - Rockford
Algebra, Geometry, Beginning Computer Apps

Sheila Morrall
Belvidere South Middle School - Belvidere
6th-9th grade Spanish

Amanda Newmes
Belvidere North High School - Belvidere

Jennifer Osar
Harlem High School - Machesney Park
HS Algebra and Trig

Mark J. Peterson
Auburn High School - Rockford
Reading, English, ESL

Jeff Pettera
Christian Life High School - Rockford
Anatomy, Biology, Chemistry, Physics

Molly Priest
Eisenhower Middle School - Rockford
6th grade Environmental and General Science

Chelsea Pruitt
Harlem Middle School - Loves Park
7th Grade ELA

Rob Ullrich
North Boone Middle School - Poplar Grove
7th grade Social Studies

Stephanie Valderrama
RESA - Rockford
6th grade Multi-Language lab; 7th, 8th grade Spanish

Melissa Wolf
Guilford High School - Rockford
9th-12th grades Theater Arts

Betsy Young
Harlem Middle School - Loves Park
7th and 8th grades Band, Choir and Piano Lab

Flori Zeqiri
Harlem Middle School - Loves Park
7th grade Social Studies


These teachers will be observed in their classrooms by trained community volunteers on three separate occasions between Jan. 15 and Feb. 15, 2019. The next step in the selection process after observations is an interview. The process culminates with the selection of five teachers who will receive the prestigious Golden Apple Award in surprise classroom presentations featured by WREX-13 and the Rockford Register Star.

Each Golden Apple award winning teacher will receive a cash award; a professional development stipend; a Rockford University Scholarship and a computer compliments of Entré Computer Solutions. 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 23rd 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 finalists will be held Friday, April 26, 2019, at Giovanni's, sponsored by Bergstrom Inc. Charitable Foundation.

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

For more information, contact Jennifer Stark at 815-226-4180 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

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. 


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.


  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