Albemarle, Charlottesville communities honor 44 teachers for their classroom excellence in 19th Annual Golden Apple Award celebration

Updated: May. 21, 2020 at 8:28 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - On Thursday, 44 teachers from Charlottesville and Albemarle County schools were recognized for their service.

The 19th Annual Golden Apple Awards were held virtually Thursday afternoon. Honorees were selected based upon demonstrated excellence in the classroom, innovative instructional strategies, and involvement in the local community.

Albemarle County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Matthew Haas says the coronavirus school closures have increased teacher appreciation. "For me personally, I've always looked up to teachers. It is truly a gift to be able to build a strong relationship and inspire each young person, of the many you teach, to try things they've never tried before and to be better people for having been mentored by you."

The full 2020 Golden Apple Awards is now up on ACPS’s YouTube channel.


(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – The 19th annual Golden Apple Awards celebration, which will be held virtually on May 21 at 4 p.m., will honor 44 teachers from public and private schools across Charlottesville City and Albemarle County for their service to students. Honorees were selected for the award based upon demonstrated excellence in the classroom, innovative instructional strategies and techniques, and their involvement in the local community. Students, parents, members of the community, and other educators submitted nominations. Teachers selected for the award represent less than two percent of all teachers in our area’s public and private schools.

Better Living Building Supply and Cabinetry has sponsored the Golden Apple Awards since their inception. The company’s chairperson, Mr. Richard Nunley, often has talked about the impact that an exceptionally talented and caring teacher can have on the life of a student.

Mr. Nunley described the Golden Apple program as among the most effective vehicles for his company to give back to the Charlottesville and Albemarle communities. “Particularly in this challenging time in our world, teachers nurture the inquisitive minds of our young people, keep them engaged in education and community, and prepare them for the challenges of the future,” he has said.

Albemarle County Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Matthew Haas, agreed. “These awards represent one of the best things that our community has to offer, which is access to exceptional educators,” he said. “The teachers who are being recognized are providing stability for the students in our school division and community during a difficult time for these children. They continue to connect students to such valuable lifelong skills as creativity and problem solving, communication and community service, and teamwork,” he said.

Dr. Rosa Atkins, Superintendent of Charlottesville City Schools, said, “This coronavirus closure has made the whole country appreciate teachers even more than previously. We are especially thankful for teachers such as these who lead the way with excellence.”

Honorees were chosen by a selection committee including retired Albemarle County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Kevin Castner, as chair; Bekah Saxon, who represented Blue Ridge Uniserve; Jakki Crocker from Charlottesville City Schools’ Parent Council; Rhonda Angel from the Parent Council for Albemarle County Public Schools; retired Albemarle County principals, Karen Marcus and Jo Vining; and Charlottesville City Schools retired teacher Veronica Jones. In addition to a brass Golden Apple, recipients also will receive a $500 grant from Better Living Building Supply and Cabinetry for classroom programs next year.

The ceremonies next Thursday will consist of welcome remarks by Dr. Kevin Castner, opening remarks by Dr. Atkins, an introduction of the 44 recipients, and closing remarks by Dr. Haas. There will also be video clips of past winners to highlight the creative ways that teachers use their grant money to advance the learning of their students. The link for the public to watch the awards ceremony is

This year’s Golden Apple honorees include:

David Riddick, Miller School

Sarah Jackson, Meriwether Lewis Elementary School

Kathryn Salem, Jackson-Via Elementary School

Lindsey Jeong, Baker-Butler Elementary School

Lisa Johnson Black, Charlottesville Hospital Ed

Taylor Holder, Western Albemarle High School

Avis Fields, Tandem Friends

Lisa Wallace, Burnley-Moran Elementary School

Matthew Deegan, Charlottesville High School

Paloma Visscher-Gingerich, St. Anne’s Belfield

Dominique Morse, Community Public Charter School

Cindy Payne, Murray Elementary School

Brandy Walker, Buford Middle School

Bronwyn Murray, Woodbrook Elementary School

Rodricucuz Vaughn, Henley Middle School

Sarah LaPrade, Hollymead Elementary School

Heather Bryan, Charlottesville Catholic

Lynn Leathers, Stony Point Elementary School

Karen Belton Garland, Cale Elementary School

Beth Kavounas, Red Hill Elementary School

Tracy Brown, Crozet Elementary School

Bethany Weatherford Robinson, Brownsville Elementary School

Lindsay Wayland, Johnson Elementary School

Hashim O. Davis, Center for Learning & Growth

Matt Richardson, CATEC Kavita Kumar, Greenbrier Elementary School

Jim Loffredo, Scottsville Elementary School

Jaclyn Parker, Agnor-Hurt Elementary School

Holly Garmon, Covenant

Rebecca Kindler, Walton Middle School

Calder McLellan, Venable Elementary School

Mary Caitlyn Cordone, Clark Elementary School

Debra Zehnter, Broadus Wood Elementary School

Jennifer Therese MacDonald, Albemarle High School

Shannon McLaughlin, Greer Elementary School

Kelsey Cary, Lugo-McGinnis Academy

John Worozbyt, Burley Middle School

Jack Warren, Blue Ridge School

Corinne Lindemann, Monticello High School

Cianna Washburg, Walker Upper Elementary School

Joshua Flaherty, Murray High School

Ayla Duve, Jack Jouett Middle School

Meredith Holmes, Sutherland Middle School

Luke Noble, Stone-Robinson Elementary School

Several of last year’s grant recipients have created a video that will be featured during the awards ceremony. These videos showcase the projects of teachers who received grants in 2019 and include Will Cooke of Charlottesville High School; Mackenzie Crawford from Walton Middle School; Lindsay Lowdon from Charlottesville Catholic School; Melissa Mitchem from Buford Middle School; and from Meriwether Lewis Elementary School, Rachel Shamey.

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