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Get to Know Our 2022 Finalists: Hayley Gotzsche Get to Know Our 2022 Finalists: Hayley Gotzsche Hayley Gotzsche of Roscoe has been a teacher for eight years,... More detail
Get to Know Our 2022 Finalists: Heather Plourde Get to Know Our 2022 Finalists: Heather Plourde Heather Plourde of Rockton has been teaching for 17 years,... More detail
Twenty Teachers Named Finalists for 2022 Golden Apple Awards! Twenty Teachers Named Finalists for 2022 Golden Apple Awards! Executive Director Jennifer Stark joined the Morning Crew at... More detail
Golden Apple Foundation Awards $23,500 for Local Classroom Projects Golden Apple Foundation Awards $23,500 for Local Classroom Projects   Golden Apple Foundation is pleased to announce the selection... More detail
Support Golden Apple & Local Businesses - Give the Gift of a City Tin Support Golden Apple & Local Businesses - Give the Gift of a City Tin Golden Apple Foundation of Rockford has partnered with City Tins... More detail
CONGRATULATIONS GOLDEN APPLE TEACHER NOMINEES! CONGRATULATIONS GOLDEN APPLE TEACHER NOMINEES! During the past month, parents, students and community members... More detail
Teachers: Apply for Grants Now! Teachers: Apply for Grants Now!    PreK-12th grade teachers of Winnebago and Boone... More detail
Nominate an excellent teacher who is making a difference! Nominate an excellent teacher who is making a difference!   This year, Golden Apple Foundation will award teachers... More detail
Seeking Volunteers to Help Thank Teachers Seeking Volunteers to Help Thank Teachers Golden Apple Foundation volunteers will be delivering more... More detail
GOLDEN APPLE CELEBRITY BARTENDING ON AUG. 10 GOLDEN APPLE CELEBRITY BARTENDING ON AUG. 10 Golden Apple Foundation is holding a Celebrity Bartender fundraising... More detail
You are Invited to Watch the 2021 Banquet Online! You are Invited to Watch the 2021 Banquet Online! The 2021 Excellence in Education Banquet was held on June 14... More detail
Full-Tuition Scholarship Opportunity for Local Teachers! Full-Tuition Scholarship Opportunity for Local Teachers! Teachers, here's your opportunity to earn a full scholarship... More detail
Excellence in Education Banquet Excellence in Education Banquet   Golden Apple Foundation is excited to announce the upcoming... More detail
Thank You Teachers! Thank You Teachers! Golden Apple Foundation salutes teachers during Teacher Appreciation... More detail
Kristina Puzin is the 815 Rising Star! Kristina Puzin is the 815 Rising Star!   Golden Apple Foundation is pleased to present Kristina... More detail
815 RISING STARS - LAST DAY TO VOTE! 815 RISING STARS - LAST DAY TO VOTE! Congratulations 815 Rising Stars! We are in the last stretch,... More detail
HURRY GET YOUR VOTES IN! HURRY GET YOUR VOTES IN!     Congratulations 815 Rising Stars, the voting... More detail
815 RISING STARS VOTE UPDATE 815 RISING STARS VOTE UPDATE   Congratulations to the 815 Rising Stars!... More detail
815 RISING STARS TALENT SHOW 815 RISING STARS TALENT SHOW The FREE VIRTUAL815 Rising Stars talent show is premiering... More detail
CONGRATS TO THE 815 RISING STARS CONGRATS TO THE 815 RISING STARS   Over 120 videos were submitted to Golden Apple Foundation... More detail
TALENT ANNOUNCEMENT MONDAY TALENT ANNOUNCEMENT MONDAY The announcments are coming SOON! The committee is hard at... More detail
Cookie Kit Sale Cookie Kit Sale Golden Apple Foundation and your local Cookies By Design are... More detail
SHINE THE LIGHT ON YOUR TALENT! SHINE THE LIGHT ON YOUR TALENT!     Golden Apple Foundation is putting out a call... More detail
Pre-Register for Driven to Give Dec. 16 Pre-Register for Driven to Give Dec. 16   No cost to you, but BIG rewards for Golden Apple Foundation.... More detail
MAKE A DONATION TODAY! MAKE A DONATION TODAY! Make a secure donation by clicking here on Giving Tuesday,... More detail

 2010-2011 Golden Apple Award Recipients

Carol Davies1Carol L. Davies

Boylan Catholic High School-Rockford
AP Literature; Debate; Senior Comp
M.S. Ed. Psych-Northern Illinois University
B.A. English Education-University of Illinois

Ernest Hemingway once said, “Write the truest sentence that you know.” Carol Davies’ truest sentence is “I am thrilled to share my love of learning and my passion for language and literature with others.” Carol’s ability to illuminate literature for High School students is just the tip of the iceberg when describing her 40 years of teaching. Her love of learning and inquisitive nature enhances her classroom effectiveness. She has a way of creating learners who become their own advocates who think beyond the written words on the page.

To learn from Carol Davies is to master the basic skills and to be challenged to not just read for information or comprehension, but for understanding and for appreciation of the richness and power of the written word. “Mrs. Davies encompasses all the characteristics that make up an impactful teacher. Her intelligence captivates a classroom and her knowledge is intriguing.” says current student and nominator, Lucy Dieckhaus.

“To teach with Carol Davies is to be inspired.” says colleague and former student of Carol’s, Jessica Olsen. “After 40 years of teaching, her energy, enthusiasm, and desire for improvement have never waned.” Carol began a school wide poetry competition twelve years ago to convince students that writing poetry can be fun and rewarding. Today the entire English Department is involved in organizing and promoting the event. Carol has also been instrumental in coordinating an annual National Day of Writing celebration to raise awareness of the importance of writing in our lives. Student’s work is showcased in the National Writers’ Gallery. She started a debate club two years ago at the request of some students and has since created a Debate Class.

Carol’s mission has always been to provide classroom instruction and activities that prepare students to be educated citizens and life-long learners. Through the study of literature and language, she enriches the lives of young adults and promotes an awareness of what it is to be truly human.

It can be said that whatever Carol Davies touches, will most definitely turn to gold!

Carl HobbsCarl Hobbs

Business, Marketing Teacher
Belvidere High School
MS Business Ed – University of Wisconsin, Whitewater
Type 75 – Aurora University
BS Speech Communications – Eastern Illinois University

A “Super Star Teacher” is what his administrative team calls him, consistently demonstrating excellence inside and outside of the classroom, with students, and among his colleagues. From Belvidere High School, Carl Hobbs is touted as being an effective, hands-on, minds-on, progressive educator with extremely high standards for himself and his students, providing exemplary connections to and opportunities for all kinds of students and abilities.

His open-door classroom, structured business/finance classes, and student-centered lesson plans pave the path for a freedom to learn and apply knowledge in an ever-changing work environment. Carl’s passion as an educator ignited the desire for the DECA chapter to become a flagship program that students flock to join, now with over 100 members, who spend countless hours on business-related projects. DECA is an acronym for Distributive Education Clubs of America, a sixty-year old nonprofit that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in the fields of marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. Under Carl’s guidance, Belvidere holds five DECA state championships, has instigated 25 community service projects, provided numerous college scholarships, and raised almost $20,000 for charities.

Supporting his hands-on learning mission, Carl led the charge to build a school store, providing a means for students to take on all aspects of a realistic business. Income from the student store has funded technology, an embroidery machine, and hundreds of new apparel items. In partnership with Alpine Bank, Carl’s accounting students have summer jobs, and one later became a branch manager. As a student who almost “slipped through the cracks”, Carl responds to at-risk students in need of a success story by providing activities and group assignments, like on The Apprentice, that involve failure lessons, that to “fail forward” is one of the keys to success, and keys to a fuller life.

Carl has been awarded the Jack Wolf Teaching Excellence Award and invests numerous volunteer time in mentoring, SharePoint Pilot Program, Salvation Army, Haiti, the Rescue Mission, Belvideropoly, BucStock fundraiser, literacy project, March of Dimes, as a keynote speaker, and others.

Ann Reynolds1Dr. Ann E. Reynolds

Hononegah Community High School-Rockton


Ed.D Teacher Leadership-Walden University

M.S. P.E.-Northern Illinois University

B.S. P.E.-Rockford College

Dedicated to improving the quality of life of her students, Dr. Ann Reynolds’ students and parents frequently refer to her “Health” class as the “Life” class. With that same dedication, Ann has made a few simple commitments in her career: not to judge her students, to create a comfortable and interesting environment, and to convey useable and effective techniques to be employed by her students for their entire lives. She greets her students daily with enthusiasm towards her subject matter, teaching techniques to relieve the stress levels and improving their lives. The ambience of her classroom is stimulating and promotes positive reinforcement.

Dr. Ann Reynolds is one of the best in her field. She has been professionally recognized and has received many honors. In 2009, she was a finalist for the Golden Apple Award. In 2008, she received the Award of Merit from the Illinois State Board of education. In 2007, she was recognized as Hononegah’s Teacher of the Year. The American Alliance for Health and Physical Education Recreation and Dance and it’s Illinois contingent recognized her as the Health Teacher of the Year in 2004 and 2005. Students and staff nominated her to Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers from 2002 to present. In 2004, she received the Ecolab and Vision Award.

