Golden Apple Foundation has renamed its education service award 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 Earl Wilsey, the 2014 Golden Apple Foundation Jan Jones Service Award recipient!

J-Earl-Wilsey

Earl embodies Jan’s spirit of service to our community’s students. He, along with Jan Jones, is a founding member of the Alignment Rockford Pathways Committee and an invaluable advocate of student college and career readiness.

A nominator said, “It is not possible to overstate the amount of time and effort that Earl put into making the Expo; with 581 Industry Experts, 140 Display Booths, and over 5000 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students, a gigantic success. With his unique leadership style, Earl provides strong and active support in a multitude of areas. Along with coordinating a committee with 20+ participants from local industries, businesses and educational institutions; Earl successfully brokered partnerships with the Rockford Chamber, the City of Rockford, Rockford Public Schools and the Metro Center Staff to execute this impressive event.”

Earl’s committee is currently focused on building mechanisms to further integrate career learning and the classroom environment, such as formalized job shadowing, internships and industry guest speakers in the classroom. Through Earl’s hard work, thousands of area students discover the requirements, joys, and variety of careers available in our region.

Individuals and organizations nominated for this year's award:

  • Jane Austin
  • John Ekberg
  • Dan Lange
  • Cathlin Purvis
  • Grace Lutheran Church

Earl Wilsey will be recognized for his service to education at the 18th Annual Excellence in Education Banquet on May 2, 2014 where he will receive an award designed by local artist Jim Barbagallo. Register online at goldenappleofrockford.com, call 815-226-4180, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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.