2024 Golden Apple Award Recipients, 2024 Golden Apple Finalists, Golden Apple News

Leann Burmeister-Juliano

Leann Burmeister-Juliano of Loves Park has taught English at Belvidere North High School the past 3 of her 15 years of teaching. She was nominated by a HS junior who was in Leann’s class as a freshman. She wrote that Leann is the best at making English fun.  Her principal, Jim Friesema shared that “the impact of her teaching is perhaps most evident in the success of students who, under her guidance, have flourished academically and personally. Even students in English 11 who have previously struggled in the subject are not only showing up every day, but are also finding success in her class – a testament to her ability to inspire and guide her students to reach their full potential.” Something unique about Leann’s classes is the amount of choice she provides her students, to let them guide and take ownership of their learning. They may be able to select their topic, text, reading level and presentation method to best challenge them, show their strengths and maintain a level of interest. Observers remarked about how she provides students the chance to use critical thinking through great discussions. She also is persistent about furthering her own education to best serve her students. “Continuous professional development is something I am committed to, as the methods of yesterday don’t meet the needs of today.” She got a Masters in Differentiated Instruction to “more effectively tier curriculum and assessments for students at all levels,” and took a summer course called “Making Content Accessible for Your English Language Learners” to “enhance learning not only for my EL population but for all students.” A classroom observer who attended a shortened class period, wrote, “the amount of learning opportunities in this shortened class period truly showcased what a masterful planner and educator Leann is.” Another commented that it was “a genuinely excellent class experience where observers could witness ‘lightbulb moments’ as students related to the material.”