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SUPPORT GAF AND ENJOY COOKIES SUPPORT GAF AND ENJOY COOKIES Golden Apple Foundation is so excited to be partnering with... More detail
SUPPORT GOLDEN APPLE FOUNDATION PROGRAMMING SUPPORT GOLDEN APPLE FOUNDATION PROGRAMMING #GivingTuesdayNow is May 5, 2020 and it is a global day of... More detail
TEACHER SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS DUE MAY 15 TEACHER SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS DUE MAY 15 The Don Zimmerman Golden Apple Teacher Scholarship honors the... More detail
GOLDEN APPLE TEES GOLDEN APPLE TEES Working from home has us wearing our comfy tees and leggings... More detail
24th Annual Excellence in Education Banquet 24th Annual Excellence in Education Banquet   The 24th Annual Excellence in Education Banquet has been... More detail
Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Rebecca Kallstrom Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Rebecca Kallstrom Rebecca Kallstrom of Belvidere had planned to be an international... More detail
Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Beth Hubner Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Beth Hubner Beth Hubner of Clinton, Wis., has 20 years of experience teaching... More detail
Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Laura Brooks Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Laura Brooks Laura Brooks of Rockton has taught second or third grades for... More detail
Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Laura Greier Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Laura Greier Laura Greier of Loves Park has been an early childhood teacher... More detail
Nominate Your Principal for the Outstanding Principal Award Nominate Your Principal for the Outstanding Principal Award     Golden Apple Foundation has partnered with the... More detail
Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Kimberly Brace Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Kimberly Brace Kimberly Brace’s student nominator shared this about... More detail
Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Heidi Milner Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Heidi Milner Heidi Milner of Rockton has been teaching Kindergarten at Ledgewood... More detail
Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Patricia Magallanes Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Patricia Magallanes Patricia Magallanes of Belvidere has spent seven of her 10... More detail
Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Angela Hulsey Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Angela Hulsey Angela Hulsey of Rockford has been teaching in Rockford for... More detail
Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Miranda Thompson Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Miranda Thompson Miranda Thompson of Machesney Park has 14 years of teaching... More detail
Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Mallori Sage Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Mallori Sage Mallori Sage of Machesney Park taught fourth grade at Galapagos... More detail
Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Award Finalists: Meet Jackie Weerda Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Award Finalists: Meet Jackie Weerda Jackie Weerda of Rockton has 15 years of teaching experience,... More detail
Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Lori Granite Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Lori Granite Lori Granite of Rockford has taught 1st grade self-contained,... More detail
Get to Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Danielle Peterson Get to Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Danielle Peterson Danielle Peterson of Rockton is in her 14th year of teaching... More detail
Nominations Being Accepted for the Jan Jones Service Award Nominations Being Accepted for the Jan Jones Service Award The Golden Apple Foundation Jan Jones Service Award is named... More detail
Get to Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Heather Geary Get to Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Heather Geary Heather Geary of Loves Park taught multiple subjects at Lincoln... More detail
Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Nikki Gallentine Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Nikki Gallentine Nikki Gallentine of South Beloit, has taught fourth grade at... More detail
Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Karissa Dooley Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Karissa Dooley Karissa Dooley of Machesney Park is a Kindergarten teacher... More detail
Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Lisa Istad Get To Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Lisa Istad Lisa Istad of Rockford has six years of teaching experience... More detail
Get to Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Tui Harned Get to Know Our 2020 Golden Apple Teacher Finalists: Meet Tui Harned Tui Harned of Rockford has 10 years of teaching experience.... More detail

Trey Fisk lgTrey Fisk

Physics & Algebra
Rockford Lutheran Junior and Senior High School
Teaching Experience: 15 Years

B.A. Physical Science-Concordia University Chicago
M.A. Educational Astronomy-University of Illinois Springfield

Who could find physics anything less than fascinating when your teacher electrocutes a cake to demonstrate alternating current? Or lets you shoot water balloons across a football field at him?

Trey Fisk has captivated math and science students at Rockford Lutheran for four years, inspiring some to pursue college degrees in these fields. He helped add a second year of AP-level physics to the curriculum, often spends weekends at school helping students prepare for exams, works with students before and after class ... and finds time to coach the boys' and girls' cross country team and the boys' track team. Not to mention keeping up with workshops and conferences.

During the winter, Trey took his students to Saturday morning physics lectures at FermiLab in Batavia. His classroom lights are powered by ten solar panels; a classroom computer allows students to analyze this solar energy data. He also has a 72-inch SMART Board in the classroom so students can tap into web resources.

Jane Austin, curriculum consultant at Lutheran, asked Trey's Algebra II class to rate him, on a one to ten scale. A student exclaimed: "Mr. Fisk is a twelve and a half!"

Says parent Deborah Burger: "He is teaching more than just the class; he is teaching students the love of learning."


Megan Forsythe lgMegan Forsythe

7th and 8th Grade Mathematics
Prairie Hill School-South Beloit
Teaching Experience: 7 Years

B.S.-Education-University of Illinois
M. Ed.Curriculum & Instruction-National-Louis University

Megan Forsythe never planned to be a middle-school math teacher. But three years into business studies at the University of Illinois, Megan decided to switch to education, and a math specialty fit her finance, accounting and economics credits. So math teacher it was.

