Wednesday, October 27, 2021

2018 Teachers of Distinction

Champions For Learning hosted the 28th Annual Golden Apple Celebration of Teachers Dinner at the Naples Grande Beach Resort. During this event the community honored and thanked the Golden Apple Recipients, Teachers of Distinction, and Collier County Public Schools Teachers of the Year.

Champions For Learning invited each Collier County School to put forward an educator and best practice to be recognized as this year’s Teacher of Distinction, providing the opportunity for every school to be involved. The result was 57 teachers representing 55 of our schools. From this group of talented teachers, the Golden Apple Selection Committee chose five to further highlight their best practices.

During the event, community members were treated to students introducing their teachers and teachers sharing their passion for the profession. Champions For Learning also honored Thomas Riley as the 2018 Heart of the Apple recipient.

All Teachers of Distinction received a $250 award, and the Golden Apple recipients received an additional $500 award thanks to the Mary Ingram Fund of the Columbus Foundation. Each 2017-18 Golden Apple recipient receives a grant of up to $5,000 from Suncoast Credit Union to build on their best practices.

“At Suncoast Credit Union, we believe that the stronger we make our teachers, the stronger our students will be. For this reason, we create opportunities for educators to share best practices and to grow professionally,” said Cindy Helton, executive director of the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation. “The Golden Apple Awards enable us to recognized teachers whose dedication and practices stand above the rest. We hope that the grants will inspire them to continue investing in our students and to develop innovative practices.”

The Suncoast Credit Union Foundation is funded through the credit union members’ use of their debit and credit cards. The Suncoast for Schools Rewards Debit Card and VISA Credit Card program automatically generates funds that are dedicated to education and health-related initiatives benefiting children in the local community.

You can view videos highlighting the best practices of our Teachers of Distinction and Golden Apple recipients at

School  & Name

Alternative Schools – Florence Rowley

Avalon Elementary – Kacee L. Farrar

Barron Collier High – Ian Sharp

Calusa Park Elementary – Yolanda Sohn

Corkscrew Elementary  – Jessica Stricker

Corkscrew Middle  – Tara Domiano

Cypress Palm Middle  – Theresa Rodriguez Sweigart

East Naples Middle  – Lisa Hicks

Eden Park Elementary  – Susan M. Felt

Estates Elementary  – Tammy L. Miller

Everglades City School James  – Paul Tribble

Golden Gate Elementary  – Venesia Samuels

Golden Gate High  – John Krupp

Golden Gate Middle  – Gail Pirics

Golden Terrace Elementary  – Kelly E. Viana

Gulf Coast Charter Academy South A  – nna Braun

Gulfview Middle  – Kim Rutila

Immokalee Community School  – Ann Marie Morgiewicz

Immokalee High  – Tania Palafox

Immokalee Middle  – LaTeeya Toombs

Immokalee Technical College  – Delia Lozano

Lake Park Elementary  – Joseph Merrill and Kristin Merrill

Lake Trafford Elementary  – Scarlett McDonald

Laurel Oak Elementary  – Nicole Sponseller

Lely Elementary  – Mary Sweetland

Lely High  – Adam Peterson

Lorenzo Walker Technical College  – Mary Crowley

Lorenzo Walker Technical High School  – Tara L. Barr

Manatee Elementary  – Rachel Robitzer Castilla

Manatee Middle  – Stephen Detjen

Marco Island Academy  – Lori H. Galiana

Marco Island Charter Middle  – Kathy Albanese

Mike Davis Elementary  – Kylee R. Fiorante

Naples High  – Cynthia Gregory

Naples Park Elementary  – Chandra Cox

North Naples Middle  – Andrew A. Ward

Oakridge Middle  – Andrea Polanco

Osceola Elementary  – D. Tyler Patnode

Palmetto Elementary  – Diane Lynch

Palmetto Ridge High  – Kristen A. Favaro & Andrea Clawson

Parkside Elementary  – Kathleen Wasmer

Pelican Marsh Elementary  – Tiffany Wind

Pine Ridge Middle  – Carol Nichols

Poinciana Elementary  – Jenna L. Zimmer

Sabal Palm Elementary  – Miriam Aravena

Shadowlawn Elementary  – Terresa Gomes

Tommie Barfield Elementary  – Mabel Peña

Veterans Memorial Elementary  – Marge Cox

Village Oaks Elementary  – Mary Ann Torres Arroyo

Vineyards Elementary  – Suela Spahiu

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *