A little hand reached out to the gold apple in Kim Sweat’s hand.
“Is that real?” the student asked.
Sweat looked at the apple.
“No, it’s not. But it feels that way with all of you here,” she said.
Representatives from The Education Foundation of Collier County, School Board members and Superintendent Dennis Thompson spent time Thursday handing out The Education Foundation’s annual Golden Apple Awards, which are given to teachers who exhibit excellence in the classroom.
“Effective teachers have the power to turn on each child to life-long learning and achieving, and they also are the most effective bridges between the community and its schools,” said Alan Horton, 2010-11 Golden Apple Chairman, in a statement.
Teachers were nominated by students, parents and community members last year. Once nominated, educators could send an application to the selection committee for review.
The selection committee read the applications blind and narrowed the field to 60 teachers, who were then observed in their classrooms by a core committee. That team was responsible for choosing 30 Teachers of Distinction.
The Teachers of Distinction were then interviewed and observed once more, after which the six Golden Apple teachers were chosen.
“Thank you to all of you. This is a tremendous honor for our school,” New Beginnings Principal Bill Spano told committee and community members who came to present the award to Sweat.
Each Apple teacher receives $1,800, an engraved Golden Apple and a basket of Golden Delicious apples for their classroom, among other gifts.
The Golden Apple Teachers and the Teachers of Distinction will be recognized at the 21st Annual Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Program presented by the Suncoast for Kids Foundation on May 3 at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts.
The black-tie affair gives students, parents and the community the opportunity to recognize the teachers for their contributions. It also allows the six Golden Apple teachers to speak about their profession.
For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Education Foundation at (239) 643-4755.
Connect with K-12 education policy reporter Katherine Albers at www.naplesnews.com/staff/katherine-albers/.