Since then, Megan has grown passionate about math and loves to spread her enthusiasm to her students. She livens up lessons by doing headstands (to demonstrate reciprocal properties), singing math jingles she has created, and playing math games. She uses a math webpage, similar to MySpace, and has "Math" request friends; all of her students signed up.

"She knows if she just stands there and talks to us we will only get half of what she is saying, but if she is singing, dancing, and making us part of math, we will get 100 percent out of it," says eighth-grader Becky Dal Santo.

"From her very first day right up through today, Megan has created a universe in her classroom where all things are possible for those willing to believe in themselves," says Prairie Hill Principal Michael Michowski. "In my time here at Prairie Hill, Megan Forsythe is the finest example of teaching excellence it has been my privilege to work alongside."


Lynn Marie Graczyk lgLynn Marie Graczyk

Sophomore and Junior English
Jefferson High School-Rockford
Teaching Experience: 12 Years

B.A. - English-Northern Illinois University
B.A. - Journalism-Northern Illinois University
M. Ed. Curriculum & Instruction/Education-National-Louis University
National Board Certification

Lynn Graczyk knows what it's like to be a student in her class. For three semesters, she did every assignment she asked her students to do-plus allowed them to critique her work. "It was a definite eye-opener," says Lynn of the experiment, done for her master's degree. Once, Lynn told her students to write two pages of autobiography in 20 minutes; when they protested, she dismissed their complaints-until she tried the task herself, and could manage only one page.

"It is astounding to have seen the guts it took to let herself be a student with her students," says G. Thomas Fox, professor at National-Louis University, adding he had never seen a "more courageous project."

A National Board Certified teacher since 2007, Lynn ties her lessons to students' lives. Before reading Julius Caesar, her students discussed trust in relationships. After a student grumbled about reading "these old plays," another replied: "Caesar's friends hurt him. That stuff still happens." Lynn had been successful once again in making classic literature relevant.

Bradley Peters, associate English professor at NIU, says Lynn's rapport with her students is "superb," adding: "Her success comes from the high quality of her planning, the considerable time she invests, and her intense dedication to young people."

We also know that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree since Lynn's mother, Ann, is a Golden Apple Teacher from 2002!


Jessica Lindvall-Powell lgJessica Lindvall-Powell

7th Grade Mathematics and Pre-Algebra
Roscoe Middle School
Teaching Experience: 8 Years

B.S.-Elementary Education-Northern Illinois University
M.S. Ed.- Education Administration- Northern Illinois University

Jessica Lindvall-Powell comes from a long line of gifted teachers, including two grandmothers and her mother, Becky, a 2002 Golden Apple recipient. Like them, she feels a passion to work with children.

"Most people, upon hearing I teach seventh grade, just wince and shake their heads," says Jessica. "But I have always known this is where I belong." She enjoys guiding middle-schoolers through the transition from childhood to young adulthood, and along the way, making math fun for them.

To do this, she appeals to kinesthetic and spatial learning styles. Students form the coordinate grid and graph equations by physically moving along the y-axis. She also brings in manipulatives for students to work with.

Jessica's rewards come in witnessing the "ah ha!" moments-when students say they understand a subject for the first time, thanks to her teaching. She also has welcomed special education students into her classroom. "She never talked to me like I was stupid," says Tyler Young, now in eighth grade. "I started to like math more in her class." Thanks to Jessicas praise and interest, Tyler made the honor roll and is planning to go to college.

Says Tyler: "I think every kid needs a teacher like Mrs. Powell who sees the kid you can be, and helps you get there."


Penny Spears lgPenny Spears

6th Grade Mathematics
Belvidere Central Middle School
Teaching Experience: 6 Years

A.A. - Rock Valley College
B.S. Elementary Education  Rockford College
M.A. Education/Teaching/Leadership  St. Xavier College

Penny Spears is committed to getting to know the student behind the grade and the parent behind the child. She is intentional about knowing the facts inside each student's life. She invites families into the educational process by conducting student led conferences each fall where the students present a portfolio of their own work.

Student Cole Dunlap says Ms. Spears helped him through a tough time. "She figured out different ways to tell me I was being disruptive or acting out without embarrassing me in front of the other kids," says Cole. "She could have given up on me, but she didn't."

With 27 percent of the students in her district coming from Spanish-speaking families, Penny set up a bilingual webpage. She also provides access to computers before and after school for those without Internet access.

She captures student attention by telling stories about her cats, singing Beyonce's "To the Left" when moving decimal places, and hosting a baseball-themed "World Series" class competition to study fractions and percentages.

Penny believes math and reading skills are linked, and has worked school-wide to improve vocabulary. Principal Harry Gries says Penny's students' math ISAT scores are up markedly. He often sees former students drop by to give a hug to the woman who not only taught them math but also how to be successful in life.

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