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17th Annual Golden Apple Awards Honor 41 Public, Private School Teachers in City, County, for Classroom Excellence

DATE: May 17, 2018
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
PHONE: 434-972-4049

17th Annual Golden Apple Awards Honor 41 Public, Private School Teachers in City, County, for Classroom Excellence

Pamela R. Moran
Superintendent Pamela Moran at the
2018 Golden Apple Awards Ceremony

(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – Teachers from 41 public and private schools in Albemarle County and Charlottesville City were honored last evening at the 17th annual Golden Apple Award ceremonies held in Lane Auditorium in the Albemarle County Office Building.

The teachers were selected for the award based upon demonstrated excellence in the classroom, their innovative instructional strategies and techniques, and their involvement in their local community. Nominations were made by students, parents, educators, and other members of the community. The 41 teachers who were selected for the award represent two percent of the more than 2,000 teachers in city and county public and private schools.

Since their inception, the awards have been sponsored by Better Living Building Supply & Cabinetry. The company’s chairman, Mr. Richard Nunley, often has talked about the impact that an exceptionally talented and caring teacher can have on the life of a student. Reading through this year’s nomination forms bears that out, with many teachers celebrated for their enthusiasm, energy, kindness, and ability to connect with students.

“Whenever I am visiting a classroom, kids are eager to talk about their teachers,” said Dr. Pamela Moran, Albemarle’s Superintendent. “They talk about teachers they love and why they love them. One student put it very well,” Dr. Moran said. “He told me his teacher teaches from the heart, not just from books.”

“The word is joy,” said Dr. Rosa Atkins, Superintendent of Charlottesville City Public Schools. “The teacher always will be the single most important influence on a child’s ability to open new windows of discovery. In reading the accolades these teachers have earned, you can feel the excitement they bring to their classroom,” she added.

Mr. Nunley said the Golden Apple program is among the most effective vehicles for his company to give back to the Charlottesville and Albemarle communities. “Teachers nurture the inquisitive minds of our young people and prepare them for the challenges of the future,” he said.

In addition to receiving an all-brass golden apple, eight teachers, drawn by lottery, also received a $1,000 donation from Better Living Building Supply & Cabinetry for classroom programs next year. Those teachers were Hannah Baran from Albemarle High School; Emily Blasé, who teaches at Henley Middle School; Stone-Robinson’s Pam Dean; Monticello High School’s Jeremy Dove; Dan Dunsmore from the Blue Ridge School; Johnson Elementary School’s Laura Schaaf; TJ Steger from Walton Middle School; and Jessica Taylor, who teaches at Clark Elementary.

A select panel of educators and parents review all applications and make the Golden Apple selections based upon the criteria set by Better Living Building Supply & Cabinetry. The award recognizes teachers who create a love of learning among students of all backgrounds and abilities; involve families in the education process; understand and meet the individual needs of each student; and challenge students to reach high standards.

The selection panel this year included retired Albemarle County Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Kevin Castner, who co-chaired the panel with John Baldino, the retired co-chair of Blue Ridge Uniserve. Also on the panel from Blue Ridge Uniserve were Bekah Saxon and Jamie Bourland, who is the representative for the private schools. Jakki Crocker, a parent council representative from Charlottesville City, and Rhonda Angel, a parent council representative from Albemarle County, completed the panel’s membership.

Since the program began in 2002, more than 600 teachers have been recognized for their service to students and families in the Charlottesville and Albemarle communities. This year’s honorees include:

Lily Williams, Agnor-Hurt Elementary School
Hannah Baran, Albemarle High School
Melissa Sysling, Baker-Butler Elementary School
Dan Dunsmore, Blue Ridge School
Brittany Lindemann, Broadus Wood Elementary School
Jennifer McCartney, Brownsville Elementary School
Latoya Brown, Buford Middle School
Pete Fiddner, Jackson P. Burley Middle School
Briana Barns, Jackson-Via Elementary School
Mary Johnston, Burnley-Moran Elementary School
Marquez Mitchell, Paul H. Cale Elementary School
Karen Brown, CATEC
Michelle Banaszak, Charlottesville Catholic School
Nicole Carter, Charlottesville High School
Jessica Taylor, George Rogers Clark Elementary School
Bliss Webel, Community Public Charter School
Betsy Carter, Covenant School
Justin Stauffer, Crozet Elementary School
Hannah Handrich, Mary C. Greer Elementary School
Patrick Beale, Greenbrier Elementary School
Emily Blasé, Joseph T. Henley Middle School
Maria Ellis, Hollymead Elementary School
Rob Dent, Jack Jouett Middle School
Laura Schaaf, Johnson Elementary School
Max Hill, Lugo-McGuiness Academy
Meg Franco, Meriwether Lewis Elementary School
Sarah Taylor, Miller School of Albemarle
Jeremy Dove, Monticello High School
Jen Donalson, Virginia L. Murray Elementary School
Mary Kelly, Murray High School
Debbie Rondeau, Red Hill Elementary School
Michelle Valentino, Scottsville Elementary School
Jenny Kirkland, St. Anne’s Belfield School
Pamela Dean, Stone-Robinson Elementary School
Erin Owney, Stony Point Elementary School
Kate Syms, Mortimer Y. Sutherland Middle School
Leslie Hunter, Venable Elementary School
Sarah Lloyd, Walker Upper Elementary School
TJ Steger, Leslie H. Walton Middle School
Sandy Keyser, Western Albemarle High School
Jamela Jasper, Woodbrook Elementary School


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