On February 23 students in five Collier County classrooms received bushels of
Golden Delicious apples as their teachers were surprised with Golden Apple awards,
which highlight best practices in teaching.
Representatives from Suncoast Credit
Union, presenting sponsor of the Golden
Apple Teacher Recognition Program, were
joined by Champions For Learning board
members, sponsors, and volunteers to
present the awards to the teachers in their
This year each school brought forward
a teacher and best practice to highlight on
behalf of their school. From this group of
Teachers of Distinction, Champions For
Learning’s community-based selection
committee identified five teachers to highlight as Golden Apple recipients.
Congratulations to the following 2017-
18 Golden Apple recipients:
Staci Haralson Barretta, Big Cypress
Hope Cliff, Sea Gate Elementary
Mary B. Eckard, Highlands Elementary
Dylan Richard Opper, Pinecrest
Heather Thornton, Gulf Coast High
The following educators from our community were named Teachers of Distinction for 2017-2018:
Mary Sweetland, Lely Elementary
Adam Peterson, Lely High School
Rachel Robitzer Castilla, Manatee
Stephen Detjen, Manatee Middle
Lori H. Galiana,
Marco Island Academy
Kathy Albanese, Marco Island Charter
Mabel Pen~a, Tommie Barfield
(The full list of the Teachers of Distinction may be found at championsforlearning.org/wp-content/uploads/Teachers of-Distinction-2017-18.pdf)
The 2017-18 Golden Apple recipients will each receive a grant (up to $5,000) from Suncoast Credit Union to allow the building of best practices. All Teachers of Distinction receive a $250 award, and the Golden Apple recipients receive an additional $500 award thanks to the Mary Ingram Fund of the Columbus Foundation.
This year, more than fifty different schools will be represented by a Teacher of Distinction, five of which will be honored as Golden Apple recipients.
The community will honor and thank the Golden Apple Recipients, Teachers of Distinction, and Collier County Public Schools Teachers of the Year at the Golden Apple Celebration of Teachers Dinner at the Naples Grande Beach Resort on April 16, 2018 from 6-9 PM. Thomas Riley will also be honored as the 2017-2018 Heart of the Apple recipient for his contribution to the community.
Families, students, and the entire community are invited to join in the celebration by tuning in to NBC-2 for the Golden Apple television program highlighting the great work of teachers in Collier County classrooms. The program will be aired on April 22 on NBC-2 at 7 PM, and rebroadcast multiple times after on The Education Channel.