About the Golden Apple Award Program

The Golden Apple Award process begins with the individual recognition of teachers at the beginning of each school year through Apple Day. During Apple Day, every teacher in Winnebago & Boone County receives a fresh apple delivered by a community volunteer that includes a thank you for their dedication to another year of educating the youth of our community.

The Golden Apple Teacher Award is a community selection process with three primary goals:

  • To support, motivate and honor great teachers
  • To involve the community in our schools
  • To pass forward a legacy of excellence


From September through October, the entire community including parents, students, colleagues, and administrators are invited to nominate teachers that deserve special recognition. Golden Apple receives more than 1,500 nominations every year. The deadline to nominate a PreK through 5th grade teacher for the 2016 Golden Apple Excellence in Education Award has passed. 6th-12th grade teachers are eligible for the 2017 Golden Apple Awards.

Nominations can be submitted by anyone who has gratitude for the impact that a teacher has had on their lives and/or the community at large.

In November, nominated teachers are notified and encouraged to take the next step in the selection process, completing a self-reflective portfolio and gathering letters of recommendation. This step is designed for teachers to express the value they bring to the classroom and to assist the community in understanding the incredible amount of talent and drive it takes to be a successful teacher.

In December, a selection committee reviews the portfolios and chooses 20 Finalists. These teachers are observed in their classrooms by trained community volunteers and evaluated on classroom atmosphere, rapport with students, classroom management, lesson content, teaching techniques and professionalism. Then, the 20 Finalists are interviewed and five are selected as the Golden Apple recipients. CLICK HERE to serve as a Classroom Observer and/or as an Interviewer.

Recipients are presented, in March, with the prestigious Golden Apple Award in a surprise classroom presentation. Then in May, the five recipients are honored at the annual Golden Apple Award Banquet and rewarded with scholarships, stipends and resources to enhance their classroom.

Golden Apple Teachers are inducted into the Golden Apple Teacher Academy and are committed to enhancing the Academy’s mission. More than 170 teachers have already been rewarded and participate in this wonderful program.