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Golden Apple Surprise


Yesterday, four outstanding Collier County educators were surprised and honored with the Golden Apple awards, highlighting their high-impact teaching practices and dedication to the profession.  
Golden Apple, along with Classroom Grants, are Champions For Learning’s Educator Programs, which are designed to value, empower, and support educators to experience professional success and work with over 400 educators in traditional public, charter, and private schools in Collier County.
Golden Apple combines the sharing of high-impact practices within and among educators and schools, recognizing and celebrating the teaching profession, and providing continued leadership development for teachers. Teaching practices comprise of engaging and innovative classroom strategies to support student success. Sixty-three Teachers of Distinction, representing 59 Collier County Public Schools, shared their high-impact practices for consideration by Champions For Learning’s community-based selection committee, comprised of committed volunteers. After careful consideration and discussion, the committee identified four educators to highlight.
Champions For Learning staff, board members, and selection committee volunteers were joined by representatives from Suncoast Credit Union, Visionary Sponsor of the Golden Apple Program, and major sponsors to present the awards to educators.
Congratulations to the following 2023-2024 Golden Apple recipients:

  • Ashleigh Dean, Pinecrest Elementary School
  • Elizabeth Draper, Oakridge Middle School
  • Erin Osborne, Golden Terrace Elementary School
  • Oksana Tariche Pastor, Lely High School


Teachers of Distinction and the Golden Apple awardees will also have the opportunity to encourage their own professional development by being a part of Champions For Learning’s Golden Apple Leadership Academy. This exciting new initiative will expand the capacity of educators to perform leadership roles within their schools and help strengthen the connection between, and alignment of, educators within Collier’s schools. Educators who engage in professional development training not only grow more confident in their careers but also learn more effective teaching strategies, ultimately leading to improved student achievement in their classrooms and educators who are more fulfilled by and excited about teaching.
“Collier County educators are the backbone of the learning experience for our students,” said Barbara Evans, President and CEO of Champions For Learning. “Teacher shortages and retention continue to be a struggle for school districts across the nation, and when the success of our teachers is at risk, our students and community struggle. Our newest Golden Apple recipients’ ingenuity and dedication to the profession not only enhances student engagement in the classroom, but also inspires further collaboration between teachers, classrooms, and schools through the sharing of high impact practices. Champions For Learning is committed to supporting our educators and providing them with the tools and resources to achieve professional success.” 
At the 34th Golden Apple Celebration of Teachers, scheduled for April 7, 2024, at Artis – Naples, the spotlight will be on Collier’s educators and their innovative high-impact practices that lead to definable and demonstrable student success. Champions For Learning will recognize this year’s Teachers of Distinction, the Collier County Public Schools Teachers of the Year, and formally announce the Golden Apple recipients.
Returning to its roots for the Golden Apple Celebration, this year’s event will be an award show, so that our educators don’t have to limit the participation of their family and friends. Champions For Learning would like to invite the entire community to join us for this free event to celebrate our educators in support of our mission to serve as a catalyst for educational success by investing in Collier’s students and educators. Following the celebration, guests will enjoy champagne and hors d’oeuvres during a Cocktail Reception to further honor our educators.
Champions For Learning would like to extend its deepest appreciation to Visionary Sponsor, Suncoast Credit Union, and are also grateful to the following Major Sponsors: Conditioned Air, Publix Super Market Charities, Lipman Family Farms, Moorings Park, and Naples Illustrated. Thank you for being counted as advocates for Collier’s educators and the tremendous impact they have in our community.
Additional sponsorship opportunities are available for Golden Apple. If you would like to register to attend the Golden Apple Celebration of Teachers or learn more about sponsoring the program, please visit