Don Zimmerman

The Don Zimmerman Golden Apple Teacher Scholarship honors the memory of the long time educator and Golden Apple co-founder. This new scholarship provides a teacher in Winnebago or Boone county the opportunity to earn his or her first master's degree beginning this fall at Rockford University.

Don began teaching locally in 1956 at Rockford West High School as an orchestra teacher. He later taught at Guilford High School and always inspired his students to excel to the best of their ability. Don was the founder of the Rockford Chamber Orchestra and Rockford Area Youth Symphony Orchestra (RAYSO) and spent ten summers teaching music at the Amherst Summer Music Camp in Maine with his family.

Don Zimmerman, and his dear friend, Dr. Richard Novak, took their passions for education and created a collective community effort to recognize excellence in teaching with the founding of Golden Apple Foundation in 1997. It began out of Don's garage, sorting apples and celebrating RPS 205 teachers, and has now grown to support all public and ISBE recognized private schools in Winnebago and Boone counties. The foundation continues its mission of inspiring, celebrating and supporting educational excellence in our community through awards and recognition, the Golden Apple Teacher Academy, classroom grants and teacher scholarships.

You must first apply to Rockford University, then submit your scholarship application to Golden Apple Foundation by May 15. Reach out to Jennifer Stark, Executive Director, with questions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.