The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools announced Wednesday its top 30 finalists in the Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Program for 2013-2014.
More than 3,000 nominations were received and 367 educators completed the application. The Foundation's 13-member selection committee then had the arduous task of narrowing down the top 30 teachers.
"We thank all the teachers who were nominated and applied for this special distinction," organizers said.
The finalists are: Lana Balletti, Villas Elementary; Kevin Black, Lehigh Senior; Khrystine Bosland, Bayshore Elementary; Penny Branham, Colonial Elementary; Katherine Callard, Dr. Carrie D. Robinson Littleton Elementary; Dr. Dante Ciolfi, Fort Myers Inst. of Technology; Franklin (F. Scott) Cook, Sunshine Elementary; Mark Drew, Fort Myers High; Lisa Flannery, Manatee Elementary; Patricia Gair, Cypress Lake High; Gwynetta Gittens, East Lee County High; Jennifer Grida, River Hall Elementary; Susan Hassett, Dr. Carrie D. Robinson Littleton Elementary; Richard Andrew Jeter, Diplomat Middle; Laura Jordan, Caloosa Elementary; Kelley Kaminsky, Estero High; Sara Kohlhauff, Pinewoods Elementary; Natalie Lafferty, North Fort Myers High; Robert Logsdon, Diplomat Middle; Joseph Mallon, Island Coast High; Rachel Malone, Fort Myers High; William (Patrick) Miller, Mariner High; Britt Monroe, Hector A. Cafferata Jr. Elementary; Kelly Jo Myers Madoian, Riverdale High; Frank Palaia, Riverdale High; Mary (Gina) Sabiston, South Fort Myers High; Phillip Savage, Dunbar High; Quinn Schnabel, Diplomat Middle; Timothy Schnabel, Trafalgar Middle; and Jamie VanCleve, Patriot Elementary.
All finalists were surprised in their classrooms and notified of their exceptional ranking in the process. These teachers will continue in the rigorous process of selecting the top six who will be awarded the esteemed Golden Apple. These teachers will be observed in the classroom and interviewed by each member of the selection committee. The six Golden Apple Teachers for 2013-2014 will be honored at a black tie banquet at Harborside Event Center on April 11.
Twenty-seven years ago, Golden Apple was created to enhance public education by recognizing and rewarding excellence in teaching. Each year begins with an invitation to students, parents, teachers, administrators and the general public to nominate any public school teacher employed by The School District of Lee County who is making an extraordinary contribution to our students. Since the program's inception, the Foundation has awarded 152 educators with the prestigious "Golden Apple."
About The Foundation: The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools, Inc. is a private, 501(c) 3 organization established in 1986. Its mission is to enhance and enrich the quality of public education in Lee County for students and educators through programs, resources and experiences made possible through corporate, individual and educational partnerships.
The Program was conceptualized to try to achieve several specific goals:
A clear focus on teachers as the most important element in a child's learning and development
Appreciation for the dedication and skills of teachers
Enhanced respect and status for the teaching profession
Community wide understanding of the importance of high quality education
Source: The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools