2017 Golden Apple Awards Program Recognizes 45 Public, Private K-12 Teachers in County, City for Performance Excellence

(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – At the annual Golden Apple celebration last evening in Lane Auditorium in the McIntire Road Albemarle County Office Building, 45 local public and private K-12 school teachers received awards and grants. The regional teacher recognition program, held during national Teacher Appreciation Week is sponsored by Better Living Building Supply & Cabinetry. With businesses in Charlottesville and Zion Crossroads, the company has made community service a core value since its founding in 1893.

Golden Apple celebrates performance excellence and curriculum innovations by teachers who are nominated for the award by principals, colleagues, parents and students. An independent panel reviews each nomination and selects the award winners.

Chairman of the Better Living Board, Richard L. Nunley, began Golden Apple as a “means of selecting and honoring outstanding teachers who are most important in nurturing our children’s inquisitive minds and preparing them for the challenges of the future,” he said.

According to program criteria, teachers are selected for their “demonstrated ability in the classroom to create a love of learning among students of all abilities and backgrounds.” Judges look for evidence that teachers are simulating thought and dialogue among students; challenging them to reach high standards and expectations; understanding the needs of students and meeting those needs with determination, enthusiasm and imagination; and involving families in the education process.

“All of us remember outstanding teachers who helped us and made a significant difference in our lives,” said Mr. Nunley. “We created the Golden Apple Award Program to recognize each year the exceptional and innovative teachers who contribute so much to our children and families in Central Virginia,” he added.

Pamela Sutton-Wallace, Chief Executive Officer of the University of Virginia’s Health Systems, was the keynote speaker for this year’s awards program.

Among the 45 recipients this year, eight teachers were randomly selected to receive $1,000 classroom learning grants, including John Baran of Monticello High School; Melvin Grady of Buford Middle School; Sylvia Jenkins of Red Hill Elementary School; Mariel Mendez from Stony Point Elementary School; Tom Pallante of the Miller School; Ellen Patterson from Murray Elementary School; BJ Santos of Murray High School; and Wynne Taylor of Sutherland Middle School.

One Golden Apple award was presented posthumously to Eric Betthauser of Henley Middle School. On his behalf, Henley students Baylee Hughes, Caroline Scogna, and Elke Beaumont accepted the award.

Among the 2017 Golden Apple award winners from Albemarle County Public Schools were:

Sibylle Rotach-Hunt, Agnor-Hurt Elementary School

Kirsten Fuoti, Albemarle High School

Ashley Wright, Baker-Butler Elementary School

Ray Chrobak, Broadus Wood Elementary School

Teresa McCreight, Brownsville Elementary School

Jason Poole, Burley Middle School

Eileen Guevara, Cale Elementary School

Bobby E. Elliott, Jr., CATEC

Renee Willis, Center for Learning & Growth

Don Barnes, Community Public Charter School

Adele LaFontaine, Crozet Elementary School

Emily Rexrode, Greer Elementary School

Eric Betthauser, Henley Middle School

Anna L. Snyder, Hollymead Elementary School

Lin Hill, Jouett Middle School

Destinie Thomas, Meriwether Lewis Elementary School               

John C. Baran, Jr., Monticello High School             

Ellen D. Patterson, Murray Elementary School

BJ Santos, Murray High School

Sylvia Jenkins, Red Hill Elementary School

Kimberly Gentry, Scottsville Elementary School

Diane D. Goodrich, Stone-Robinson Elementary School

Mariel Mendez, Stony Point Elementary School

Wynne Taylor, Sutherland Middle School

Paula Hoffman, Walton Middle School

Robyn C. Evans, Western Albemarle High School

Elizabeth Coppolino, Woodbrook Elementary School

D’Ann Dickerson, Yancey Elementary School

2017 Golden Apple Award winners from Charlottesville City Public Schools included:

Melvin Grady, Buford Middle School

Jessica Powley, Burnley-Moran Elementary School

Bryan Kayser, Charlottesville High School

Ashley Riley, Clark Elementary School

Amy Jones, Greenbrier Elementary School

Lisa Utz, Jackson-Via Elementary School

Lorena Caballero Bower, Johnson Elementary School

Michael Ryan McCrory, Lugo-McGinness Academy

Nicole B. Driggs, Venable Elementary School

Samantha Pagni, Walker Upper Elementary School

2016 Golden Apple Award winners from local private schools included:

Lauren DeVane, Charlottesville Catholic School

Tom Pallante, Miller School of Albemarle

Corey Borgman, Mountaintop Montessori School

Anne Wendling, St. Anne’s Belfield School

Prudence Huddleston, Tandem Friends School

David Welty, The Blue Ridge School

Ash White, The Covenant School