Don Zimmerman Golden Apple Teacher Scholarship

Don Zimmerman

Golden Apple Foundation and the family of Don Zimmerman are pleased to offer a new scholarship opportunity for area teachers.

Don Zimmerman began teaching locally in 1956 at Rockford West High School as an Orchestra teacher. He later taught at Guilford High School and he always inspired his students to excel to the best of their ability in every part of their lives. Don was 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 turned it into 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 local RPS 205 teachers, and today has grown to supporting 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 & recognition, the Golden Apple Teacher Academy, classroom grants, and teacher scholarships. 

The Zimmerman family and Golden Apple Foundation honor Don's memory with the Don Zimmerman Golden Apple Scholarship. This scholarship grants an existing teacher a full-tuition scholarship at Rockford University to complete their Master’s degree. The next opporunity to apply begins now and the 2022 recipient will be chosen by June 15, 2022 and will begin as a student at Rockford University beginning in the Fall 2022.

  • Certified Pre-K-12th grade teacher who has completed a minimum of two years as a full-time teacher
  • Currently teaching full-time in a public school or ISBE recognized non-public school in Winnebago or Boone County
  • Employed in good standing within current school district
  • Maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA
  • Must have applied for admittance to Rockford University’s master’s program prior to application submission.
  • Complete application packet and submit to the Golden Apple Foundation office by 5 p.m. on May 20, 2022.
  • Finalists will be contacted by June, 1, 2022 and interviews scheduled.
  • Recipient will be announced by June 15, 2022.


 Ist Don Zimmerman Golden Apple Scholarship recipient - Meghan Baylor 2020


Photo: Recipient Meghan Baylor, Dr. Eric Fulcomer, President of Rockford University(back); Brad Zimmerman and Michelle Gorham, Board members. (front)