More Than 1,000 Nominations Received for this Year’s Golden Apple Awards; Ceremony Saluting Area’s Outstanding Teachers Will Be Held This Afternoon

Golden Apple Awards logo

For the second consecutive year, nominations for the Golden Apple Awards, a program honoring outstanding public and private school teachers in Albemarle County and Charlottesville City, totaled more than 1,000. As the pandemic continued to impact local education, the dedication, creativity and support of teachers for their students continued to attract widespread recognition from local communities. Nominations easily surpassed the 100-150 annual teacher recommendations that characterized most of the 21 years of the program’s existence.

Golden Apple honors one teacher from each public and private school in the county and city who has demonstrated excellence in the classroom through the use of innovative instructional strategies and techniques and involvement with families and community partners. Since its inception, the program has been sponsored by Better Living Building Supply and Cabinetry. The company’s chairman, Mr. Richard Nunley, often has talked about the positive difference a teacher made in his life at an early age. He established the program, he has said, in appreciation of “exceptionally talented and caring teachers who have lifted up young lives.” In fact, he married one of them. His wife Judy taught at Clark Elementary School in the city.

“It’s entirely appropriate that we celebrate Golden Apple during National Teacher Appreciation Week,” Nunley said. “Teachers nurture the inquisitive minds of our young people, unleashing their creativity and their interest in entrepreneurship, problem-solving, and most of all, lifelong learning. Not only do students grow in their capabilities and accomplishments, but communities prosper as well,” he said.

Golden Apple judges look for evidence that teachers are simulating thought and dialogue among students, understanding and meeting their needs, and involving families in the education process. Nominations are received from students, parents, other educators, and members of the community. The teachers who are selected for the award represent less than 2% of all teachers in the city and county public and private schools.

This year, teachers from 42 schools are being honored in a ceremony beginning at 5:30 this afternoon, May 3, in Lane Auditorium at the County Office Building at 401 McIntire Road in Charlottesville. The ceremony is being livestreamed at

Guest speakers this afternoon include Superintendent of Charlottesville City Schools, Dr. Royal Gurley, and Albemarle County Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Matthew Haas. Presenting the awards will be Charlottesville’s Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Katina Otey; Albemarle’s Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Clare Keiser; and the Head of School for the Miller School of Albemarle, Michael Drude.

Also speaking will be retired Superintendent of Albemarle County Public Schools, Dr. Kevin Castner, who chaired the selection committee. Other committee members included, from Albemarle County, Rhonda Angel and Karen Marcus; from Charlottesville City, Sylvia Elder, Brenda Payne, and Lisa Utz; Lisa Wood from The Covenant School; and Bekah Saxon of Blue Ridge UniServ. The latter organization works with education professionals to improve public school teaching and learning environments in Central Virginia.

Each Golden Apple recipient receives a brass, gold-plated replica of an apple with their name and a grant of $500 to be used for a classroom program or activity.

Golden Apples earned by Albemarle County teachers include:

  • Jordan Golomb, ACPS Virtual School
  • Marianne Baker, Agnor-Hurt Elementary School
  • Malik Poindexter, Albemarle High School
  • Drew Craft, Baker-Butler Elementary
  • Katherine Gerry, Broadus Wood Elementary School
  • David Foreman, Brownsville Elementary School
  • Leigh Steigman, Burley Middle School
  • Stephen Stalker, Center I
  • Dr. Kimberly Smyth, Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC)
  • Elena Alba, Community Lab School
  • Jessica Morrone, Crozet Elementary School
  • Meaghan Craddock, Greer Elementary School
  • Amelia Bochain, Henley Middle School
  • John Carroll, Hollymead Elementary School
  • Shannon Reilly, Jouett Middle School
  • Robert Gregg , Lakeside Middle School
  • Kathryn DeAtley, Meriwether Lewis Elementary School
  • Monique Faruque, Monticello High School
  • Bethany Morris, Mountain View Elementary School
  • Marcy Williams, Murray Elementary School
  • Martha Layman, Red Hill Elementary School
  • Allison Nader, Scottsville Elementary School
  • Briana Carel, Stone-Robinson Elementary School
  • Emily-Ann Fleming, Stony Point Elementary School
  • Alexander Groff, Walton Middle School
  • Clayton Grimes, Western Albemarle High School
  • Filadelfia Soto, Woodbrook Elementary School

Golden Apples earned by Charlottesville City teachers include:

  • Matthew Resnick, Buford Middle School
  • Huma Ahmad, Burnley-Moran Middle School
  • Andrew Josselyn, Charlottesville High School
  • Caitlin Natale, Clark Elementary School
  • Brenning Greenfield, Greenbrier Elementary School
  • Melanie-Ann Johnson, Jackson-Via Elementary School
  • Lindsay Kamide, Johnson Elementary School
  • Jenny Issacs-Lowe, Venable Elementary School
  • Bridget Drain, Walker Upper Elementary School

Golden Apples earned by private school teachers include:

  • Alexander Keevil, Blue Ridge School
  • John Garland, Charlottesville Catholic School
  • Sarah Rodriguez, The Covenant School
  • Ryan Henry, Miller School of Albemarle
  • Anna Hennessy, St. Anne’s-Belfield School
  • Meg Davis, Tandem Friends School

CONTACT: Helen Dunn, Legislative and Public Affairs Officer
PHONE: 434-249-8379