2023 Golden Apple Award Finalists, 2023 Golden Apple Award Recipients

Sarah Shoevlin

Sarah Shoevlin of Roscoe has taught students from first through fifth grade. The past four of her 13 years of teaching have been at Prairie Hill School, where she teaches third grade. After moving from Canada to the U.S., Sarah and her mother volunteered at a homeless shelter, where she learned she could help children, and aimed to be a teacher. She learned, “students come to school for so much more than just Academics. I learned to work with students through trauma, how to see students for more than just their behavior, and how to help them grow socially and academically, even when life didn’t seem fair.” She has “visited a student in the hospital after a gunshot wound, grieved with families and gone to the funeral of a young former student who left this world too soon. I have also celebrated accomplishments with students and families. I’ve attended graduation parties and sporting events, watched them go after goals and break out of cycles that may have previously held their parents back.” Sarah says, “my students are so much more than data to me; however, seeing data helps me to get to know them better as scholars.” Her students hold themselves accountable to achieve goals they set themselves and take ownership of much of their learning. Sarah has seen their successful growth in state and district testing scores and has been recognized for the gains. Golden Apple Academy member Nikki Gallentine, former coworker and parent of a child Sarah taught, wrote, “Her energetic personality and passion for teaching makes it hard to dislike any subject when you are around her.” Classroom observers found Sarah’s students all know the routines, expectations and daily objectives. They’re incredibly respectful and supportive of Sarah and each other. The students were so mesmerized with learning that they hardly noticed visitors! Principal Kevin Finnegan says though that, “when you watch her lessons, you are only getting a small portion of what makes her as gifted an educator as I have ever been around. What you won’t get to see is how she interacts with the staff, how she pushes others to be great, how she invests herself in ensuring the success of all students.” He added, “She is what every educator would aspire to be.”