OPRF English teacher named Golden Apple Award finalist

English teacher Jessica Stovall at OPRF High School in Oak Park. Photo credit: OPRF District 200.

OPRF English teacher Jessica Stovall has been named a finalist for the 2016 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching.  For over 30 years, Golden Apple has been a leading nonprofit organization committed to celebrating and developing great teachers with the ability and passion for making life-changing differences in the lives of students.

Each year, the awards recognize and honor ten outstanding 9-12 grade Illinois teachers for their role in building a stronger, better-educated society.  Stovall is one of 30 finalists who were chosen from a pool of over 400 nominations.

“They don’t tell you who nominated you, but a little birdie told me it was a former student,” Stovall told the Chicago Tribune. “It really makes it special that someone really thought highly of the work and commitment I have to the classroom. It was really exciting.”

A “Celebration of Excellence” in honor of the 30 finalists will be held on Saturday, April 2 at the Hilton Rosemont Chicago O’Hare and is open to the public. Event details and tickets are available here.

The 30 finalists will go through a final round of review and classroom observations prior to the selection and announcement of the 10 award recipients.  All finalists will be observed in their classrooms and the selection committee will conduct interviews with the teachers’ colleagues, supervisors, students and parents. The selection committee is made up of college and university professors, educational consultants, administrators and former Golden Apple Award recipients.

“Now more than ever, superior teacher quality defines the educational experience children have,” said Dominic Belmonte, President and CEO of Golden Apple. “These finalists have evidenced transformative talent in improving students’ lives as well as their learning acumen. Golden Apple is proud to pursue its mission of honoring teacher excellence through these candidates.”

Each Golden Apple Award recipient receives a tuition-free, spring quarter sabbatical to study at Northwestern University as well as  $5,000 cash award. Award recipients also become Fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators, an identified and respected platform for Illinois and national education.

To say the least, Stovall is humbled by her nomination for the award and if chosen to be one out of ten award recipients, she plans to have a part of her winnings go toward her OPRF classroom and her students.

“I don’t have my own personal computer, so having my own computer with software to help the students is something I would consider,” Stovall told the Tribune. “I’d also like to get some camera to allow us to create YouTube videos and help sponsor more study abroad programs. I did a Fulbright Scholarship to New Zealand last year. I would love to sponsor a student to either come here or go there.”

For more information about Golden Apple or to find the full list of 2016 finalists, click here.


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