2023 Golden Apple Award Finalists, 2023 Golden Apple Award Recipients

Mallori Sage

Mallori Sage of Machesney Park has taught third grade at Whitehead Elementary the past 8 of her 10 years teaching. She’s working on a doctorate in educational studies. As part of her dissertation, Mallori developed a multi-tiered system to support social-emotional learning and mental health. She will study the effects of the added support by analyzing grades, behavior and attendance in the three-year pilot program that Whitehead implemented this year. Mallori’s first priority is to build relationships. “Relationships are “the launching pad for rigorous learning, risk-taking and collaboration.” Principal Paula Randall wrote that Mallori “treats her students with maturity and respect no matter the situation, and in turn, her students respect her all the more. She believes that every child has the ability to be their best and helps each of them bring that out.” Reading specialist Anita Hughes said Mallori is “a master at creating community within her classroom and treating all students with respect.”  She said that she teaches students about interacting appropriately, making good choices and regulating emotions, while also demonstrating expertise in all areas of teaching and leadership.” Mallori’s classroom rules about kindness, bravery and honesty help students build relationships with each other. Observers of Mallori’s classes noted how she spoke positively to everyone, even those she gently corrected. She promoted critical thinking to solve problems, while making expectations and the lesson’s importance clear. Even when technology didn’t cooperate, she was prepared and flexible. She acknowledged student frustration and the learning continued. Mallori also teaches about diversity and equity, to show how everyone has different needs and abilities. She says, “my students do not think any differently of peers who need tests read to them because those students are getting what they need when they need it to be successful. My goal is for all of my students to succeed and that requires equity.” Mallori concluded, “I strive to spark joy, curiosity, community and kindness in my classroom. I strive to prepare my students not just for the next grade level, but the world beyond – the expansive, diverse world where they will take their place as global citizens and future leaders.”