apples SML 140 100

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 EntrĂ© 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, or register online at