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Posted: December 4, 2017

4 APS Mid-School Teachers Earn Prestigious Golden Apple Award

Five more are named Golden Apple Teachers of Distinction. Congratulations to all!

Four Albuquerque Public Schools middle school teachers have earned the prestigious Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching:

  • Cheryl Leung, Math teacher at Desert Ridge Middle School
  • Christopher Ortiz, Science teacher at Ernie Pyle Middle School
  • Donna Schmidt, Band teacher at Desert Ridge Middle School
  • Chris Speck, Science teacher at Garfield STEM School

Five more APS teachers were named Golden Apple Teachers of Distinction:

  • Briana Blech- Lyndon B. Johnson Middle School
  • JoAnn Isonhood- Hoover Middle School
  • Dale Simpkins- Hoover Middle School
  • Donald Starr- Desert Ridge Middle School
  • Alice Webb- Washington Middle School

They will be recognized during the 2018 Tribute to Teacher Excellence on Friday, April 6 at the Embassy Suites in Albuquerque.

The Golden Apple Excellence in Teaching Award has been given to New Mexico’s most outstanding teachers since 1996.

Every year, nominations are collected from teachers, students, administrators, parents and other community members in hopes of creating a pool of worthy candidates for this prestigious award. Every teacher that is nominated receives a small token of recognition to acknowledge that someone in their community thinks they are awesome.

Nominated teachers may choose to apply for consideration for the award. Candidates fill out an extensive application, including numerous essay questions about their inspiration to the profession, skills that they are proud to demonstrate, and lessons they have learned over the course of their career. Candidates include a lesson plan, and a reflection paper describing how well they thought the lesson worked for the students and improvements they are considering.

Applications are then read multiple times by a trained team of Golden Apple Fellows (prior recipients of the Award), members of the Golden Apple Board of Directors, and other experienced educators. Candidates with the highest application scores are identified as finalists and advance to the site visit stage of the selection process.

Teams of three members of the Golden Apple Nomination and Selection Committee (again, Golden Apple Fellows, seasoned administrators, and other educational professionals) conduct the site visits. The site visits consist of at least 90 minutes of classroom observation, and interviews with fellow teachers, principals, parents and students. Finalists are assessed for their teaching ability as well as their stated willingness to advance GAFNM’s mission as a member of the Golden Apple Academy of Fellows. When the site visits are complete, seven finalists are selected for the Award.

Recipients of the Golden Apple Excellence in Teaching Award receive a cash prize of $1,500, assorted gifts from New Mexico businesses, and $4,000 toward their personalized professional development plan. They are members of the Academy of Fellows and will be invited to participate in opportunities that advance teaching and learning in perpetuity.


Filed under: Core Schools