Ingleside teacher wins Golden Apple award

Big Hollow Elementary School’s Andrea Woods feted for excellence in teaching

Big Hollow Elementary School teacher Andrea Woods was the recipient of a Golden Apple Award for excellence in teaching.

CHICAGO – The Golden Apple Foundation, the Illinois-based nonprofit committed to preparing, mentoring and honoring educators who advance educational opportunities for students, surprised Andrea Woods, a fourth grade teacher at Big Hollow Elementary School in Ingleside, with the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching on May 5.

Woods is one of 10 teacher award recipients in Illinois.

After a highly competitive process, the 2023 teaching award recipients were selected from more than 570 nominations of fourth to eighth grade teachers.

“These remarkable teachers have shown their dedication, creativity and impact on their students and schools. They have also contributed to their professional communities by sharing their best practices, collaborating with their peers and mentoring new teachers,” said Alan Mather, president of The Golden Apple Foundation. “They are not only exemplary teachers, but also influential leaders. The 2023 award recipients will join our mission to impact the lives of even more students by supporting the next generation of great teachers through our teacher preparation programs.”

The Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching honor outstanding teachers for having lasting, positive effects on students’ lives and school communities. Teacher recipients demonstrate – in their teaching and results – significant, positive impact on their students’ growth and learning.

“These outstanding educators have demonstrated their commitment, passion and impact consistently with their students and in their communities,” said Alicia Winckler, CEO of The Golden Apple Foundation. “They are not only making a difference in teaching, but are also inspiring community leaders and lifelong learners. We are honored to recognize them and support them as they advance their learning and continue to evolve as educational influencers.”

Perseverance, resilience and commitment describe Woods as an educator and person. Around the time the pandemic hit, Woods was partnered with a new student teacher to mentor while privately caring for her father who was gravely ill with cancer. Within the span of weeks, her was diagnosed with cancer and died. Despite being thrown the biggest obstacle of her life, Woods did not abandon her students, their families or her student teacher.

Woods’ students initiated a project to install solar panels at the school, making a positive impact on the environment while saving the school district hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Woods has achieved her National Board Certification and is working to obtain her EL endorsement to prepare for the school’s growing population of second language learners.

Each Golden Apple Award recipient receives a $5,000 award and a spring sabbatical provided by Northwestern University at no cost. Award recipients also become Fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators, a community of educators who play an important role in preparing the next generation of teachers in the Golden Apple Scholars and Accelerators programs, which are dedicated to addressing the teacher shortage in Illinois.

The nomination period for the 2024 Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching and Leadership is open. All are invited to nominate exceptional pre-K to third grade teachers and Pre-K to 12th grade school leaders in Illinois at

Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network

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