3 suburban teachers named Golden Apple finalists

  • Sara Magnafichi is a first-grade teacher at Admiral Byrd School in Elk Grove Village.

    Sara Magnafichi is a first-grade teacher at Admiral Byrd School in Elk Grove Village. COURTESY OF GOLDEN APPLE

  • Christine Gillis is a pre-K teacher at Briar Glen Elementary School in Wheaton.

    Christine Gillis is a pre-K teacher at Briar Glen Elementary School in Wheaton. COURTESY OF GOLDEN APPLE

  • Anne McNamara teaches special education (grades K-2) at Countryside Elementary School in Barrington.

    Anne McNamara teaches special education (grades K-2) at Countryside Elementary School in Barrington. COURTESY OF GOLDEN APPLE

 
 
Updated 2/26/2021 7:59 AM

Three suburban teachers are finalists for the 2021 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching to be awarded this spring.

In all, 32 finalists were chosen from 708 prekindergarten to third-grade teachers nominated statewide, Golden Apple said in a news release this week.

 

The three area finalists are:

• Christine Gillis, a prekindergarten teacher at Briar Glen Elementary School in Wheaton.

• Sara Magnafichi, a first-grade teacher at Admiral Byrd School in Elk Grove Village.

• Anne McNamara, who teaches special education in kindergarten through second grade at Countryside Elementary School in Barrington.

Finalists were nominated by fellow educators, students, parents and community members. The 2021 Golden Apple Award recipients will be notified by surprise in the spring.

"The vital role of teachers in the lives of students, their families, and their communities has been elevated even more over the past year," Golden Apple President Alan Mather said in the release. "The resilience teachers have demonstrated while navigating teaching during the global pandemic and through a time of racial awakening, while providing the high-quality education and social-emotional support students need, has been tremendously impactful. We are honored to recognize the extraordinary work of these finalists."

The Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching & Leadership was the idea of Golden Apple founders Mike and Patricia Koldyke, who felt excellent teachers did not receive adequate recognition for their contributions to building a stronger, better-educated society. The teaching award has been given out annually since 1986. The leadership award was added in 2014.

Winners will receive a $5,000 cash award, as well as a spring sabbatical at Northwestern University. Award recipients also become Fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators, sharing their expertise and mentoring Golden Apple Scholars who are aspiring teachers.

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