Also committed to the community around her, Ann has volunteered for the Red Cross for the past 25 years as the CPR and First Aid Instructor. She is an instructor at Rock Valley College in Continuing Education. Ann facilitates presentations on topics such as: alternative medicine, stress camp, migraine camp, food and fitness camp, etc., and has offered her expertise at Northern Illinois University, Beloit College, Stout University, Menominee, WI. and others.

As a parent of one of her students expressed, Ann is “more than an accumulation of degrees, awards, nominations and projects. She represents the best in education. From her excellent communication skills to her model for classroom technique and management, Dr. Reynolds excels. She has enthusiasm that is contagious to the students, staff, parents and community.”

IMG 0030Rissa Spangler

Eisenhower Middle School-Rockford

Special Education

M.A.T.-Rockford College

B.S. Psychology-Rockford College

Rissa Spangler knows about the “feeling of victory in the classroom and in life”. For her students’ parents, Rissa bridges the mystery gap of special children by providing a safe place for them as well as frequent communications through calls and weekly newsletters. She believes in her students and tells them so daily as she celebrates their gifts, which she helps them find and share. Her students “have cognitive and physical delays that they must learn to look past to help each other gain self-confidence,” she says. “They believe they are smart. . . Everyone has value and brings a different perspective to each assignment.” She watches her students come out of their shells to set and meet goals, learn to read, be verbal and interact with each other. She adds innovation to her teaching through humor, empowerment, and inspiration.

Rissa steps out to be a voice and an advocate for her students, writing her own curriculum, creating an IEP for each student, and with her open door policy, welcomes anyone to visit her classroom to help dispel myths about disabilities. She challenges others to compare her curriculum with the general education curriculum, emphasizing her high expectations, encouragement, and care for each other as constants in her self-contained classroom, where she teaches all the core classes.

Every year, Rissa’s students celebrate global diversity in their study of “Traditions of the World” by researching a country and its customs. The school body is invited to visit and learn from this project and its goal of understanding differences.

Not to limit her involvement to her teaching field, Rissa shares her warmth and leadership by running the school store, heading the Renaissance program spearheading fundraisers, volunteers to coach 7th grade girls’ basketball, chaperones Friday Friendzies, as well as community efforts at her church, soup kitchen, homeless shelter, and Easter Seals. At home, Rissa is a foster care parent. Her mission of “victory over differences” shines through in her tremendous impact on students, their parents, and the whole school community and beyond.

Bradd Stott1Bradley C. Stott

Keith Country Day School-Rockford

History; U.S. Government; World Religions

M.A. Education-Benedictine University

B.A. History-University of Utah

In graduate school, Brad Stott began building a website that he continues to use every day to enhance the educational experience of his students. Dr. Ronald C. Lee, Jr., Head of Middle and Upper School at Keith Country Day School, praises Brad’s outstanding qualities and accomplishments as a teacher. “A key to Brad’s success in the classroom has been his embrace of a view of education that emphasizes the creative use of technology to promote student learning”, says Lee. Brad has modeled best practices in the use of technology, including a teacher-driven website – www. – that contains PowerPoint lectures, review games, and other class-related materials. Finding fun and creative ways to use Smart Board and Windows Movie Maker technologies in the classroom over the years has brought about the expansion of his website to 200 separate web pages and 600 separate files.

Amending his technology focus, Brad heads Keith’s Technology Committee and helps the Technology Oversight Team. He serves as Chair of the History department, is Head Golf Coach, and supervises the Table Tennis Club and middle school Golf Club. He serves on the faculty Grant Oversight Committee, teaches a before-school study skills course to 9th graders and advises the year-long 10th grade and senior projects at Keith. In the community, he has coached twice for Indian Trails Conference Golf Champions.

Brad’s dedication to his profession has earned him recognition over the years. The Illinois Math and Science Academy (IMSA) presented him with the Teacher Recognition Award, and he received the Teacher Website Excellence Award. Brad has been given the Rockford Rotary Teacher Certificate of Appreciation Award, has been nominated to Golden Apple several times, and twice was awarded the Keith Senior Class Recognition Award.

Believing that best teachers make a commitment to the future and to others, Brad left the business world to play a key role in living out his mission to teach that solving the most vexing world problems is based solely in education. He hopes his teaching legacy follows the Abraham Lincoln quotation, “I want it said of me by those who knew me best that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow”.


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